Wild Green Vinyl

More than a year ago now, I was sitting on the living room floor of the apartment of an acquaintance who was getting ready to make the move to Japan (as so many Marine Corps families do).

It was her last night in town and she had heaped a huge pile of clothes on the floor near the door. As the night went on, I got the sense that this might be the reject pile-- the clothes that didn't make the cut and that wouldn't be moving overseas. I didn't know their fate, but knowing their owner, I assumed that most of these clothes would end up in the trash (oh, the American way!) but hoped she, at the last moment, would decide she couldn't bear leave her clothes behind and would somehow find room to take them with her.

After we said our goodbyes and left, blender in hand (she had two and didn't see the sense in moving both to Japan), I thought about this heap of clothes-- the wild green vinyl raincoat, the metallic pink jacket, and wished I would have spoken up and saved a few pieces from the dumpster.

A few months later, while dining at a friends house, we were talking about how our common acquaintance was doing in Japan, when my friend said, "you should see all the stuff she left me-- makeup, nail polish, skin care items, and some clothes that I'll never wear; I was thinking of selling them, but maybe you'd like them?"

Lo and behold, the wild green vinyl raincoat and the metallic pink jacket had been saved after all! 

And from that night on, they lived happily-ever-after in my closet.

As bold as some of my fashion choices are, I must admit that this jacket is a bit out of my comfort zone. In pattern and color, it is what I'd consider to be loud and, to top it off, it is made of such shiny and squeaky vinyl-- it practically screams look at me.

Of course, paired with my usual appearance, this ensemble had a feeling of being so over the top, but for a night out at a dive bar, it was fun and garnered a few curious compliments.

And, after an absolutely terrible week filled with the sudden loss of my beau's dear uncle, painful dental procedures and battling laryngitis/the cold of the century, this bit of frivolity was just what I needed-- too bad the night wound up requiring responsibility and a trip to the hospital (with me as the designated driver, not the patient).

Green vinyl raincoat -- Juicy Couture, by way of friends
Peter Pan collar blouse-- Lands' End
Cardigan-- Relativity brand, JC Penney
Scarf-- Glentex (50s), thrifted
Belt-- borrowed from a vintage dress
Skirt-- Christy Girl (80s/90s), thrifted
Tights-- Hue
Shoes-- NOS Saddle shoes, bought online years ago (source forgotten)
Brooch-- "borrowed" from my mom

I suppose what is the most fun about this coat is that it is something I would never buy for myself. Being that it is Juicy Couture, and likely cost far beyond my $40 limit, it's a coat that, unless it was in a thrift store, I would have never seen, never bought and never been able to afford.

Being given clothing is like being given a challenge, you're taking a bit of someone else's style and figuring out how to incorporate it into your own.

As a kid, I got a lot of hand-me-downs from older cousins and the fashion-plate daughter of my parents' friends. I enjoyed getting her clothes, they were usually name-brand and stuff we couldn't afford but that the popular kids might have worn at some point-- this was back when the idea of fitting in was still a concern.

I'd open each big black trash bag full of clothes with the hope that there was something inside that could transform me from the awkward outcast I was to the "it" girl of middle school.

There never was such a magic garment, thank goodness, but there was still the thrill of wearing someone else's clothes as if with each "new" shirt or skirt I was trying on a different personality.

Being given the wild green vinyl raincoat and the metallic pink jacket (an outfit post for warmer weather) takes me back to those days of black trash bag hand-me-downs and cool kid castoffs.

I'm no longer hoping for a miraculous transformation, but I'm enjoying the opportunity to play dress up just the same.

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