Blog by Sumana Harihareswara, Changeset founder

17 Jun 2009, 9:25 a.m.

Clothes Make The Man Feel Old

Hi, reader. I wrote this in 2009 and it's now more than five years old. So it may be very out of date; the world, and I, have changed a lot since I wrote it! I'm keeping this up for historical archive purposes, but the me of today may 100% disagree with what I said then. I rarely edit posts after publishing them, but if I do, I usually leave a note in italics to mark the edit and the reason. If this post is particularly offensive or breaches someone's privacy, please contact me.

Reflection upon dressing this morning: I've owned these pants for nine years. I bought them in that church basement thrift shop on...Dana? Bowditch? in Berkeley. Huh. I think I've had that purple tee shirt for more than half my life.

How old is the oldest piece of clothing that you regularly wear?


17 Jun 2009, 10:51 a.m.

There's a definite cut-off point in my clothes' age: I emigrated with little more than the clothes I was wearing, and I don't think any of that set are still around. But there is one t-shirt I had in England which I lent to Fin one summer (and it was second-hand to me, too) and Fin took it back to the US afterwards. I still wear it now, sometimes, so I imagine that has to be the oldest.

17 Jun 2009, 11:29 a.m.

one of my favorite pairs of jeans I got in 2002 from a friend, so they are even older than that. I used to have a lot more stuff that was from high school but most of it is gone now (more likely because they no longer fit than being worn out). A few of my work out tshirts, a skirt, and a dress that I inherited from Susie that she probably got from a thrift store or Ross definitely date from high school years. A bunch of stuff like that. Most of my clothes have a long life. Today I am wearing shorts from 2006 a hoodie from 2004, and even my tshirt is from 2006 tho' it's getting a bit thin. Probably a sign of how few clothes I wear that I can remember where and when I bought most of them (an usually how much I paid).

17 Jun 2009, 11:39 a.m.

A grey linen skirt I bought in January of 1999.

I also have a shirt my mom bought in Hawaii in the early 80s (See you later alligator at Honolulu Zoo). I wear the shirt all the time, Maggie loves it. And a dress that's probably 30 years old, I inherited it from my great-aunt Carolyn in 2000.

17 Jun 2009, 11:45 a.m.

i know that skirt! didn't it come from forever 21 or charlotte russe? its funny how I always say it pays to buy good quality stuff cause it lasts longer then you get crap from primark that's seemingly indestructible.

17 Jun 2009, 13:02 p.m.

At the moment, I don't think I have any clothes that I regularly wear that are more than a few years old. So I'll leave out the "that you regularly wear" part of the question in my answer:

A few years ago, I realized that some of my oldest T-shirts (from high school) were getting so thin they were nearly transparent. But I didn't want to throw them away! They were from shows we'd done in theatre and stuff!

And someone pointed out that clothing can be kept without being worn. (My friends sometimes enable my packrat tendencies.) So I put the shirts I couldn't bear to throw away in a box. They don't suffer further wear and tear, I don't have to look raggedy, and they're there anytime I want to stroll down memory lane.

17 Jun 2009, 22:07 p.m.

I don't think any of the clothes I wear in public are more than eight or nine years old, but I have a couple of raggedy T-shirts dating back fourteen or fifteen years that I still wear to bed occasionally.

18 Jun 2009, 2:41 a.m.

Most of my clothes are old when I get them, but I've been regularly wearing a red leather coat for about six years. There's also a pink polyester skirt that I got around the same time.

P.S. The the supersecret church thrift store's on Channing, not Dana. I am a little hurt that you never told me about it.

18 Jun 2009, 6:51 a.m.

Perhaps I should dig up the Michael Crichton bit from Travels where he returns from a retreat, puts on a favorite old blue tee to work out, then tosses it when he's done, just for the sake of making a change.

Jed, these days Leonard and I are taking photos of things before we give them away or recycle them. There's a textile recycling booth at the Union Square Greenmarket that accepts ratty old tees, towels, &c. (I am a little jealous of your house with its storage capacity.)

In high school, I did Quiz Bowl twice and got a T-shirt each time. I subsequently wore them at about the same frequency. The first one has lasted without visible wear for more than ten years. The shirt I got the next year (from the time I led our team to victory) shredded so badly that Leonard hated for me to even wear it around the house. Maybe I should reread that Gladwell piece on the T-shirt tycoon to understand why.

I have a coat and some shirts and blouses that I believe I've had since 1992 or 1994. And then there are hand-me-downs and inheritances from aunts and Frances and Rosalie and so on. At the moment I'm wearing some plaid shorts that were originally Nandini's, and I seem to remember her wearing them circa 1990.

Sarah: You're talking about the cellar thrift shop at Dana & Channing? I think I had stopped trying to go there by the time I re-met you because it was only open twice a week, during my Cody's shifts! My apologies.

19 Jun 2009, 10:17 a.m.

I have a shirt from 1986! It was my dad's, from when he taught second grade. It's one of those elementary shirts with everyone's names on it. I stole it back in college from his closet because it no longer fits him and is absolutely vintage.

People always ask me if I really kept my shirt from elementary school, which seems silly, because it's an adult size shirt. Clearly I've grown some since then. I think the shirt may die this year, but I love it anyhow.

The shirt has come in handy when considering baby names, btw. Never ended up using any of those names, but helps get some ideas rolling.

23 Jun 2009, 15:09 p.m.

Probably about 8-10 years. My underwear. I know it's gross but they are so comfy. I do have a pair of jeans from HS, so about 15 years old...but they are my skinny jeans and one day I plan to fit back into them. :) So I don't wear those regularly.