When You Put It On, Something Happens.
February 7, 2020 2:16 PM   Subscribe

Few items of clothing have stood the test of time like the Members Only jacket. Whether you were an original purveyor of the 65 percent polyester, 35 percent cotton jacket back in the 1980s, or part of the millennial hipster generation that brought it back in the early 2000s, one thing has always been clear: There’s just something about this simple jacket that makes it eternally relevant. An Oral History of the Members Only Jacket [MEL Magazine]
posted by chavenet (83 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
What's missing is the clear statement of what person decided to try and make looking like a douchebag cool, and what a reasonable punishment would be.
posted by uberchet at 2:39 PM on February 7 [13 favorites]


Ohhhhh.. It's a *brand*. Now I get it. I've been vaguely confused by the term for *checks notes* 35 years.
posted by Horkus at 2:42 PM on February 7 [34 favorites]


The brand that confused me, circa 1980, was The North Face. (I was obviously not a golfer).
posted by thelonius at 2:44 PM on February 7 [9 favorites]


I live near a very large retirement community and have had the luck to find nearly half a dozen Members Only jackets in various colors at local thrift stores--black, gray, ivory, beige, brown, teal, crimson. I love them for the uncool-cool 80s look and because they layer really well with a hoodie underneath. My nearly-12-year-old wears one of mine regularly, I think because of the Stranger Things-adjacent look. They're nice windbreakers. Yes, I've heard every single variation of "you must be the last member" when wearing the jackets.
posted by sleeping bear at 2:53 PM on February 7 [22 favorites]


It was a white, suburban response to the anxiety of globalization manifested by the Reagan administration.

Um, we're talking about a windbreaker here? This is bean-plating exemplified.
posted by SoberHighland at 2:55 PM on February 7 [34 favorites]




What's missing is the clear statement of what person decided to try and make looking like a douchebag cool, and what a reasonable punishment would be.

I can't tell if this a reaction to the actual look of the jacket itself, which is not significantly more embellished than the cartoon jacket icon you might draw to represent it, or if you are actually Davey Scatino
posted by invitapriore at 3:00 PM on February 7 [2 favorites]


Despite being a teen in the 80s, the whole Members Only think pretty much passed me by completely, such that the first thing that came into my mind was this thread.
posted by suetanvil at 3:06 PM on February 7 [6 favorites]


Ha! I have one I wear everyday, because that was my father's favorite jacket. He was a medium, I eventually bought my own large. When I first came back wearing it after he died, this was the medium, I got a lot of reactions. Only later did I realize this was because of it being featured at the time in the Sopranos. It's a good jacket, my father had very particular but reliable taste.

A good thing about the thin grey jacket, is it can be layered, as an outer shell over a sweater, or as an inner shell under a sports jacket.
posted by StickyCarpet at 3:12 PM on February 7 [6 favorites]


The brand that confused me, circa 1980, was The North Face. (I was obviously not a golfer).

Huh? What does golfing have to do with The North Face?
posted by eviemath at 3:20 PM on February 7 [18 favorites]


I was about to post a big "WTF NO MENTION OF TONY GEARY?!" and then I see he was referred to as Anthony Geary. Carry on.
posted by queensissy at 3:27 PM on February 7 [5 favorites]


I often wore my dad's Members Only jacket in the 90s. The damn thing was too durable and perfect for the climate to not wear. Best of all, it had been memory holed to the point of invisibility by then. No praise, no ridicule, just completely unremarked upon. To my mind, there is no higher praise in fashion.
posted by wierdo at 3:37 PM on February 7 [6 favorites]


I had a black one in fifth grade and I haven’t been as cool since.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:50 PM on February 7 [10 favorites]


When You Put It On, Something Happens.

Sunglasses At Night starts playing?
posted by soundguy99 at 3:51 PM on February 7 [22 favorites]


Burgundy. 1981. Yours?
posted by ivanthenotsoterrible at 3:52 PM on February 7 [4 favorites]


In third grade, a new kid came to our school. He was deemed cool, for reasons I'm still not sure of, but one of his cool things was that he wore a Members Only jacket.

Within a week, it felt like every other third grade boy had one except me. This was the first time I ever felt the burning need to fit in. I begged my mom for a Members Only jacket. I wanted to be like everyone else. I wanted to be cool.

My mom got me one. I still remember coming home from school and seeing it on my bed and being so deliriously happy to get a Members Only jacket. The thrill was short lived as it became apparent that I would still never be cool or fit in or anything like that. It wasn't the jacket. It was me.

Also, the throat strap thing was always too tight.
posted by RakDaddy at 4:00 PM on February 7 [21 favorites]


Huh? What does golfing have to do with The North Face?

To take a stab at explaining the joke *cracks knuckles*: In the movie The Big Lebowski, there is a gag where a henchman-type character holds up a bowling ball and asks, "What the hell is this?" To which the protagonist answers, "Obviously, you're not a golfer."

