How much does your high school style experience stick with you a decade or more past graduation?
Recently, I went running on a high school track that reminded me of my hometown. The track looped around the varsity football field like a belt with the scoreboard as the buckle.
I ran for a while listening to “Maria Callas: Voice of the Century”—an all-aria greatest hits collection. At a certain high note, I cut across the field and ran towards the end zone. I leaped up into the air and grabbed the crossbar on the goal posts. I did not expect to get all the way up, as I am old and the goalposts are high… but I did. My hands wrapped around the yellow bar and I hung by the post for a second and then swung back down to earth. Grabbing the post made a satisfying sound.
I did not play high school football, so the memories I felt filling my mind were not my own but were from somewhere else: the collective mythology of the experience of others.
Style works this way. Who has not felt the glamour of others transferred by means of a garment? My mind drifted to swimwear; can there be a varsity element in the fasteners? Tie-tacks. Jackets. Bags.
Jewelry replaces trophies in our mental treasure chests.