I was staying with friends in Astoria when I came to New York City to search for my apartment. After a boozy brunch, we wandered to PS1, the MoMA extension in Queens for art too modern for the Midtown Manhattan museum. The gallery was in transition and only two exhibitions were open, so we spent some time browsing the gift shop. It was there I discovered Worn Stories by Emily Spivack.
Worn Stories epitomizes the intimate relationship we have with our clothing that is so difficult to articulate. Instead of composing a novel or stating it outright, Spivack prompted individuals – from personal friends to fashion industry veterans – to simply select an article of clothing they couldn’t part with and tell the story behind it. The collection of sartorial memoirs could easily serve as a character study of diverse, fascinating individuals. However, the focus of the highly personal tales and recollections remains on the clothes.
“… when one of the sleeves ripped off, it reached a point where I felt like I couldn’t wear it anymore. I had a friend named Guy who was a painter in Tel Aviv. He’d been doing a series of paintings of everyday objects, so I commissioned him to make a painting of the shirt… When he was working on it, I’d get emails like, ‘Karuna, this shirt, it’s killing me. So simple and yet so complicated!’” – Karuna Scheinfeld, VP of design at Woolrich
The role of clothing in the stories and in these individuals’ lives emphasizes the significance of our apparel to our core being. Our clothing is not just what we wear, it’s who we are. Not in the sense that wearing a particular label makes you better or more elite – in fact most of the articles of clothing selected for Worn Stories are quite mundane and ordinary – but in the sense that our clothing is an extension of ourselves.
Emily Spivack is the creator of Threaded, the Smithsonian’s fashion history blog. She is also a public speaker, teacher, creative spirit, and the author of Worn Stories (which can be purchased here.) For more worn stories, visit the ongoing project here.
Locally-owned boutiques are the key to preserving your morale and your budget when shopping in NYC. A friend in Astoria introduced me to Lockwood. Thankfully, I don’t live in Astoria or else I might be there every day. Lockwood is a standout among the countless shops in NYC not only for its warm and welcoming ambiance but also for its range of clothing options. The boutique carries sizes 2-20, offering numerous brands with plus-size options, like BB Dakota, Alternative Apparel, Articles of Society, and more. While I’m not a plus-size girl, I appreciate the tone Lockwood is setting by offering fashion for everyone.
Fashion in NYC can be intimidating. More times than not, you walk into a boutique in Lower Manhattan thinking… I’m too curvy to wear that… I’m too broke to afford that… That sales associate is watching me like a hawk… Those girls are gawking at me… Do I even belong here? Lockwood is a place where women can actually enjoy the shopping experience without the pressure of haughty sales associates and patrons, unreasonable price points, and limited silhouettes. At Lockwood, you can feel confident at the rack, in the dressing room, and at the checkout counter – the way shopping should be but so rarely is in NYC.
Last week, the boutique hosted a spring preview party complete with DIY goodie bags, tattoo bar, Polaroid photo booth, wine, and 20% off all merchandise. The minute I saw the event, I texted my friend in Astoria and told her to clear her schedule.
The first time I visited Lockwood, I was like a kid in a candy store: I wanted everything. However, on the night of the spring preview party, I committed to exhibiting some self-restraint. I told myself I would stick to the needs not the wants – I needed a new dress for a few summer weddings, but I wanted this athletic little sweat-set from Alternative Apparel.
I successfully resisted and walked away with my goodie bag, a Kitsch metallic tattoo reading “inspire” on my wrist, and a few of Lockwood’s amazingly on-point paper goods. I left satisfied yet still wanting more. I can’t wait to see the spring and summer collection evolve as warmer weather makes its way to NYC. Thanks to Lockwood, there’s always a good excuse to visit Astoria.