My hypothesis, then, is that thelonius was not a mountain climber circa 1980, which is why they didn't know what the brand name The North Face referred to: The northern face of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. thelonius could have said "obviously, I was not a mountain climber", but that would have foregone an opportunity to make a Lebowski reference.
posted by good in a vacuum at 4:00 PM on February 7 [45 favorites]


I had a reddish leather member's only jacket stolen from me at San Francisco State University in about 2004.

I have never seen one my size since, and I miss it.
posted by aspersioncast at 4:04 PM on February 7 [4 favorites]


Also I feel that people with either 'chet' or 'uber' in their names can judge my own peculiar tastes regarding coolness quietly and with a modicum of humility.
posted by aspersioncast at 4:07 PM on February 7 [2 favorites]


Burgundy. 1981. Yours?

Grey, 1983. I LOOKED DAMNED GOOD IN IT TOO!
posted by Chitownfats at 4:08 PM on February 7 [3 favorites]


They look the kind of thing old men wear when they go to bowling. And not the sort of bowling with pins either.
posted by biffa at 4:14 PM on February 7 [3 favorites]



Burgundy. 1981. Yours?

Grey, 1983. I LOOKED DAMNED GOOD IN IT TOO!


Gray. 1984. I'm not certain, but it was probably a knock-off from Sears. My parents were cheap that way. Needless to say, I started buying my own clothes once I could. Not that I had better fashion sense, mind.
posted by mollweide at 4:16 PM on February 7 [2 favorites]


Burgundy wool, shared it with my husband, then it became mine. I liked how my hands fit in the pockets, it was short waisted, so it supported my hands.
posted by Oyéah at 4:17 PM on February 7 [1 favorite]


I somehow got a knockoff in seventh grade, in shimmery nylon. Endured brutal scorn at the 7am basketball practice. Never wore it a second time and felt that special guilt of one gifted something almost cool.

This is a pretty amazing sentence:
She identified her target customer as Mischa Barton and Kim Kardashian and further enthused, “We have a Members Only Myspace page set up, and the majority of people who joined us are hipsters and scenesters from Young Hollywood.”
The coolest guys seemed to wear these with the sleeves pushed up to their elbows? Anyone else remember that?

Anyways I'm anxiously awaiting retro-cool to land on my 1990 Banana Republic leather bomber jacket. When I wore it as a 19 year old writing tutor, my *boss* said that walking next to me felt like we should be headed to the lumber yard. At my junior high kid's suggestion, I wore it when we went to the opening night of Rise of Skywalker and felt somewhere between not-ridiculous and semi-cool, among nearly-50 dads at least.
posted by Caxton1476 at 4:18 PM on February 7 [10 favorites]


Anyways I'm anxiously awaiting retro-cool to land on my 1990 Banana Republic leather bomber jacket.

Ohhh, I miss late 80s/early 90s Banana Republic quality and style.
posted by mollweide at 4:33 PM on February 7 [7 favorites]


I mean, it was a cheap jacket — it was 55 bucks.

55 dollars was not cheap in 1981.
posted by madajb at 4:36 PM on February 7 [34 favorites]


Can we have "douchebag" badges added next to our usernames if we've ever had a Member's Only jacket?
posted by invitapriore at 4:40 PM on February 7 [16 favorites]


They missed a bridge between the downfall and resurgence: grunge and uncool cool culture in the alternative music scene in the 90s. When we were all going to thrift stores to find grandpa's corduroys and old argyle socks.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 4:42 PM on February 7 [2 favorites]


I had a pink satin Members Only jacket in grade school. My god, I was glorious.
posted by palomar at 4:43 PM on February 7 [9 favorites]


Bah. Bah, I say.

Jean jacket or GTFO.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 4:49 PM on February 7 [7 favorites]


thelonius could have said "obviously, I was not a mountain climber", but that would have foregone an opportunity to make a Lebowski reference.

Exactly. I was 12, 13. "The North Face" - what the hell is that? It truly perplexed me.
posted by thelonius at 5:01 PM on February 7 [2 favorites]


Jean jacket or GTFO.

The jean jacket was all about which band's patch you had on the back panel.
posted by madajb at 5:09 PM on February 7 [3 favorites]


55 dollars was not cheap in 1981.

they're not cheap now - i buy 5 dollar flannels from thrift stores
posted by pyramid termite at 5:13 PM on February 7 [4 favorites]


NO ONE at my 2nd high school in the mid-1980s would've been caught dead, alive, or in any other condition wearing a Members Only jacket, teachers included.

My school was rather preppy, and most kids and teachers wore LL Bean barn jackets or pre-Sears buyout Lands' End windbreakers. The few "normies", "burnouts", and "nerds" wore Levi's (though there was that one junior during my senior year who'd had a growth spurt the summer before and went from medium-sized nerd to 6' biker. He wore a leather motorcycle jacket the entire year). Thanks to clever thrifting, sartorially, if not by any other metric, I was in the prep camp, and had a Lands' End jacket.

In my working class-to-poor neighborhood, however, Members Only was a status symbol thing for teen boys and men to wear, but not for women. The status symbol jacket for women was a nice black leather coat, preferably from Wilson's. Speaking of thrifting, even when it was a dead item, I've never seen Members Only jackets at the thrift stores I've frequented, not in 20+ years.
posted by droplet at 5:23 PM on February 7 [3 favorites]


My mother-in-law's boyfriend has one.

