CONSTANT CLOSET (6)

By: Lynn Peril
April 21, 2021

We are delighted to present CONSTANT CLOSET, a series in which HILOBROW friend Lynn Peril shares vintage items of clothing that she’s continued to wear for decades.


BLACK AND WHITE LINEN COAT


For a closer look, click on image.

“I’m living in some dead man’s shoes,” sang Milwaukee’s local punk rock heroes, The Haskels, back in the late 1970s. Vintage clothing is usually defined as being between 20 and 100 years old (any older than that is considered antique). This almost certainly means the original owner is deceased by the time it gets to me, so I guess I’ve been dancing in a dead woman’s clothes more than once. Rescued by my niece from her high school drama department’s costume box, then thoughtfully given to me after I almost ripped it off her back at a family gathering, this 1960s black and white linen coat from San Francisco’s long-gone City of Paris department store almost certainly came with a matching shift dress. I threw it on over a black skirt and teeshirt, and wore it to a wedding in Dublin, Ireland, fifteen years ago — then wore almost the same outfit for a tour of the Stahl House in Los Angeles in 2019. I hope that my clothing continues to have a good time when I’m no longer around to wear it.

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MORE LYNN PERIL at HILOBROW: PLANET OF PERIL series | FIVE-O YOUR ENTHUSIASM: DARK SHADOWS | FERB YOUR ENTHUSIASM: JONNY QUEST | CARBONA YOUR ENTHUSIASM: “SMOTHER LOVE” | MOVIE OBJECTS: TRANSISTOR RADIO | KLAATU YOU: ATTACK OF THE 50-FT. WOMAN | TUBE YOUR ENTHUSIASM: THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW | FLAIR: BASEBALL RING | #SQUADGOALS: The Daly Sisters | KLUTE YOUR ENTHUSIASM: BLOW-UP | MUSEUM OF FEMORIBILIA series | HERMENAUTIC TAROT: The Waiting Man | KIRB YOUR ENTHUSIASM: YOUNG ROMANCE | CROM YOUR ENTHUSIASM: CONJURE WIFE | HILO HERO ITEMS on: Tura Satana, Paul Simonon, Vivienne Westwood, Lucy Stone, Lydia Lunch, Gloria Steinem, Gene Vincent, among many others.

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What do you think?

  1. I love this article! The thought that clothing has its own lives to lead is a beautiful thought. It makes going out seem me to be more of a partnership, a collaboration between my clothes, everyone who owned them before me (and after me?), and me.

    Years ago (late 90s, maybe? Early 2000s?), Twisters Vintage in Berkeley had a bunch of wonderful vintage suits that had been brought in by an elderly widow. I was told that the widow and her fancy husband had attended all the big events around town and had dressed appropriately snappy. Her husband had been my size and I ended up buying many of his suits, including (and especially) an Yves Saint Laurent three-piece, super sharp, blue suit (slightly flared). Wonderful!

    On the first day I wore it, I reached into one of the inside pockets and found a pair of ticket stubs for an SF Symphony event in San Francisco that had happened 20 some odd years earlier almost to the day (I think it was one or two days off from being exactly to the day). I put the ticket stubs back in my pocket and kept them there. From that moment on, whenever I went out on the town in the suit, I would feel for the tickets, think about the previous owner and how special he must have felt wearing the suit. I am sure that I was imagining it, but I would always feel like I had gotten a nod of approval when I adjusted my tie just so and when good things happened, they felt shared. Wearing the suit felt like I was always on an adventure with friends.

    I finally outgrew that suit (a few too many nights out on the town with friends, I guess) and dropped it off one day at the Lafayette Junior League thrift shop. A suit like that deserves to be worn! I left the ticket stubs in the pocket and included a small note of explanation and history. I was probably a bit too dramatic, but I wanted to convey just how special that suit is.

    I hope that whoever bought the suit found the stubs and read my note on the suit’s history. I hope that they are likeminded and think about the people who wore that suite and all the fabulous events that suit attended. I hope that they wear that suit to all their special nights. And, most of all, I hope that they like company on their adventures.

    Wow! Sorry! That was way too long. Your article really struck a chord with me. Thank you

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