The Story of A Dress (and Sentimental Value)


We all have that one item that stares right back at us when we open our closets in the morning, wondering what item of clothing best represents how we feel on that particular day.

It is usually something we bought a long time ago, probably only ever worn once, but refuse to give up on, in hopes that someday we might need it again.

I have a dress that’s been hanging in my closet since 2011. There’s nothing very special about it: it’s shapeless, long-sleeved, and comes in a weird color combo. It was also on sale at H&M. When I wore it the first (and only time), I had to also look around the city for a cute-looking belt to cinch it at the waist, and tights in a color that wouldn’t clash with the design.


But I guess what makes it slightly more special, and worth hanging onto, is the fact that it was bought from one of the three H&Ms in Maastricht, for a reception honoring students who had gotten a scholarship to study at the university. As usual, I didn’t have anything nice to wear and thought that a quick run to the store in the freezing cold would solve the problem.

Well, it did at the time.

But ever since then, the dress has lived in three different closets, only ever taken out when I was packing bags or moving. I may have also attempted to wear it to a few more formal dinners, only to realize that I had much nicer things, prompting a quick wardrobe change. Back to the closet it went.

Much like I hang onto old train tickets and cinema stubs, this is a dress that carries way too much sentimental value to be thrown away or donated to charity. It is one the few remaining items I now have from the time spent in the Netherlands, and probably the only piece of clothing.

It reminds me of braving the cold December morning to trek to the Markt, my inability to zip up the back of the dress on my own and having to call my roommate over, and the funny exchange I shared with one of the university’s officials at the ceremony as he handed me my scholarship certificate.


It also reminds me of that time in my life when I could finally call myself independent. I know that’s quite a lot of pressure and attachment to put on a single dress- but I also know that we all do this.

Plus, for a person with so many weight fluctuations, it is nice to know that I have one item to fall back on no matter what the number on the scale indicates.

Yet I know I’ve had it for almost six years and have only worn it once, so I probably won’t be leaving the house in it anytime soon. Like I said, it’s not the prettiest piece I have nor does it suit the place I go out to the most: work.

But I hang on to it. Because sentimental value can be all too powerful, giving importance to items that were probably worth nothing at retail, giving us a physical piece of the past, of memories long-gone.

One Comment Add yours

  1. 😀 Moi aussi j’ai plein de pièces auxquelles je tiens et je n’arrive pas à me décider de m’en défaire!

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