Meaningful Fashion: Why Did You Wear That?

Emily Spivack has owned, and used, a pair of flip-flops for 17 years.

“These flip-flops have traveled with me from college to real life, from apartment to apartment, from Wilmington to Providence to New York to Philadelphia, and finally back to New York….through years of inadvertent preservation, these slip-ons have done some globetrotting,” she writes.

Spivack is a Brooklyn-based writer, artist, teacher, and editor (and clearly, a multi-tasker).  She’s just released her new book Worn Stories, a compilation of anecdotes based on our attachment to clothes.  From designer Cynthia Rowley to New York Timescolumnist David Carr, each share their love for a particular article of clothing.

“Our clothes are full of memory and meaning,” Spivack writes.

Spivack is not a fashion writer; rather her pieces have appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal.  In fact, for over two years, she’s been blogging for the Smithsonian’s Threaded section: a selection of quirky stories on the history of our clothes –  who made Mrs. Lincoln’s clothes and the politics of it, the evolution of sequins from King Tut to Michael Jackson, the separation of iconic polo brands Izod and Lacoste.

worn stories

“I was asking basic questions.  We put on this stuff everyday, but do we know the stories behind it?  How did some of this come to be?  I tie it back into contemporary elements, making it relevant today.”

Read the rest at


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