This article originally appeared on VICE UK.
It isn't a solely human behavior to attach emotional weight to inanimate objects, but we do it well. A good 50 to 65 percent of my clothes are ones I've ended up with as the result of hand-me-downs, ex-relationships or those after-parties where you get home in a jumper that wasn't yours to start with. This is probably for the best, as my dress sense is terrible, but it means that a large chunk of my wardrobe comes with its own story.
To explore the idea of clothing taking on more meaning than "it prevents me from being naked in public," I asked a few people about the things in their wardrobe they're most sentimental about.
It's my grandpa's cricket jumper, and I got it in January of 2010, when he passed away.
It was the last thing I ever saw him in. When he was sick I found it way too upsetting to visit him because he'd become so frail and this huge cricket jumper swamped his tiny frame. That was super shitty of me. But the jumper reminds me of him as this frail man he ended up as, but also as the fit, healthy sports-mad man who I was so desperate to hold on to.
Now I insist on basically wearing it all winter, or at any event remotely related to my grandad. He'd been an Olympic gold medalist and the BBC made a film about him, so I wore the jumper to all the press evenings and meeting the cast.
I'd like to be remembered like this too, one day. I think there's something really special in physically wrapping yourself in the memory of somebody you love. I'd love to go around giving hugs from beyond.
I'm wearing a scarf that my grandmother in Brazil knitted for me. And I don't want to make out that I'm sort of always thinking about its spiritual weight or anything, but she passed away a few years ago and it's the only thing I have from her. So I'd be much more upset about losing it than if it were just an M&S scarf.
I probably wouldn't wear it out, just because scarves are easy to lose, but otherwise I'd put it on whenever.
I think we attach meaning to clothes because they're something tangible from the past that you can keep using today. I've worn this since I was in primary school, so I can kind of see that link, as well as the one to my grandmother.
I got this jacket when I was 16. For a weird reason I didn't like wearing jackets when I was young, so this is the first and the only one that I had from that time.
I started wearing it when I was leaving school, to go to protests when I was living in Athens. I kept it "naked"—without the patches—because in protests you need to wear no identifiable clothes. But a friend bought me a Hello Kitty patch and I put it on as a joke. Then it became a thing and my friends started buying me patches from their travels, and every time I fell in love with a band's music I had to add a patch. So you can see my progress in life in this jacket.
I don't wear it much any more. I've had it for 11 years and it serves more the purpose of a visual diary for me. I am a minimalist, so I don't like owning many things and being attached to them, but then the oxymoron is that if you don't own much, you get attached to what little you do have.
It's a pretty plain and boring shirt, but it belonged to my dad so I've kept it. I've had it ever since my mum was having a clear out a few years ago.
It means so much to me because dad wore it to my brother's wedding in 2007, then passed away in 2008. It's particularly special to me because my dad wasn't there for my other brother's wedding, or my sister's. The last time we saw him happy and relaxed was at that wedding, in that shirt, so I'll always treasure it.
Occasionally when my anxiety is horrendous I wear it as a reminder that he always supported me. I wore it a few times when I was finishing up my last uni assignments, actually, hoping it would give me luck, which it did.
I'd say it's more of a comfort than a good luck charm—a reminder to persevere. He was the kindest person in the world and it encourages me to be like him through all the bad stuff that may happen.
My grandad died of cancer after being diagnosed in 1996, and since I'm his only grandson this ring was given to me in October of 2005. I used to go up and visit him most weekends, and I have pretty fond memories of him and my gran coming to watch me at local football tournaments.
When I was given the ring I used to wear it and convinced myself it fit, but my mum would say, "You don't want to lose it," so I found a box for it and stored it away.
If I ever lost it I'd be gutted. Hopefully one day I'll have a family and I can pass it on. Sometimes I'll bring the ring out to show my gran, and she talks about that time in her life – it's refreshing to hear, and nice when you see the way she looks at it.
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