Every so often, I happen upon what I call The One Thing. This is a garment or accessory, sometimes even a piece of jewelry, that pulls the rug of identity out from under me and makes me reconsider everything I thought I have heretofore known about dressing, myself and dressing myself. When it’s really good, it can make everything else in my closet feel new again, and because of this, I can never un-see it. If you don’t act, it’s like a cliffhanger that looms over my closet for as long as I deprive myself of it. But once I do give in? Ecstacy! Until, you know, the next One comes around.
I took Abie shopping in Soho last Sunday and by that, I mean I tricked him into believing we were going on a fitness journey by foot. The first stop was Ralph Lauren, because he has mentioned that he would really like “a braided sweater” (he means cable knit) for summer. I prefer that he wear fisherman knits, but does he care? No. The next stop was J.Crew, where I was confronted with the most recent case of The One Thing. Here I thought I was finished wanting to look like a male J.Crew model — white jeans, New Balance sneakers, utility jackets and all — but upon contact with one particular camo jacket, light enough to moonlight as a shirt, thick enough to make me feel protected when worn over something else, there I was, back in 2012 like I was 23 again.
I tried to convince Abie to buy it, but he refused. “I was never in the army,” he told me. I felt no such sensitivity towards leaning into the imposter than I am and thus tried it on. It was perfect. At first, I did not buy it. When I came home I considered the opportunities it would present; the light it would flash on the rest of my closet!
I could wear it with a dainty dress and plastic sandals.
It would look great with loose-fit pants and satin ballet flats, too.
I’d wear it over fitness clothes, pair it with lobster earrings and a striped button-down, maybe add a leopard-print skirt.
Oh, how great it would look with some fruit prints!
And could I simply wear it around my waist? Would I?
Yes. That would be ideal. At first, I called one in. I wanted to try it out, you know, before I actually bought it. And for a week I wore it with everything.
Including a brooch.
And polka-dot tea dress.
I even went so far as to zip it up, belt it, create the illusion of a peplum and add black-tie skirt.
And that’s when I was sold. Sold! My closet feels new as day.
Photo by Edith Young.