imaginary outfit: june 1997

I graduated from high school in June, 1997, and spent the following summer dividing my time between a landscaping job and work at a small, short-lived theater company.

I had a pretty defined uniform at the time: jeans (one of two pairs: a pair I had traded my friend Jenny for - she had cut the waistband off, and they were held up by a safety pin - or a pair of ancient Levis from a thrift store in Lincoln, Nebraska, found the summer before); men's Hanes v-neck t-shirts (3 for $4.99); a pair of moccasins (then and always); and an old canvas barn coat of my father's. It was from Banana Republic, back in the day when they used to carry adventure-wear instead of yuppie-wear and its cuffs were frayed from years of use (I kept it and the jeans until they fell apart into gentle piles of string). I toted all my belongings around in a red Jansport I had covered in patches ( I would upgrade to a chartreuse Lowe Alpine rucksack in the fall) - said belongings included mix tapes, Mead spiral-bound notebooks (college rule, only), Bic blue ballpoint pens (I had a fetish for these), and whatever I was reading at the time, along with copies of The Great Gatsby and The Little Prince (personal lucky totems). I wore safety pins in my ears (to my mother's mild dismay), an assortment of cheap silver rings, and a trusty Swiss-Army watch I had gotten for my birthday - senior year, my life had been a swirl of part-time jobs, classes, tennis matches and drama practice, so timing was everything. I also was never without sunglasses - I generally searched out anything resembling Wayfarers or big round Jackie-O shades.

Looking back, what's funny to me now is how the bones of this still show through what I wear today. I had a brief, post-collegiate hiatus where I tried to dress according to the amoebic tenets of office casual, but that's gradually fallen away with time, and I am back to my old janky self these days. I still miss those jeans.