I need a new sweatshirt

IMG_0540A few months ago, I wrote a post about the beloved black sweater that for well over a decade has answered for me the question, “What should I wear?” As ratty as it is, I have since realized I have a much more disreputable item of clothing in my wardrobe.

As I stood at the ballpark last night chatting with other baseball parents, it suddenly dawned on me that I was the worst-dressed person at the park. While others sported carefully-coordinated casual wear or the clothes they’d worn to work, I was clad in the aging Hanes sweatshirt I bought years ago with no thought whatsoever.

This is the sweatshirt I grabbed off the rack at a discount store – along with four others in varying sizes – because my family mistakenly believed it could not be cold in central South Dakota in August. (Wrong.) It is large and gray. It is worn. It is missing the pull for the zipper. And I love it.

It is the item I always grab when I think it will be a little chilly. The neighbor who I see at the bus stop every day probably thinks it’s the only item of outerwear I own. The members of my yoga class probably roll their eyes when I walk in. And the parents at the ballpark? They are probably wondering whether a) I have no taste; b) I have no pride; or c) I have no disposable income. (Note: On any given day, any or all of these could be true.)

Time for a wardrobe intervention. I need to get some self-respect. I need a better-looking sweatshirt.

(But I’ll still wear this one when no one is looking.)

OK, I heard from plenty of people with ratty black sweaters when I published that post – who else has the aging gray sweatshirt? Tell me I’m not the only one!

My husband went to Canada and all I got was…

My husband has gifted me with the ugliest piece of logo wear ever. Not only is it mucus green and made of a fabric that threatens the endangered petrol species, it is a vest. A VEST people!

Logos obscured to protect the innocent

Logos obscured to protect the innocent

Did I mention it is also a men’s size large? That’s right – he thinks I am a large, colorblind man with no fashion sense. Its claim to fame is that it has a logo from the Vancouver winter Olympic Games (wasn’t that four years ago?) My only consolation is that he didn’t pay anything for it so I don’t feel a need to don it out of guilt.

My husband is not completely lacking in taste. He has a good eye for jewelry, and he’s always the best-dressed man in any meeting he’s in. But when it comes to selecting clothing for me, I have to wonder – is it that his overwhelming love leads him to think I’ll be beautiful in anything I wear? Or is it that he has not glanced my way in a few years?

You see, there have been others. An XXL women’s swim cover-up he bought when we were vacationing in Florida. (I’m a non-statuesque size 4. The armholes reached all the way to my waist.) And the size large boys’ ski pants he picked out for me, forgetting that adolescent boys don’t have hips. I, however, do *cough, cough*. I couldn’t pull them up over my thighs.

Then there was a pair of fleece pajamas that were very comfortable – that is, until I wore them to bed, my body temperature soared to a thousand degrees and I woke drenched with sweat from a dream of being in a hot tub with an extremely unfortunate collection of B-list celebrities. No woman over 40 should wear fleece to bed.

Not all the clothing he’s bought me has completely missed the mark. There was a fleece jacket that was sort of nice. I wore it quite a bit until my teenage daughter borrowed it and stuffed it into her gym locker for the rest of eternity. Come to think of it, there was another fleece jacket that was OK too. There must be something about recycled pop bottles that makes him think of me. Or perhaps he thinks to himself, “I’ll give the gift of fleece. You can never go wrong with fleece.”

It occurs to me that if I wore all this clothing at once I’d look like someone from a bad reality TV show. But even I have too much self-respect for that. Not so much self-respect, however, that I could resist posting a picture of the vest. You’ll notice I’m not in it.

Worst gift you ever got? I’m sure someone can top this. Or you can read my next post and find out how I almost got a whole team of sled dogs for my birthday…