Love, Loss, and What I Wore

When my mother got married she kept her career and maiden name, but what best encapsulates her as a classic Second Wave feminist is her wedding gown: a simple, waist-less, off-white dress that she wore to parties for years afterwards. For women like my Mom, who rejected restrictive post-war dresses along with restrictive post-war roles, fashion was considered a superficial frivolity, if it wasn’t outright ignored. When asked, she can only describe a handful of past outfits from memory, but their significance is increased by their small number. What makes the blue dress she packed for a trip to Portugal stand out more than the business suits she wore every day to the office?

Love, Loss and What I Wore, written by Nora and Delia Ephron, brings clothing to the foreground in order to recount women’s memories of growing up, hooking up, aging and discovering their identities. Based on the surprise bestseller by Ilene Beckerman, in which the author told the story of her life through drawings of memorable outfits along with tales from other women, the show is as much a party as a play, the gathering of the sisterhood to dish cathartically about the terrors of bras, change-rooms and over-stuffed purses.

The Toronto cast, seated in a row and dressed chicly in black, is made up of the friendly faces of Canadian TV. Louise Pitre portrays Beckerman, whose life stories and poster-sized illustrations provide the only narrative structure. Her gentle reminiscences are often overshadowed by the more risqué tales recounted by the other actors.
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Contest: Win Tickets to Love, Loss, and What I Wore

About a week before I moved out to go to university in another city, my dad came home with a present.

“They were selling these at a kiosk in the mall,” he said, handing me a black t-shirt with an iron on transfer of Jim Morrison’s face, complete with the words “the Doors” stuck on in shiny, gaudy blue letters. “I saw you flipping through Morrison’s biography at the bookstore once, and figured you’d like it. It’s an authentic band t-shirt.”

Despite rarely actually listening to the Doors’ music, and the fact that the ‘authentic’ t-shirt looked like it was manufactured no earlier than 2007, the sentiments behind the shirt made it my go-to staple for whenever I was feeling homesick while at school. Like all my favourite articles of clothing, my reasons for liking it went beyond its simple aesthetics and into the feelings it invoked.

We want to hear the stories behind your favourite articles of clothing. Tell us in the comments how you acquired that tattered old dress, or the wacky shenanigans you got into while wearing your worn-in blue jeans. Participants will have a chance to win tickets to the Toronto showing of Love, Loss and What I Wore.

The play, written by Nora and Delia Ephron, is described as “a collection of vignettes and monologues that uses clothing and accessories and the memories they trigger.” Starring Mary Walsh, Lauren Collins, and Andrea Martin (among others), the show will be playing at Toronto’s Panasonic Theatre from July 16 to September 4.

Because the show opens up this Friday, you have until Wednesday, July 14 to tell us your stories (make us laugh! make us cry!) before we pick a winner. Please include your e-mail address with your comment.

You can also check out Love, Loss and What I Wore on their website, Twitter and Facebook.

And now for the fine print:
Tickets will be held at Will Call for the winners. Prize includes 2 tickets to the show, dates TBD (most likely from July 16-24th 2010). Prize does not include transportation to the Panasonic Theatre in Toronto. Prize has no cash value. The winner must answer a skill testing question correctly. Winners must be over the age of consent as per province or have parental/guardian consent.