Are You Too Old For a Jean Jacket?
Do you ever open your closet door, ogle that threadbare denim Levi’s jacket and ask yourself, “Am I too old for that? Will I look like some adult trapped in an arrested development status pod? Will people laugh at me and say, “Look at that old bag, trying to emulate youth! What a tool!”
Or, are you old enough not to care? Does squeezing your arms into those denim arm tubes remind you of smoking in an alley, making out with someone else’s boyfriend, and living like there’s no soccer mom awaiting you in your future stuffing snack sacks?
I was skimming an article in the Times about Sarah Palin. Skimming — so I may have missed the point. I’m guessing the question the article posed was, “Is Sarah Palin too old to wear a jean jacket?” Jean jackets are part of American youth culture and she’s 58.
My best friend from high school, now in her 50s, recently visited. She said she needed to buy a new jean jacket. She’s one of my unmaterialistic friends, so I bet her last jean jacket, from high school, finally wore out — dissolved into the ether of herstory, a relic that held decades of memory in its fabric.
Jean jackets are rugged. They come from a time you didn’t reboot your style every year. Jean jackets were like witnesses. They traveled, like sidecars to your Harley, adjacent to your journey, wearing down like your own skin, conspirators amidst your victories, your misdirections, your loves, and your torments.
I remembered the jean jacket my friend wore in high school. She was slight, and the jean jacket she wore was oversized. She looked like an adorable child playing dress-up. She was a dancer so she could make her body into a tiny ball and the whole of her could fit inside her jacket and she rolypolied inside its embrace.
My friend’s high school jean jacket wasn’t Levi’s which made her jacket taboo by our high school standards. However, she looked like Alicia Silverstone so she could get away with fashion no-nos that we, mortals, wouldn’t have dared challenge. Beauty can be a get-out-of-high-school-jail free card.
I can’t remember if I bought a jean jacket in college after misplacing my high school one. It was less important then. In college, we were more…