Sticking With Good Friends
Over the Years

Text by Yataro Matsuura  
Illustration by Yoshifumi Takeda

Essayist Yataro Matsuura shares
his thoughts about taking care of favorite clothes

First thing in the morning, when I reach through the sleeves of a freshly laundered shirt and feel the crisp fabric graze my skin, I have to smile.

Sometimes my underwear or socks feel so comfortable and reassuring that I sit with the experience, so glad I wore these things that day.

Clothing doesn’t simply create our appearance, it hops along for the ride of life, giving us energy and making us smile. Remembering this alerts me to how truly amazing clothing is, how clothes can take on the role of a close friend.

But if our clothes are our friends, how much do we know about these fabric friends of ours?

One day, I picked up a favorite shirt I wore all the time and noticed things I’d always overlooked, like the thread or shape of the buttons, how the sleeves or collar were attached, the pattern of the stitching, the curves of the sleeves or the body, the texture of the fabric. Learning something new about this friend of mine.

Of course, I nodded, this is exactly why I love this shirt so much. Somehow I’d never noticed, but there’s a reason why it looks and feels so good. As if it has a plan, or good intentions, possessing beauty and uniqueness, or a kind of flexibility, the tenderness of one person to another. This was a huge discovery.

Yataro Matsuura

Essayist & Editor

Born in 1965 in Tokyo. Opened the bookstore “COW BOOKS” in 2003. From 2006 to 2015, he served as editor of the lifestyle magazine Kurashi no Techo, founding the website “Kurashi no Kihon.” He currently manages Oishi Kenko Inc., a service for promoting healthy living. His books include Live Today, For Tomorrow and 100 Basics for Work and Life, as well as 100 Basics of Clothing: LifeWear Story 100, which gathers together his column from the UNIQLO website.

Learning more about my favorite clothes has influenced the way I wash and fold them, how I put them away, and how I wear them, changing the course of our relationship. It’s also changed the way I shop for clothes. But most of all, it’s made me love my favorite clothing even more.

Why is it that some people are called fashionable or stylish? It must be because they’ve learned about the clothes they’ve chosen as companions, discovering their strong points and their charms, enjoying them for what they are, and being thankful and appreciative.

We stick with these good friends over the years. A few good friends are all we need.

After a while, we become attached, as they reveal the grace of age. Valuing clothing that improves as time goes by provides us with a model for life. If we seek richness and sustainability in the world to come, these good friends are where to find it.

Yataro Matsuura

Essayist & Editor

Born in 1965 in Tokyo. Opened the bookstore “COW BOOKS” in 2003. From 2006 to 2015, he served as editor of the lifestyle magazine Kurashi no Techo, founding the website “Kurashi no Kihon.” He currently manages Oishi Kenko Inc., a service for promoting healthy living. His books include Live Today, For Tomorrow and 100 Basics for Work and Life, as well as 100 Basics of Clothing: LifeWear Story 100, which gathers together his column from the UNIQLO website.

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