|Thrifted vintage sweater; thrifted Forever 21 plaid shirt; Gap legging jeans; vintage thrifed Coach bag; DSW boots|
Anyone who came of age in the '8o's has dealt with the painful reckoning of their class photos, or really any photographs taken during that decade. I believe that, hands down, it was the most hideous fashion decade of all time (with the possible exception of the 1600's, during which men sauntered around in cropped pants with tights and powdered wigs and bathing was purely optional.)
The '80's are usually associated with excess - bedazzled sweaters, exaggerated shoulder pads, and blue eyeshadow sweeping towards your eyebrows. But in 1980's Long Island, New York, the preppy look prevailed. My early adolescence was all about being preppy. Preppy was Ralph Lauren pleated chinos and pastel oxford shirts and pearl stud earrings. Preppy was boat shoes and argyle sweaters and corduroy. Preppy was plaid, and Lacoste, and wearing your boyfriend's class ring on a chain around your neck. And preppy was also cream fisherman sweaters, preferably ordered out of the J Crew or LL Bean catalog. Thickly knit with a boxy cut, this sweater was usually paired with a plaid shirt and played an instrumental role in any prepster's wardrobe. I suppose one was supposed to wear it while yachting around the Cape, or performing some other nautical WASP-y recreational sport.
Back in the '80's, I too had a fisherman sweater. Mine was from JC Penney and knit from a tortuously itchy wool/poly blend - the poor girl's version of the J Crew sweater. It scratched my neck. The sleeves were too snug for layering. And it made me sweaty. But despite my sweater's shortcomings, I loved it fiercely. I saved it for special occasions like my 8th grade class photo, which I came across while sifting through my garage this week.
Imagine my delight upon discovering a near-identical sweater when I was thrifting on Tuesday. This version is more fisherman "inspired" than the traditional version, but it's hand-knit and much softer than the sweater of my childhood. And for $2.99, it manages to be an affordable, versatile piece in my wardrobe, while reminding of me of the carefree days of my youth. Blue eyeshadow notwithstanding.
And it made me very very happy.