I was about ready to stop digging at the DI last night. I gave up my shopping cart to a woman scooting three piles of books along the carpet (and still browsing) and carried by hand my 50 cent video up through Men’s Clothes. Then I spotted it: A classic zippered pullover of lamb’s wool with the look of homespun yarn died red with vegetables and bark that left contrasting slubs–black and white flecks–throughout. No, this was not the work of Betsy Ross or one of her contemporaries (what with evidence like a content tag disclosing 11 percent nylon). And, oh yeah, it has a label: Jos.A.Bank–the design house must have liked this pseudo-crafty fabric too since they specified it . . .
. . . I’d estimate twenty years ago. Which is the sweater’s one liability–deja vu (but, I remember EXACTLY where and when). It’s just that this soft, worn-in, earthy-red-not-too-heavy-great-for-every-season fabric is fab! And the still-relevant ribbed collar with its leather zipper pull! For $7 I bought the garment with the thought of taking out some of the bulk in the body and sleeves.
Then I woke up this morning wondering what differentiates vintage from sooo last year or passe. After much consideration, I’ve come to this: For a substantial portion of the population, fashion is our passion. Designers play to that passion, style is by nature seductive. We crush. We are infatuated. Infatuations can last for years sometimes until we are eventually forced to acknowledge that a certain style no longer makes us as giddy as a new one we see. Passe is that bit of embarrassment we feel about being fickle in love, revealing that we, like everyone else, are vulnerable. When we came of age, passe was embarrassment for our parents (which can come up no matter what they are wearing but especially) when we see their clothes as out-of-style.
I look at myself in the sweater at home and remember how elegant those draped shoulders felt in the 90s, how proud I was at my daughter’s compliment when my wife tried on the oversize shirt I had a say in picking out–“I didn’t know my mother could be so stylish!” she said. But now turn to see how the sweater puddles above the waistband in the back and feel again the pang from a remark by the same daughter ten (-er-fifteen) years after: “Your clothes just hang on you.” Had I had trusted the familiarity of that infatuation too long?
I conclude the style of the sweater is not vintage but passe.
And I engage my imagination once again. How to update sweater. Then going into cold, layer the subject over black long sleeves, wear ’til evening–what it has to say. Hmm comfy.
Find what’s yours . . . truly, danscir52
copyright 2013 Dan Christensen all rights reserved