We all have them, old clothes that are treasured old friends. When we put them on they make us feel good about ourselves – more confident, more secure and more prepared to face the world and take on the day. But, inevitably, they, like us, begin to age, lose their vigor, their present-ability. For some people, it’s that special T-shirt, for others, that faded, a broken in pair of Levi’s. For me, it’s an off-white, crewneck sweater I bought in the mid-1980s, at the long gone, Champion Outlet on Upper Front Street in Binghamton.
It survives to this day, in surprisingly good condition. And, I get to take it out for a day every now and then. But, most of the time it sits in limbo, patiently waiting, with a few other “favorites” I can’t let go of. Most of them are on a closet pole in the attic above our garage. More than I care to admit, including a silk, patchwork, Jamaican party shirt I “had to have” when I saw it at a flea market in the Bahamas. It’s never been for a ride on my back, yet it still beckons me, so it remains in wait.
We get stuck in a fashion mode too. For me, it’s the fifties: Levi jeans (though we called them dungarees back then), crew neck sweaters, oxford cloth, cotton, button-down-collar shirts, dusty bucks, kakis, long, wool winter overcoats and argyle or colored socks. I added river driver shirts (now called henleys) in the 70’s and rugby’s in the 80’s. They’re all on “stand-by” in the attic.
When an item becomes too old to wear in public, it leaves the attic and goes to a “work clothes” rack in our garage. Every once in a while, I’ll give a “work clothes” item a new chance at life, and attempt to restore it to its former glory, so I can parade it out for a public appearance. It’s become easier, now that stained, tattered and paint splattered casual ware is in vogue. (Pricy too; you pay extra for the worn-out look.) So, my horde of work clothes is slowly moving to the “stand-by” rack in the attic and now, more than ever, back into the house. I may look like a bum to many of you, but the hip crowd knows I’m up to date, but best of all I’m walking around in the good company of treasured old friends.
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