Thing I Did: Replacing Missing Buttons





Vintage shirt and pins

I'm about to take up an immense amount of space on something that is so small, you probably wouldn't notice it, but it's important, dammit.

This post is less about me getting all crafty, and more about those little moments that remind me why I'm a sartorially sentimental person. 
My mom always wore this simple, tiny gold and pearl pin, and when she finally let me have it when I was in high school, I lovingly wore it as a dainty accent on shirt collars and jacket lapels. Wearing something that is precious to you can be a grounding little experience, it can make you feel humbled and grateful for the things you love in your life, and that's exactly how I feel about that pin. There's a rush of sentimentality and tiny anxiousness, for you're worried that you might ruin or lose your piece. Every time I would look at the pin, I'd remember how beautiful it looked to me as a kid when I would catch it on my parents' shared dresser, sitting in the little antique porcelain dish my mom kept her everyday jewelry in. That pin reminds me of a time when everything was ahead, and I was wonderfully naïve.

This immensely important piece of my childhood is something I absolutely treasure, which is why I was taken aback when I saw what is essentially the same exact pin, dusty and jumbled in a mess of other tossed-aside jewelry at a flea market a few weeks back. As soon as I caught a glimpse of it, I felt confused and bewildered at how a piece of what I came to understand as a part of my mom's identity became something foreign. It was like I forgot that things are made in multiples, and it was so insane to think that a strange, orphaned twin pin was on a weathered formica folding table in Upstate New York, looked over and sold at a bargain. I wiped the dust off the delicate pearls and took it home to join its sister.

When I came back to New York, I looked at the pins and wondered what to do with them. The one my mom gave me was always worn on its own, but now I had a way to graphically balance something with parallel lines of tiny pearls. That was when I remembered that I had bought this totally excellent vintage printed blouse. It's a polyester number, nothing special aside from the print and color, but it was missing the buttons on the sleeves, and someone had previously stuck small brass safety pins into the naked corners. My metaphorical lightbulb went off, and I was able to give the shirt an extra touch of elegance by replacing the pins as buttons.

Moments like these, these long-winded, exhaustive explanations for my wardrobe choices, they give me absolute joy. Even if it's only knowledge to myself, I love knowing that the things I choose to wear mean something. Of course, everyone knows what I'm talking about here, everyone has their own share of moments like these, but it's important to remember that this is what building a sense of style is all about. Keep these moments at attention at the start of every day, and every ensemble you make will be beautiful.

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