Most of the time when I buy things for the shop, even men’s things, I buy them from women. I rarely get the garments’ backstory from a man’s viewpoint. However, this week, I got a dozen pieces from a man who really wanted to tell me all about his shirts. So here we have the next installment in occasional series I call The Secret Life of Clothes, and this time its about a guy who had sentimental attachments to his old hippie shirts.
This 72 year old man saved his shirts from the 1970s in the back of his closet for 40 years because they helped him remember a specific period of his life. In the 1970’s he had been married to the love of his life, a creative and volatile woman named Zoma. She sewed well-crafted snap front cowboy shirts and “ethnic” pullover jackets for him, then she broke his heart.
Upper left: “I wore this one to a bar with my big white cowboy hat. A big biker dude grabbed me and took my hat. It took my wife and I both to fight him off, but we got the hat back. She was a tough one-she didn’t shy away from a fight.”
Upper right: “I got this shirt when I was in Guatemala. As soon as we got there, a civil war broke out. We had to hide in the hills for weeks”
Lower left: “We were in Mexico on the motorcycle . I got this leather vest with snakeskin trim. She got a matching halter top.”
Upper Left: “We were going to a concert. My wife grabbed the bedspread right off the bed, made me a shirt and a skirt for herself and we matched.”
Upper right: “I called this one my special shirt. I only wore it when I was taking LSD”
Lower left: “After my wife left, I moped around the house for awhile and then I started to go out again, I wore this shirt because the ladies seemed to like it”
Lower right: “I had this shirt made for me in Hong Kong”
Me: “What were you doing in Hong Kong?”
Him: “I have no idea”
Upper left: “She tapered this one so it really fit me. It was my favorite shirt. It’s nice to have clothes made just for you.”
Upper right: “I called this one my ‘power shirt’. I wore it when I needed a little extra, you know, power”
Lower left: “I got this one when we backpacked across Indonesia”
Lower right: “This was the last shirt she made for me.”