Well Worn: Shannon’s travelling pashmina
(Editor’s note: We asked Shameless editors, writers, and illustrators of our Fashion issue to tell us about their favourite item of clothing, shoes or accessory. Here is the first installation of our four-part blog series Well Worn.)
On our last day in Europe, my friends and I walked into a store across from the Trevi Fountain in Rome and tried to spend the rest of our travel money. For nine days we’d been careful, haggling in Athens and forgoing the second and third cups of hot chocolate in Sicily. So when I saw the pashminas in the store, I ended up buying three – two for me, one for my mom. It was 2010. Scarves were “in” though I’m not sure they ever really went away; it just seemed as if they became a wardrobe staple, like cardigans. For some reason the patterned yellow, red and maroon pashmina became my favourite.
I didn’t realize how much I loved it until recently. Flipping through photographs of the last few years, that pashmina was everywhere; I’d managed to add it to nearly everything that seemed appropriate. At the time, it was because it reminded me of fall, my favourite season, and that it is one of the very few colourful items I own. There was also knowing I’d picked it up in Rome on a trip I’d been looking forward to for so long. In retrospect it’s not nearly as unique as I thought. There are plenty like it in Toronto but more importantly, it reminds me of what that spring was like, the year before I went to university and before I even knew if I’d gotten into the university I wanted to attend.
At the time of the trip I was growing into my politics and figuring out how to become an independent person. I’d gotten my first job and saved for almost a year to pay for it. I remember personally delivering the final payment to the tour office, on my way to my first internship the summer before we left. Going to Europe was one of the first significant things I did without my parents. That feeling never really went away.
So now, four years later, the pashmina smells like a combination of every fragrance I’ve ever owned. I look forward to cardigan weather so that I can wear it and determinedly try to make it work with outfits it clearly will not work with. Now, it’s become less of a style piece and more like a security blanket. It’s encouraging to remember the person I was when I bought it, even with all of her faults and missteps. The time between my final year of high school and my final years of university feels twice as long as it’s been; I’d have a lot to say to 17-year-old me. We’d probably be wearing the same scarf.
Shannon Clarke is a writer and student from Toronto. Check out her article “Good haul” on page 41 in Shameless’ Fashion issue on newsstands and library shelves now!