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Writers Emily Spivack and Susan Orlean tell their 'Worn Stories'

by Take Two®

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The cover of Emily Spivack's "Worn Stories." Princeton Architectural Press

You know what they say: "Clothes make the man." But the man, and the woman for that matter, also makes the clothes. We imbue our garments with meaning, depending on how and where we got them and when and why we wear them.

Building on that idea, the book "Worn Stories" features more than 60 pieces of clothing, along with stories from the people who own them. 

Brooklyn-based artist and writer Emily Spivack, the author of "Worn Stories," says the inspiration for the project came in part from a trip to a thrift store distribution center in New York.

"These clothes that had once been worn by people, that had once gone through various experiences with their owners... it was like the meaning had been completely zapped out of them."

But she says she knew that "each of those garments had been worn by someone, and that something had happened while each person was wearing those garments. But those stories were lost, they hadn't been documented."

Setting out to find some of those stories, Spivack tapped a wide range of contributors— including soccer star Brandi Chastain, chef Marcus Samuelsson, and writer Susan Orlean, who says the idea for the book immediately made sense to her.

"I have great associations and all sorts of complicated feelings about all of my clothes," Orlean says. "I get clothes in a lot of different places so a lot of them have a story of their own even before they become mine, and I just fell in love with it as an idea." 

To hear the story behind the item of clothing that Susan Orlean chose for the book, click on the link above.

And to submit your own "Worn Stories" click here.

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