I’ve sat for hours trying to figure out how to introduce this post – and come up with nothing but reverent silence. I am so tremendously honored that my sweet Internet friend, Apollina, would share this personal story filled with love and loss … and glitter. If you don’t know Apollina, you really should. She is as sweet and bright and stylish and complex as her amazing cakes.
* * * * * *
My brown and orange glitter shirt…
Two things are pretty much guaranteed to change, your style and your life. My style is very different today than it was when I was in college – as it should be. Ten years ago, when my sister gave me a shirt for Christmas, I thought I’d never wear it. And I didn’t, until early last month.
I’m the second of four girls. My two little sisters, Asti and Ahdazsa, were always wearing my clothes and I was always yelling at them for it. I, being the benevolent sister that I was, would give them my old clothes when I was done with them. Although, I was known to renege on my “gift” when I decided I wanted to wear it again. When I started making money working as a waitress, I would buy my little sisters lots of clothes for Christmas. I’d go to Old Navy or the Gap outlet and try to get them as many things as I could that I thought they would like.
In 2001, Asti graduated from high school, went off to college and started working at a restaurant, as a waitress. She came home for holiday break that first year and on Christmas morning she had a present for me. I remember her coming over and handing me a box, wrapped up all nice and pretty. I opened it up and pulled out a brown shirt with an orange glitter swirl design on it. She was watching me when I opened it and I said something like, thanks Ast, it’s so pretty. I knew then that it was the thought that counts but I remember thinking, “What am I going to do with this? I’ll never wear it.” It just wasn’t my style at the time but it was nice that she gave it to me so I just stuck it somewhere in my closet.
About 5 months after Christmas, suddenly and very unexpectedly, Asti died. Everything after that day has been different for me and my family, life has completely changed. Ten Christmases have come and gone and the last gift I got from Asti has remained in my closet. It’s funny, before she died I never gave the shirt a second thought, just figured I’d keep it for now but I’d never wear it. That first Christmas without her, I remembered the shirt, ran to my closet to find it and after holding it for a while, I put it in a safe place – still never thinking I’d wear it.
In each different closet I’ve had since, I’ve hung my brown and orange glitter shirt on my best hanger, not letting it get buried on the floor like all my other clothes. Early last month, I was looking for something to wear to a Sunday brunch, I saw the shirt and put it on. I’d tried it on before but only briefly. I thought it would go perfectly with my leopard maxi skirt (so into animal prints and long skirts these days – not to mention earth tones and glitter), so I threw on the skirt and some brown boots and I was out the door. It felt kind of surreal wearing the shirt Asti bought me 10 years earlier, but in the most awesome way. I’ve worn this shirt twice since then and it’s crazy to me that I once thought this shirt was unwearable and so not my style.
Every Christmas morning since then, I’ve gone over that memory of her giving me the shirt, trying to assemble every detail of that moment. I think about when she must have gone shopping for me and picked out this shirt that she thought I’d like and was so proud to be able to buy her big sister clothes for Christmas. I guess she knew me more than I knew myself at that time too. This is the last Christmas gift I’ll get from Asti and regardless of how my style changes, it will always be my favorite shirt.
* * * * * *
Do you have a cherished and storied item that you’d like to share? Come find out more about Storied Collections and submit one of your own. We’d love to hear about it.