The 10 Year Old Sweater

Everybody has a “Go-To” shirt.  Whether it’s for comfort or style, lounging around or hitting the town, it’s a shirt that works like Superman’s cape.  Invisible without it, invincible wearing it.  But there comes a time when you have to say goodbye, and for some, the threads will let go before we do.

This is my green sweater.  I bought it back in 2002 at RW&CO.  And even though I can’t really remember many specifics about when and how much, I do know that I started wearing it with increasing consistency.  It quickly became that “Go-To” shirt.  I could wear it to work, I could throw a collared shirt underneath and wear it out, I could grab it on a chilly cave-dwelling Sunday morning with my long pj pants and coffee and hibernate on the couch watching football.  It always fit right, it was always comfortable, and most importantly, it made me feel good when I was wearing it.  We’ve all got that shirt hanging up or folded somewhere. But we’ve also gone through the same transitions:

  • For some reason or another, it gets a little smaller after a few washes, so the fit goes from “comfortably breathable” to “protective against freezer burn.”
  • The colour isn’t quite as vibrant as it used to be.
  • It starts to pull or shred.

And that last point is where men and women might differ a little.  Because while women are more prone to only wear something if it’s exactly the way they want it to be, men will drive something into the ground before they relent and cry “no mas.”  I may have passed that point a while ago.

The left sleeve is coming apart at the seam.  A good four inches.  I’ve thought about sewing it up or just doing the same to the other sleeve to match.  That’s a trend, right?  It will be.

The fabric around the neck is fraying.  Enough that if I wear a shirt underneath you can see what it looks like through the shirt.  But quite frankly, when you’re rocking a good shirt underneath, why should you have to only show the collar/cuffs/bottom-sticking-out underneath?  I suggest another new style: See-through sweater pockets.  Just checkerboard blank squares that show the shirt underneath.  No?  There’s a reason I’m not a designer.

But I am lazy, so I’ve continued wearing that green sweater anytime I’ve wanted to.  There’s no shame alarm going off in my head, come on, this is my “Go-To” shirt!  It goes with everything.  But finally, and to the Sig-O’s delight, it may be time for it to retire.

It always helps when you have a couple of those shirts hanging in the closet, but still, there’s something about having that thing wedged between the dress shirts and polos…every time I take it out I think “I’ve had this thing forever“.  It’s like I’m beating the system.  “Buy a NEW shirt? HA!!” Forlornly, I’m a relenting this morning.  However, I’ve decided that although all good things must come to an end, it’s doesn’t have to be the complete end.

It’s going in the “Fuck It” pile.  The pile that has the paint stains and slight tears, the fraying and the fading.  The pile that is only there because everything in it is still comfortable.  It can’t been seen in public, but around the house, you’d better believe I’m gonna wear the shit out of that thing until it’s just a collar with streamers of thread hanging off it.

The sad thing about the “Fuck It” pile?  We’ve all worn one of those shirts out in public.  That’s usually when “Fuck It” applies to the entire day, and you have to convince yourself to go out and get the stupid milk or dumb thing.  “Fuck it.  I’m cheating the system again.  I’ll go out, but I’m not dressing up for society.  I win again.”

And that’s when you bump into that person.  I just hope that happens in my green sweater.



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