"There’s no place like home.” -Dorothy Gale, The Wizard of Oz
I think it all started with a pair of red, glittery slippers.
When I had them on my feet, I would tap them together just to watch the glitter fall off as I walked to wherever I was going. I would tell myself this wasn’t a good idea because I was ruining them.
But I didn’t really care.
I’m going to leave a trail of glitter in someone’s wake, I’d think.
I was around four or five years old, and I had been obsessed with The Wizard of Oz as a kid so much so that I wanted to be like Dorothy (minus Toto, unfortunately).
I’d watch the movie on an old-style television while sitting on my grandparents’ bed, and I’d continuously rewind the VCR when the movie was over so I could rewatch it for the 10th time in a single day.
My grandmother knew this, so she decided to buy me a pair of shoes that looked like Dorothy’s.
I wore them for the longest time either up until I couldn’t fit them anymore, or until they had fallen apart from me wearing them so much.
It’s a vague, somewhat hazy memory, one that I barely remember but have a clear recollection of all at the same time.
I walked in them—with the biggest smile on my face—and showed them off as if they were the only pair of shoes I had ever owned.
And this is the earliest memory I can think of when I ask myself, “where did my love for fashion come from?”
But I wouldn’t say it came from Dorothy. Or The Wizard of Oz for that matter.
It came from a person.
It came from my grandmother. Just like the shoes.
The thing is—I didn’t grow up in a financially successful family, but that didn’t matter when it came to my grandma, Mary, as she loved dressing me in the latest fashions when I was a young child.
She had a thing for clothing and dressing up back in her day. Still, no matter how hard she tried, anything she put me in was no match for her 60’s beehive hairstyle, patterned overcoats, and ankle length dresses.
She was modest yet chic, and her sophisticated aurora never abated. I like to think she molded me in her image, her style rubbing off on me as I grew into the person I am today.
(I’ve clearly always had a thing for tights!)
As I progressed throughout my adolescence and teens, my memories became more exact and livelier.My grandma would pick me up from school, and we’d go to the local thrift or discount store and search for hours for outfits. She never minded how much I picked up, because she had told me once that if there’s one thing she loved to do more than anything in the world, it was spoiling me.
(Can you believe I was wearing a crop top long before they were a fad?)
(Lettuce sleeved top with printed pants? I was ahead of the game!)
We would spend our days together, happy and content.
We’d spend our days going from store to store, searching for something new.
And I had not realized this as a child, but as I grow older, I realize that I don’t love fashion because it’s materialistic. I don’t love it because I may look cute in what I wear. I don’t love it because of the deals I often find.
I associate it with a feeling.
My passion comes from a place of love.
It comes from a place of memories that I’ll cherish long after my grandma is gone, when I know all that I’ll have is a hazy recollection of a pair of red, glittery slippers.