Since my last post, I have been asked several questions about my goals for 2012. The most popular question so far however has been in relation to #44 on my list.
What is The Red Thing?
So for those interested, here is a short history of The Red Thing and how it changed my life (or at least my wardrobe).
When I was in my teens, I was often brought to my mom’s work to do volunteer work. My mom worked at a senior’s activity centre downtown and I had the opportunity to do all sorts of stuff. Serving dinner/lunch/tea. Front desk reception. Painting an office. Working in the kitchen. I did it all. My favourite job however was when I had the opportunity to organize the costume closet in the basement. It was a small, cramped storage space filled with all sorts of vintage gems. When I was lucky, I was given the chance to take an item of clothing home as sort of a “payment” for the hard work that I would put in to make sure it was clean and tidy.
One day while digging through the costume graveyard that this room had become, I chanced upon the most wonderful Thing I have ever seen. It was a one-piece, bright red wool, long-sleeved, flare-legged, mock turtlenecked jumpsuit that zipped up the back. It was knit with a subtle cable knit pattern and was the comfiest thing that I had ever seen. At the time, my fashion radar was blandly set on jeans and t-shirts, but I knew deep down inside that I had to have this Thing. I was allowed to bring it home, and happily added it to my closet.
Around the age of 17, my fashion sense went a little crazy and I felt that I could toss aside the drab uniform of my youth and explore some more interesting avenues. Vintage prom dresses, vinyl pants, anything sparkly or velvet and The Red Thing forced their way into my day to day repertoire.
When I left home for University, The Red Thing came with me. It helped me stand out from the crowd in a really obnoxiously dressed kind of way, and became easily recognizable on campus. After meeting me, people would often say – “I always wondered who the girl in the red jumpsuit was”… IT WAS ME!!! I was the girl in the red jumpsuit!!! As a student tour guide at Bishop’s, I would regularly wear The Red Thing. My tour groups never got lost – even in a crowd, they had no choice but to notice and locate the snuggly bundle of wool that I sported even on the hottest of days. Many of the prospective students that toured with me and became Bishop’s students would eagerly approach me on campus once they arrived in September and saw me trotting around campus in my wooly red suit. I was the Girl In The Red Jumpsuit.
After graduation, The Red Thing rotated through my day to day wardrobe less and less until eventually it lost a regular spot and became an afterthought. It wasn’t as easy being The Girl In The Red Jumpsuit in a big city. Life had restrictions and dressing like Santa Claus (if Santa was a teenage girl in the 70’s) was one of them. The Red Thing was eventually stored away in my basement storage room and hasn’t been worn in public since 2002.
2012 however is a year for change for me – a year of positivity. When I used to wear The Red Thing, everyone around me smiled. Probably because it is bright and ridiculous and completely unsexy… but still, people smiled. So this year, one of my goals is to resurrect The Red Thing and wear it in public at least once. To wear it proudly for a day and be once again The Girl In The Red Jumpsuit.
Until that day, The Red Thing waits in anticipation of having the opportunity to take a stroll in the open air. It will soon one day have it’s wish. :)