As I stare into the mirror, I realize there are wrinkles where there haven’t been any before. The reflection I stare at shows discoloration and sagginess (also that’s not a word) in the oddest places, has that always been there? Wear and tear everywhere but yet, I’m still happy with what I see, every single day.
I used to work in fashion. I used to actually make my own clothes. (Don’t get your hopes up, my home-made clothes are these days – if at all – only worn for when I am at home, I guess, that is where the term home-made comes from). I used to actually care deeply about what clothes I was wearing, they were supposed to make a statement, but let me get back to that.
I have jeans and shoes and shirts that I have owned for more than half of my life. I kid you not. If they fit, I will wear them, until they don’t fit any more. Every other year I will stash certain clothes away and take them out again, when I feel like wearing them again. That is not to say, that I haven’t broadened my fashion closet, I bought a wedding dress after all. But generally speaking someone could make the claim that everything clothing related I own is at least as old as my 3-year old niece.
Don’t get me wrong, I like being fashionable, well not Karl Lagerfeld fashion but regular people fashion. My mom would always give me great advice on what to wear, but more often than not, she would shake her head at what I was wearing, but I don’t even think she shook her head so much because of WHAT I was wearing but HOW I was wearing it.
I watched my grandma and my mom iron every piece of clothing my family owned for hours. All the back pain and burned fingers and all of that just for unwrinkled clothes? And if one shirt wasn’t ironed, someone gasping, “OH NO, why is this not ironed?” (and no, that was not me, but my older brother). I studied my grandma, how she quickly ironed everything short of socks and putting everything neatly away. Like a choreography. And a few seconds later, I would watch my grandpa just pulling any shirt out of the closet while my grandma, almost instantly folded everything again.
I knew at age 10, that I was not going to have any of that. Not because of the relationship my grandpa had to ironed clothes, or because my brother gasped about non-ironed clothes but the choreographed ironing, for what?
I actually learned how to properly iron anything (and yes, they have schools for that) but I refuse to iron anything, for one simple reason: I am a feminist. I wanted equality for my grandma and my mom, although they freely chose to do these chores, no one forced them but it surely wasn’t their preferred activity. I guess I always saw my grandma and my mom working two jobs, one of which doesn’t pay (and love doesn’t count), and I am not saying that my grandpa and dad and brothers didn’t help out, but in retrospect, it was far from equality.
I am not going to throw out my iron (I’m not sure if it will actually render the same attention as burning bras), but I know, that I look very fondly at the iron I own and that I truthfully never used to iron anything (I use it as a paperweight…). So, that’s where my fashion statement comes in: wrinkly. I also convince myself that this way I am actually saving energy, by not ironing anything and therefore doing something good for the environment but I am not quite sure if that is a valid.
I will turn 27 this week. I still hear my grandma’s voice in my head, when I asked her why she was ironing anything, she would chuckle and say, “one day, you’ll understand”. Well, maybe but for now, I will just wear wrinkled clothes.