Worn Stories — The Chronicling of Clothes


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For me, it was the delicate silk blouse from J Crew that cost me $200. It’s more than just a shirt, it was what I bought with my first real paycheck as a reporter after moving to New York. It was how I knew I had made it. And while it’s seen better days, I still wear it occasionally and it still hangs in my closet, 9 years after I moved to the city.


Clothes are just clothes. But when a story is attached to it, it becomes something different. That’s the core of Emily Spivack’s book, Worn Stories. In her book, Emily shares the story of a pair of indestructible black flip flops that have traveled with her everywhere, from farmer’s markets to trips around the world.

Although her book is a collection of stories about clothes people can’t let go of, it was inspired by an Ebay shopping search where Emily came across a Playboy bunny costume from 1967. The listing came complete with a bunny tail, heels and a detailed description about the seller’s days at the Playboy Club. “[These stories] are a zap of incredible energy but also why are you telling this to me?” says Emily. “What compels people to share stories on Ebay?” Emily launched Sentimental Value, a collection of these stories—now over 600 tales since 2007.


On Wednesday night at the BK Accelerator in Pratt Institute’s Fashion Department, Emily shared her desire to capture these stories before they disappear. Depending on the wearer of the clothes, the narrative and the value of the item changes. You can submit your own story via the Worn Stories website. In time with the mindfulness of owning clothes, there was also a clothing swap where attendees wrote a brief story about why they were getting rid of these items.


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