Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Tears in Your Jacket? Tears in Your Eyes.

Jean is away on business.  In her absence, Valerie waxes philosophical on the transitory nature of clothing.

Valerie says: Sharp-eyed readers will say "Hey!  They're recycling an old photo!", and complain that we're getting like TV, coasting on reruns.  But no, this is just to say 'remember this old jacket of Valerie's?'

I must have bought this jacket ten years ago, and even then it was second hand.  It's one of my all time faves, and after all this time it owes me nothing.  The last time I wore it, I made a sudden movement, and heard that telltale tearing sound.  I didn't see anything, though, and assumed I had unmoored a seam, as sometimes happens, with similar sound effects.

Well, sometimes, yes.  But not that time.

I recently went to wear it again, and found that, after many years of loving it to death, I had finally worn it to death.  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Exhibit A.

And here is Exhibit B.  (The entire outfit from the first photo is reprised for easier reference.)

No, this is not some ham-handed (like, really ham-handed) imitation of David Bowie's album cover for Heroes.

Or an equally ham-handed imitation of Iggy Pop's  album cover for The Idiot.  (How could it be, when neither of them is wearing a hat?)

No, I struck those odd poses so you could see that I managed to tear holes in both armpits.  I could have put Photoshop red circles around each hole, but how much attention does any woman want to draw to her armpits?  I could have done selfie close-ups, but …  naaaahhh.  A distance shot is definitely better here, right?

Some of you might be thinking that white spot you see in each photo is my Marilyn Monroe / Andy Warhol pocket hankie.

Nope.  Nope, they're holes.  Two of them, and they don't run cleanly along the seams, which could be fixed easily enough.  They are great big tears in the fabric.  See? Sigh….

I should have thrown the jacket away, but I can't.  It's an old (oh, sorry, I mean vintage) Gianni Versace, and no one has ever figured out how this fabric was made.  Is it shibori?  Is it devore?  Is it heat treated and stenciled with pigment?  Everyone loves guessing.  But it's also hard to throw away because it goes so well with a pair of Krizia pants I bought (see above photos), also second hand, also years ago. I think the pants are made of polyester, with drips of polyurethane all over them.  In the photo, the two together look like a suit.  So when the jacket died, I despaired of finding a replacement for it.

But the Universe of Clothing is very odd indeed.  Two weeks ago, when I took a bag of recyclable clothes to a thrift shop, of course I had to have a look around at what others before me had brought to recycle, and I came across a lovely Giorgio Armani jacket.  Being in deaccessioning mode, I asked how I could justify buying it (for $48), when I realized it might be a good replacement for the Versace with the twin tears in it.  Isn't it great how we rationalize our purchases?

So here's the new Armani jacket, with the same old Krizia pants. Hard to tell, right?  Not impossible (hint: more buttons on the new one, and a turn-down notched collar), but how closely is anyone going to look?

Just for fun, here are two fiber close-ups.

On the left, the pants; on the right, the Versace jacket.

Below, pants on the left, Armani jacket on the right.  (The Armani is a very interesting knit.  The dots are all different sizes on the face of the fabric; on the back, it's rows and rows of completely even narrow horizontal black and white lines.  Trust the Italians to have the most intriguing fabrics.  How do they do that???!!!)

So I managed to solve the problem of replacing the jacket and keeping the illusion of having a suit.   In a perfect world, we would all say if one item enters the house, another has to leave.  I know which one is supposed to leave.  But I'm sure all readers know the feeling you get when you're supposed to do the deed.  I still love that jacket, and everything in me is trying to justify keeping it.  (I'll make a sleeveless shirt out of it!  I'll make place mats out of it!  I can make a hat!  Don't make me do this!  Nooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!)


  1. Oh, I love that fabric in the Versace jacket. Could it be remodeled into a vest? Armholes on vests are of a wide variety and you might find one to accommodate the splits in the fabric. Although carefully mending the tears probably wouldn't show in the complexity of the fabric.

  2. I agree with Carol - couldn't you make a vest out of the Versace? It's such a shame to have to retire such a fab piece of artistry to the rag pile.

    Where DID you get those sneakers with the little heel - I love them!!!

  3. I love the idea of a hat! Wearing your jacket on your head would always keep it in mind.