A favourite piece of clothing… The red plaid shirt.
I don’t really know how old I was when I first remember wearing the red plaid shirt, but I have a visual of curly blond-red moppet of about 3 years old, wearing it with the sleeves rolled up, tucked into a pair of elastic-waisted jeans. Hands on my hips and cocky! The shirt was most likely a hand-me down from my older brother. I recall the shirt vividly. Soft, vibrant red with black, blue and white lines cross-crossing to create the plaid. It had super powers I am certain! I became a cowboy, or Ivanhoe, or one of the musketeers… strong and brave and full of adventure and yes, full of attitude too! when I was wearing it. After all, I had my brother to measure up to!
I was the only daughter in a male-dominant family… and perhaps wearing my brother’s hand-me down plaid shirt became a source of pride or passage of rights. Though my mother would have dressed me in pinafores and party dresses, (and she tried!) I was always at my best as a tomboy. And I discovered very early there was little to be gained by ‘being a girl’. I came to understand that I had to hold my own around my brothers, and when I had that shirt on, I was more than ready to take them on and the world too.
The magic in wearing red plaid has stayed with me my whole life. My closet has rarely ever been without a favoured, comfy plaid hanging in it… waiting for its next call to duty. It seems whenever I have had the need for courage, determination and tenacity to get me through, I go looking for my plaid shirt.
Just thinking… Maybe I should pull it out to wear it in my studio…
Visuals, thoughts, list of objects
Great great grandfather… Did he ever wear ‘red plaid’…
Sleeves rolled up
Holding my own…
Soft, warm, nurturing, friend
strength, courage, determination, tenacity
Memories of my brother
Curls and attitude
Taking on the world
Being a girl
Managing in a male-dominant world
Pinafore’s and plaid