I remember a sticky, sweaty day, very much like this one, a picnic by the beach, a sudden ant attack on our cheese, a dressing for the risoni salad I nailed for once, a missed boat, laughter that was pretty much yelling, the tang of salt in the air, pungent and alive. Later we sat at the jetty, watching the National Day fireworks go off over the mainland.

Rewind a few years. I was trying not to pass out in the stunning heat, so harsh was the light that it was something of a shock when we arrived and stepped off the bus to be confronted by an expanse of azure ringed with towering cliffs and pastel-coloured houses that seemed stacked on top of one another. Feeling put off by the oily bodies on the beach, we slinked into the shade and ate two lemon gelatos in succession, and wound up with a mild stomachache. But I recovered enough to devour an entire pizza mahgarita on my own for dinner, the best I'd ever had.

We can go back further, and I'm at the Vieux Port and trying to order myself bouillabaisse, and hours ago I was tramping around on an island trying to reconcile the image of the waters around me sparkling like jewels with "The Count of Monte Cristo".

It all actually began about seven years ago, on another sweltering, stifling day; the Mediterranean transported to Paris for a day. Even the feel of a cotton jersey t-shirt on my skin felt like wool in a sauna. I wandered into H&M (which was then so exotic to me!) and found this little nothing of linen, deliciously dry and crisp to the touch and not too sheer so as to be impractical. I hadn't given it much thought when I bought it, but time has proven its worth and long after I've discarded things I rationalised endlessly about, this little "careless" buy has endured. Goes to show that shopping is a risk, and taking it very seriously doesn't always lead to better decisions!

Lots of memories with one very good August buy, often by the sea. This time of the year, I never fail to be grateful.


Joy said…
This was such an enjoyable read. Guess some H&M products are good enough to last for such great memories to form. Personally I'm more of a fall/sweater person myself :P
Eileen said…
Wonderful to have sturdy staples that walk us through the seasons of life isn't it? Less than half of the stuff in my closet evoke such deep memories, but I am thankful for them and hopefully I will eventually build a wardrobe of memories!
Jenny said…
I have the same little one, and it is still in my closet too:) After much culling this has remained, even though it is from a high street brand. Funny that you have kept yours too:)
hannah-rose said…
Oh how I love this post!! one piece of clothing - all the memories, all the good times, all the minutes, the hours, the days. I really love this post, and I love that camisole, and I love your stories and oh, I just really love this lin!!! You've inspired me, I haven't felt this inspired in a little while!

Ammu said…
Lovely writing. Funny how the most ordinary material item can evoke so many memories. And yes, sometimes over-thinking the act of shopping is just that.
lin said…
Joy: I love the richness of fall looks, but I've come to embrace the ease of summer dressing, not to mention its challenges - mainly how not to look like you're headed to the resort.

Eileen: Not many things in my closet have endured so long - but we'll get there!

Jenny: Isn't it surprisingly durable? I have some linen things that have gotten too sheer and worn to wear but this one seems indestructible. Which is just as well because I doubt I can find a replacement should the day come.

Stuff like this reminds me of why I really liked the high street when I started shopping - you felt like there's good value for money. These days I rarely feel that way.

Hannah-rose: Thanks! I notice a lot of these are usually clothes I bring with me on holidays, because they're practical and versatile...I suppose that's a quality to look for when I go shopping: travel-worthy!

Ammu: Thank you! Clothes are important to me like that; certain things keep some memories alive!

More and more, I think over-thinking something just means it isn't right.

jamie-lee said…
It's funny how you can spend an endless amount of time agonising over something only for it to not really work the way you had envisioned. Lovely post!
A├»ssa said…
What a lovely post capturing beautiful lively moments.
I can practically visualize your experiences. This is such a wonderful post and practically drew me in from the first word!
Anonymous said…
Ha ha, yes I am definitely invested in the whole over-think-it approach for more than the results. As you say, it is not so hard to buy the right thing at the right time. The rest of the effort I put into shopping must be about something else, yes.
lin said…
jamie-lee: Thank you! More and more, when I struggle with something, it's probably because I'm bored and need something to fixate on and not actually because the thing itself is so covetable.

Aissa: Thanks!

Chocolate, Cookies & Candies: Glad you liked the post!

editor: I like the distraction of dithering over something, haha. The mistake is to give in!

miss sophie said…
what great stories and memories - thanks for sharing. i love that sometimes the most unassuming pieces stay with us, long after we buy them.
lin said…
miss sophie: It gives me a thrill to see them on my old vacation photos!
Jade said…
beautifully written! it's great that something so simple and practical has been privy to such treasured memories.
Sue said…
Lovely post and lovely cami. I love little tops like these - perfect for wearing just as they come or as a layering piece. I don't always find that price is an accurate measure of quality - part of it is what you put the garment through. I look after my clothes - cheap or expensive and many of my cheap garments have lasted and lasted.

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