Worn Stories review – a well spun yarn about the clothes that define us

This Netflix doc, based on Emily Spivak’s bestseller, weaves insightful narratives around different items of clothing

A yellow sweater given by a Buddhist monk to a member of his temple. The work shirt a man was wearing when he first met the woman he would end up living with in a nudist community in Florida. A one-of-a-kind coat that its owner and her cousin pursued all over Manhattan when it went awol from a restaurant. A T-shirt with an airbrush picture montage of a young murdered man for his mother to wear. A tie made from scraps of material a man’s immigrant seamstress grandmother had left over when the her long day’s work was done. The first item of masculine clothing bought by a non-binary teenager. The leather codpiece given by Tina Turner to her saxophonist that eventually made him famous. All of human life is here in the new Netflix documentary series Worn Stories.

It’s a simple, charming idea simply and charmingly executed, first in Emily Spivack’s 2014 bestselling book of the same name and now in this adaptation for television by Jenji Kohan (whose gift for coaxing stories out of tiny moments has most famously been showcased by Orange Is the New Black, her addictively hilarious – and heartbreaking – adaptation of Piper Kerman’s memoir).

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