Friday, February 23, 2007

Strange gifts

Lord love him, my Uncle Marty has made some strange gift-giving choices over the years. He is obliged, by agreement with my mom, to give me a Hannukah (or Christmas, as he calls it) and a birthday present. I do the same for him. Mom does the same for my cousins. No gifts are exchanged between cousins, though I do get a holiday card from the one with a kid.

I never know what Marty is going to get me. It's usually clothing and it's often horrible. The last couple of years he's had a pretty good run--he brought me a beautiful burgundy paisly shawl from India and a black cable knit crewneck sweater from Land's End. He also got me a baby blue (!) cashmere v-neck sweater from Filene's Basement. He originally got it for me in black, size medium. He showed his daughter (my cousin) and she told him to take it back and get me a large (grr).  When he went back, there was only an EXTRA large in blue left. I usually wear a medium in sweaters, depending on the cut, and a black, v-neck cashmere sweater would have gotten a lot more wear than the baby blue number. Anyway, it's nice and I wear it sometimes, but it's awful baggy.

This year, he stumped me with a present of a baby blue (again!) velour warm-up jacket. It's very '70s and almost ugly enough to be cool but mostly it's just bizarre. Needless to say, I thanked him profusely.

So, last night, when I got home and found an LL Bean package waiting for me, I figured it was from Dad or Uncle Marty. When I picked it up, it was unexpectedly heavy. I opened it and I saw denim. I thought, "Jeans? Could he possibly have bought me jeans?" That would have been mighty odd, even for Uncle Marty. When I got the package completely unwrapped, I realized that it was a jacket.

A jean jacket.

Is it just me, or is this a weird present? I haven't had a jean jacket since I was in the eighth grade. Are they back in style now?

In the eighth grade I had a lot of rules about jeans and jean jackets. First, boys could only wear Levis. In the seventh grade, the boys were still wearing high-waisted, tight, "flood" jeans. So ugly. Over the school year, most of the boys turned over their wardrobes and started wearing Levi 501s, button fly. Very good looking, not as tight and much cooler. The girls were wearing Guess jeans (if they could afford it) ASmiles slacks (remember those, anyone?) and, eventually, Levis. I also recall owning tight overwashed turquoise jeans, with zippers, and tight black jeans--with zippers! Neither of those pairs of tight jeans were quite as tight as the "skinny jeans" now popular.

With all the denim options for girls, I decided, based on what I'm not sure, that there were rules about mixing brands of jackets and pants. For example, you could wear a Levis jacket with Levis jeans ONLY. But a Levis jacket could be worn with other slacks OR non-Levis colored jeans. Under no circumstances, however, could a Levis jacket be worn with Guess jeans. (Do you think this had anything to do with the fact that I never owned a pair of Guess jeans?) Those were the rules and I followed them. And I sneered at those who didn't.

I currently own two pairs of "blue" jeans, neither of which are Levis and both of which have wide legs. (The 14-year-old me is hanging her head in shame.) Oddly, I'm not sure I'd be comfortable wearing this non-matching denim jacket with them. Is that done now? It's not like I'm pairing non-Levis with Levis. I haven't owned any Levis in years and years. Still, I don't like to be too matchy-matchy and jeans with a jean jacket might be too much.

When I tried on the jacket, much to my surprise, it actually fit. And it looked...cute. The cut and style were exactly like the one I had in junior high--two breast pockets, but no hand pockets. Button tabs at the back waist and the wrists. I think I'll keep the jacket. It fits, it's cute and it's kind of a hoot.

Thanks Uncle Marty.

Grateful for: birthday presents.

Drop me a line.

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