The holiest outfit in the world

by Ruby Brunton

Isn’t it funny how sounds and smells can evoke memories so strong they seem real? Well I guess objects can do it to.

This is a sad/happy tale of a little black silk singlet I bought in 2006. Now, my choppy and changey attitude to fashion means that clothing items stay in my wardrobe no longer than a couple of years and then get sold/swapped/ebay’d/trademe’d/donated or just plain chucked. But for some reason this little black silk singlet has stayed with me. Actually, I do know why. It’s a very nice shape. It sits under anything. It’s soft, it’s comforting. It’s been with me through major landmark events, it’s survived several transoceanic flights, it’s served as key undergarment to many a sheer blouse. I always thought this little cami and I would be friends forever.

I remember the first time I washed it, I poured tepid water into a bucket and added a tiny drop of washing liquid. I was so careful as I handled the silk, I patted the fabric gently, avoided wringing it, then I lay it on a towel to dry. Over the years I have become lazier, tossing the cami in with other handwashables in a big soupy mess of fabrics, hanging it over wire racks, balling it up in the bottom of the laundry basket and more recently I’ve taken to letting it slip into the machine (on delicate cycle! But still!) Today I reached for old faithful cami and as I lifted it over my head I noticed the holes that had been forming these last lazy years had widened, the stitches at the seam coming apart entirely. To put it simply, old cami is one foot in the grave.

I wore it anyway.

I remembered wearing it on stage at a poetry reading in Wellington. I remembered briefly considering donating it to an op shop in Glasgow. I remembered wearing it out to a club inside a wine barrel on the LES.

On my way out of the house, I noticed three large holes in my wool cardigan as well.