I say to you; put on yourself in the morning.
The day will ask otherwise, that your skin be
a reflection of the homogeneity of those seeking to belong.

But you know better.
Your moving through the world is both flesh and cloth
person and polyester.
Both, together, are the you, you wear in the world.

Zip up your fortitude and imagine yourself
the fiercest in your moto jacket, favorite fleece or
same-in-every-picture cardigan.
Take command of your bearing whether you make your clothes
or arrange them as spices in a choice dish.

Sing the song you hum only to yourself when seams align and you wonder who that stranger is in the mirror.
If you must put on yourself as armor
and conceal from the world that which is your story,
take heart.
Your skin’s memory will be there when the time comes
to honor that road in ink or in daylight.

Pick sensuous colors if they help you know you’re beautiful.
Cradle your neck in tailored angles if it is strength and structure you need. Make you feet, the first of your being to meet the earth each day, ready in socks, sneakers, or sliders.

Perhaps the slouch of your sweatshirt is the very reason
people seek your presence.

If they should say that your clothing betrays your desires, know that it is they who refuse honesty.
Clothing is being and identity you choose for yourself.

A vice of socks here, a virtue of a t-shirt there or the scandal of a pair of pants.
They are only costumes if you let them.

I say to you put on yourself in the morning.
You are the face and hands and a wrinkles and freckles of those who came before you.
Whatever you wear, let it be magnificent.

During my junior year of college, I read a poem entitled A Suit to Suit You at our annual arts magazine launch. It was a poem that poked fun at the impracticality of woman’s fashion, celebrated the timely style of suits, and then encouraged women to wear what they liked, own it, and not dress a certain way to be a certain way.

I recall when the poem was reprinted in another small arts magazine. I had added an adamant note that this poem had nothing to do with sexuality. Now, while sexuality is a large part of clothing and how we dress, I would say it is fundamentally based on how we see ourselves as physical bodies that we must dress. How we dress is, in this context, not so much about how we choose to identify, but rather how clothing is an exterior expression of, sometimes, the very interior work of the soul and feelings toward one’s body.

There is a mysterious magnificence in bodies and how we choose to dress them. Let the poem be a way to consider your own multitudes and your own wardrobe.

  • Katherine Kwong is a curious creator based in Brooklyn. When she isn't helping customers at Warby Parker, she's interviewing people about their favorite children's books for her in-process podcast. She appreciates a beautiful bookstore, the Diverging Editorial Staff, and well-sharpened pencils