• Kate Twohig

An Epiphany With Buckles Pt2


More on 'looking different'.

When I was about 12, Bucket Baskets were a trend and girls my age carried them down town on a Saturday. They were shaped like a bucket (oh, really?) and had pretty silk flowers trailing down one side. Violets and orchids, ultra feminine. The inside was lined with gingham. Aah, gingham.

So what did I get for Christmas that year? A rectangular basket with brightly coloured plastic flowers and lined with tartan.

Mum said “It’s better to look different isn’t it? You don’t want to look like everyone else do you?” Silence reined. It would’ve taken great courage to disagree with such a powerhouse, just ask Sister Imelda, and if I’d had the merest shred of it I would've shouted “yes” I really did want to look like everyone else.

Riddle me this if you can: Why then did I, around the same time begin, to make my own clothes? You can’t blend in when you make your own clothes it’s a scientifically proven fact. On one hand, I couldn’t bear the humiliation of looking “different” but on the other, once in front of a sewing machine I seemed to come down with a severe case of individual-itis. What with the radical colour choices, op shop raids, puffed up additions, knitting-of-bits-into and gluing-of-stuff-onto, the red hair ribbon episode paled into insignificance.

When I landed my first real job in a big department store in the city I splurged some of my first pay packet on a pair of shoes, as you do. I’d discovered a shoe shop that had a Tall Girls department and after spending one full lunch break testing the salesgirl's patience, I settled on the latest thing in shoes. A pair of chunky-heeled camel coloured leather beauties with a fashionable chiselled toe and a large pirate buckle. They were almost my size, the toes pinched just a little but the salesgirl said they’d soon stretch. Ha!

The next day I decided on one of my own designs to show off the shoes: a tan corduroy suit (tricked up with a largish diamonte brooch), my white tie-necked blouse, flesh toned stockings and a brown handbag. An hour later as I stood on the corner of Swanston and Lt. Collins waiting for the lights to change, having a smug moment, I glanced down to confirm just how good my feet looked, and I saw something that was to change my life!

No, really!

The girl on my left and the girl two over on my right AND another behind me, all… had… my… shoes!

I then noticed how much my toes were actually hurting.

I limped all the way to work and all through the long morning. At noon I went directly to the hosiery department and spent my lunch money on an expensive pair of cream crochet lace, thickly textured tights.

After experiencing that epiphany while waiting for the lights to change, I knew that it was too late. I really truly did want to be different.

I never again bought shoes or clothes based on :

  • The latest thing

  • The trendiest colour

  • The must have shape.

Day one of hat wearing, today I wore my chocolate cashmere beret bought by a friend in India.

And I dropped a bag of clothes into the Brotherhood bin, don't get excited, nothing you'd want.

The End.

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© 2018 Kate Twohig Art and Design