I'd taken a seat at the back. I knew from past solo out & about'ing, that it's best to tuck myself away a bit; let people who came together grab seats near each other. But I also got there early, so my in-the-background spot still gave me a good eye line to see everything.
Emily Spivack was in town at The Book Loft in German Village to share some fashionable stories from her book, Worn in New York. The Book Loft is one of my favorite spots. Maybe because it's basically a house filled with rooms upon rooms of books. Or maybe it's the location between two coffee shops that speaks to me. Either way, The Book Loft has been a part of my life since I was able to roam about Columbus thanks to a driver's license.
It's also not the first time I've been there for a book reading. I've seen Katie Dolebout, Amy Landino of Vlog Like a Boss, Amber Tamblyn (next door at Stauf's), and Ernest Cline after Read Player One had been published.
But for this night's reading, Spivack was joined by Piper Kerman (Orange is the New Black) and Genesis Shine (Dress for Success Columbus client). Spivack is a writer, artist, and author from New York. Her first book, Worn Stories,* shares anecdotes about clothing from all kinds of people.
In Spivack's latest book, which she read from, she shares the stories behind clothing items (and people) that are connected to New York. She opened the night herself with a reading from her section, sharing the story behind an Easter party in NYC featuring her tights "that had a huge hole in the crotch," and the special someone she presented the biscuits she made during the party to.
Hint: a famous writer whose name rhymes with Smoan Smidion.
Spivack talked about why she liked meeting people and sharing their clothing-based stories. She explained that she's always been interested in others' stories -- something that resonated deeply with me as someone who prefers to call myself an editor versus a writer. And when an attendee at the reading asked why not jewelry and the like, Spivack commented that those items, while they have stories, tend to endure.
Clothing fades.Clothing disintegrates. Clothing falls apart. Spivack shared that she feels a need, and almost urgency, to document those stories because the clothes can't last. Eventually they're gone forever. But as long as you have the story, it's like a piece of the clothing is still wearable.
The rest of the night was highlighted by Spivack sharing some threads from Jenna Lyons' section of the book, as well as Piper Kerman sharing her section from Spivack's first book, Worn Stories, on the suit she wore to her sentencing.
Genesis Shine, a communications specialist and Dress for Success client, shared about a dress that had previously made her feel empowered. She recalled an event she helped plan that LL Cool J attended; he told her she looked in it. But how another time when she wore that same dress, her colleagues made her feel self-conscious in it. In the end though, she decided what really mattered was learning how to take the the way she felt in the dress the first time, and apply that to other outfits she wore.
The reading rounded out with some chats between Kerman, Shine, and Spivack. Attendees asked a few questions, with Spivack also touching on some of other projects. Like her column for T: The New York Times Style Magazine (The Story of a Thing) and her project called Sentimental Value.
She was also knowingly called out by a friend to talk about the very presidential Thank You note she received, courtesy of her t-shirt shack for President Obama in Hawaii called Medium White Tee (which was also an installation of the Honolulu Museum of Art).
Spivack's ability to weave these stories together and create insight into people's lives through one article of clothing stuck with me. I'm excited to read Worn in New York, and even more excited to nab a copy of her first book (and possibly gift it to a friend too). This reading might be one of my favorite book outings I've been on. And I'm not just saying that because I got a free tote when I bought the book.
Check out more about Emily Spivack by clicking here and Worn Stories here. And see what The Book Loft has coming up by checking out their Events page. And if you still need more, you can find info on Dress for Success Columbus right here.
Yes, I've worked with DFSCMH before. But I'm not getting anything from mentioning them. It's just me sharing my plethora of resources + knowledge with you. OK, really my predilection for hyperlinks.
Photo: Shanna Camilleri via Unsplash