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February 5, 2003

Best Dressed

Have you ever been in love? I mean really in love? I have.

Soft to the touch, pleasing to the eye, absolutely flattering and sure to garner compliments whenever I wore it: my mustard yellow lambswool mock turtleneck sweater from the Tweeds catalog.

I bought it in 1988 along with an oxblood above-the-knee pleated skirt. I wore those two pieces along with my charcoal grey opaque tights and black penny loafers (the left shoe had a 1970 penny, given to me by my cousin Joni, and the right had a 1988 penny, on my person at the time Joni suggested the idea of one foot representing the year of my birth, the other the year of my graduation).

Whenever I wore this outfit, I was in high-confidence mode. I remember wearing it, with an oversized grey blazer, when I went to my audition for MTV's Remote Control in January of 1989. I had lost ten pounds over Christmas Break from college, and my, "I will not ride the bus to the dining hall" pledge had ensured that I had not gained the freshman fifteen in my first quarter of studies at the University of Georgia. I looked HOT. And the crowd's reaction during my audition segment proved that fact.

That sweater, when I pulled it out of the closet last month, had two little holes in it--the work of eager silverfish that found their way into my life. I tried to mend the sweater, but it was no use. The damage had been done, and the sweater now--15 years after it entered--would leave my life.

I actually wept.

But here's the real reason why--just so you won't think me more a freak than you already do.

Tweeds is no longer in business.

I populated my wardrobe with Tweeds clothing from the discovery of its catalog in 1988 all the way up until 1999, when I received word that they were discontinuing the catalog and going web-based only. I was disappointed to hear that, as was the phone operator in North Carolina who delivered that blow while I placed my order from an office across from Mann's Chinese Theatre, where I worked at the time. She agreed that we like holding the catalog, flipping through, folding down page corners, even cutting out pictures we like to come up with ideas for coordinating looks.

I received my order in June, 1999, of a periwinkle blue, ribbed, wrap/tie sweater, a black pair of shimmery dress pants, and the coolest black strappy sandals I have ever owned in my life. I think the order cost $99 including shipping and handling. I *still* wear those sandals, even though they are really ready for retirement. They are just that perfect.

And that's just it. Everything Tweeds sold was like that in my life. I have so many pieces of clothing by Tweeds that I still pull out and wear--many more pieces that are waiting for me to lose enough weight to wear them again--and they look like new. They are so well-made, so lovely, and in such delicious colors and fabrics that I just adore them all for the works of art that they are.

And now that they're rare, since there are no more Tweeds clothes to be had, they mean that much more to me.

The website for Tweeds did have a little "We'll launch with the Spring 2000 Collection" message up for most of 1999. For most of 2000, the site had no message, just an image of a woman wearing impeccably beautiful clothing. In 2001, the site redirected to its parent company's site, where no mention of Tweeds could be found. And last year, the domain name was for sale. *sniffle*

Tragic, really.

I will never understand why my dear Tweeds is no more. I know that I certainly could've kept them in business, if the thousands of dollars in business I gave them over the years is any indication.

All this to say, when you see me in a too-snug, slightly worn, lovely colored, well-tailored piece of clothing, please don't ask where I got it. I might just cry.

Posted by bonnie at February 5, 2003 7:03 AM