I’ve got a trench coat now. It was something I found in a sale in Australia, and the conditions were favourable – it is a good respectable coat, the price was right, the material isn’t too thick, and the colour it came in was comforting – so I bought it. Granted, I can’t wear it out a lot because I live in Malaysia, but I’ve always had a soft spot for trench coats, probably ever since watching The Parents’ Trap too many times as a child – I remember one of the twins having traipsed through London in a trench coat, and the memory of that coat has since been meshed up with fond nostalgia of the Beatles and a beautiful London, from the movie. I’ve recently fallen in love with the Sherlock Holmes stories too (both the original Arthur Conan Doyle stories and BBC’s latest incarnation), and who can imagine any version of Sherlock Holmes trekking through the streets of London without a nice, billowing coat? So imagine my childish glee when I stepped out one day, wearing my trench coat, with a thick compendium of Sherlock Holmes stories fitting snuggly in one of its pockets. It felt like I was paying tribute to The Parents’ Trap, my childhood memories, and Sherlock Holmes – things that gave me many hours of joy – by donning a beautiful piece of clothing. How could you not spend the day at least a little happier just wearing a very potent reminder of the things that delight you?
You might have something like that in your closet, too. Something you’ve bought that reminds you of another item you saw in a show, an item that you like, perhaps in a show that you adore. It might just be something that reminds you of the general theme of the show, it might be something one of the characters have, or maybe it’s just a well-designed T-shirt with references to something that you love. Something that looks nice and has an association with something fictional that brings you joy. It pleases you because you’re not just wearing something you think is beautiful. The association makes it more potent, more beautiful, and gives it more meaning. It is a badge, a symbol of liking something, whether overt or covert. And you’ll smile whenever you think about the meaning behind it. It isn’t cosplaying (I can never get over the embarrassment inherent in cosplaying), but it’s something more subtle.
And it can be anything from any franchise, really – it can be something from Gossip Girls, something in Doctor Who (the newest Doctor seems quite dapper, and have you seen Amy Pond?); a more classical side of the sphere would be something from Downton Abbey, Atonement (see Keira Knightly’s glorious green dress) or The Great Gatsby (20s fashion is making a muted comeback because of the new Gatsby movie). So far, I seem to be catering too much to the feminine side of things, so I raise to you – T-shirts with references to Star Wars, Harry Potter, or bands, in general. Maybe T-shirts with Hamlet-based jokes. I have a thing for brown, leather messenger bags ever since I saw Reid’s brown messenger bag on Criminal Minds – Reid is my spirit animal, but they’re really just glorious things. I’ve also bought a blouse partly because something about it reminds me of the theme in Black Swan.
You can rely on a mixture of serendipity and active, exhaustive shopping trips to find a piece of clothing inspired by something you like, but you wouldn’t have to do that now, and for that (as for many other things) you have Tim Berners-Lee to thank. The internet and Google are obviously a great help, and so, I’ve realised, is Tumblr. I’ve found cool communities of fans on Tumblr, incredible people who sometimes make gorgeous things like T-shirts or other merchandises. For fans of BBC’s Sherlock, there is a site called ‘WearSherlock‘ that shows you just about everything that has been on the shows, with their brand-names and their prices attached, so I’d wager that there are equivalents of it in other areas of interest. Alternatively, you can go on to ThinkGeek and salivate over their apparel-based products – you can only salivate though, because they still don’t ship anything to Malaysia (grr).
Image taken from here.
Mei Yen has just discovered Tumblr, and along with pretty gifs, graphics, and a community of clever people, also discovered the Vlogbrothers, feminism, and Neil Gaiman’s blog.