It’s 1986 outside… let me grab a jacket

I bought a white jean jacket. Though it is neither spring-like nor 1986 outside, I left the store with this accoutrement of yesteryear, and have worn it every day hence. Although it might be ridiculous, I love it. I love love love it. I love it like I love U2 and Mia flats and that boy in study hall and Darcey’s bangs. And I love it mostly because Mom would never have let me buy it.

A white jean jacket represents all things Mom discouraged during our sartorial schooling. Clothes bought with hard-earned money should be practical, versatile, resilient, and never, ever (gasp) trendy. We wore Shetland sweaters, monogrammed turtlenecks, corduroys, Docksiders, and pearls; no jellies, rubber bracelets, or artfully ripped athletic wear for the Stockton girls. Naturally, during our first years living on our own dollar, my sister and I independently bought verboten clogs. We quickly learned that clogs were everything Mom said, plus a surefire platform for embarrassing falls; but buying banned footwear was a rite of passage into young adulthood for us– exorcizing a bit of our Fancy Lady upbringing.

We begged Mom for these ugly, ugly shoes.

We begged Mom for these ugly, ugly shoes.

Doesn’t every woman have at least one bizarrely nostalgic, outlandishly expensive, immodestly revealing, or otherwise completely inappropriate ensemble in her closet? I’ll never wear tuxedo pants, but at some moment in front of a three way mirror, I thought I could affect a 5 foot 3 Katherine Hepburn. (Nope.) I dressed like Annie Hall for most of sophomore year. Hats and all. The Hervé Léger murmurs, “Je pourrais vous gifler mais non!” every time I rustle his hanger. Even he knows I have no business squeezing into that thing. Many of these impulse purchases and quirky fashion choices–right up to my super fab, white jean jacket—probably represent small rebellions against too many shopping trips with Mom to Talbots.

That’s my theory. It’s also possible I have wretched taste in casual wear.

What’s hiding in your closet?


I spent a number of years wanting to look vaguely French and gorgeous like Darcey.

We all wanted to look vaguely French and gorgeous like Darcey with her perfect bangs.

7 responses

  1. Clogs are NOT ugly. I’ve been wearing them since the 70s. I think they’re practical, comfortable and sexy. I did have a white jean jacket in the 80s. I didn’t wear it much, but there, too, I think a Levis jacket is just classic elegance. 😉

    • Oh, Martha. Clogs are comfy, sometimes funky, usually quite fun, but always ugly. In my long, long ago surgical years, I wore them every single day to spare my feet and lower back. Clomping around in them, I never felt LESS sexy. What did YOUR mom forbid you to wear? And did you indulge that fashion itch later on?

  2. I was similarly raised with strict rules about what was and wasn’t permissible in terms of appearance. (The word “tacky” was sometimes employed.) Weirdly, I was not allowed to have bangs, though my sister was – something about what “suited” each of us. When I finally got old enough to make my own hair decisions I didn’t want them anymore. I still love clogs.

    Love the new look and name of your blog, too!

    • There was a “young girls should wear colors” edict and we weren’t allowed to wear black until we were 16. Mom thought LOTS of things were tacky… often what I was DYING to own. In retrospect, though, Mom was right. I’ve never been able to pull off the bo-ho look with clogs.

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