Pretty sure it's a 1980s original.

He also has the same page-boy haircut from his childhood in the late 50s.
posted by notsnot at 5:42 PM on February 7 [5 favorites]


OK, but did you have OP corduroy shorts?
posted by allthinky at 5:48 PM on February 7 [12 favorites]


Tell me, is Members Only what you would call that style of shell jacket that teams and crews had lettered? I’m not thinking of letterman’s jackets here. You see one guy wearing a Looney Tunes example in the article.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:07 PM on February 7 [1 favorite]


Y'all may be forgetting just how critical it was to wear Jordache along with the Members Only jacket.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:12 PM on February 7 [5 favorites]


Can we have "douchebag" badges added next to our usernames if we've ever had a Member's Only jacket?

I had cheap burgundy knock-off version purchased in 1982, can I be a douchebag too?
posted by TedW at 6:15 PM on February 7 [3 favorites]


Myself, however, I wore Sans-a-Belt golf pants with a rubber waistband so it wouldn't fall down as I refused to wear a belt, and tired old t-shirts. And I was 300lbs. And carried a briefcase. With a Simon game wired into it with external pushbuttons. And had bad acne and bad teeth and bad hair and coke-bottle glasses. So, basically, I was beyond help. Nothing would have made me cool.

These days, however, I'm fabulous and DGAF.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:16 PM on February 7 [11 favorites]


I preferred the 8-ball Jacket.
posted by TrialByMedia at 6:25 PM on February 7 [1 favorite]


The 8-ball jacket came years later!
posted by Burhanistan at 6:28 PM on February 7 [2 favorites]


There’s just something about this simple jacket that makes it eternally relevant.

OBJECTION! Objection your Honor. Making a claim not in evidence.

Being a young punk rocker when the MO craze swept campus as the uniform of the douchie coked-out Young Republican preppy set, it will forever represent Reaganism and oppressively shitty music to me.
posted by Everyone Expects The Spanish Influenza at 6:30 PM on February 7 [6 favorites]


My grandfather had a yellow one that he wore for at least 20 years. I don't know if he ever knew they were considered cool. It certainly made him easy to spot in a crowd.
posted by polymath at 6:32 PM on February 7 [2 favorites]


what's really weird and funny about this, aside from being too old to remember members only, is that the designer jackets i see at work are mostly sports teams, pelle pelle, fubu, with some canada goose and north face mixed in

yes, i do live in a different world than y'all
posted by pyramid termite at 6:39 PM on February 7 [1 favorite]


Mine was lilac. I wish I'd never gotten rid of it.
posted by BlahLaLa at 6:41 PM on February 7 [2 favorites]


One of my youngest’s friends left a dark blue one at the house. I wear it sans irony and often have to explain it to those who never heard of the brand.
posted by tommasz at 6:57 PM on February 7 [2 favorites]


I was a teen in the 80s and my Dad got me a Members only jacket. It turned out to be a knockoff, so it said "Menbers only".

I thought it was cool. My friends did too.
posted by eye of newt at 7:32 PM on February 7 [11 favorites]


I got a burgandy one for what must have been Christmas of '83, going by the Billboard charts.

P.S. Speaking of which, Hall & Oates were robbed.
posted by ob1quixote at 7:47 PM on February 7 [1 favorite]


I had a black one...I think. Might have been dark grey.

I got laid not at all in high school, make of that what you will. Definitely should bring out the old saw about correlation and causation, though.
posted by maxwelton at 8:33 PM on February 7 [1 favorite]


I believe I may have even bought mine (or my parents bought it) at The Squire Shop. Christ, I need to go have a lie-down, that was so long ago you could reliably drive from Seattle to Olympia in under an hour.
posted by maxwelton at 8:34 PM on February 7 [12 favorites]


I never had a Members Only jacket, but not because I thought I was too cool/not cool enough for it; it was the throat tab. Just like the narrator of "The Tell-Tale Heart" was obsessed by his neighbor's cataract-obscured eye, I could never get past that throat tab--so superfluous, so dangly.

[deep breath] Wow, that feels so good to get off my chest after all these decades.

Ohhh, I miss late 80s/early 90s Banana Republic quality and style.

I used to read those early catalogs and dream of becoming that sort of traveler, not because I wanted to get my khaki on, but because that was the sort of cool that I aspired to. Whatever I had to do to unlock that lifestyle, it had to be better than my dreary second-tier state university.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:43 PM on February 7 [10 favorites]


Ocean Pacific or you’re posing.
posted by notyou at 9:24 PM on February 7 [7 favorites]


I had lots of OP in 3-5th grade and it was all total posing! I didn't even see the Pacific Ocean until my 20s.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:49 PM on February 7 [4 favorites]


I could never get past that throat tab--so superfluous...

I feel the same way about epaulets. Those things make me cringe a little whenever I see them.
posted by SoberHighland at 9:51 PM on February 7 [4 favorites]


Members Only (Sheryl Crow)

Uncle Larry's hooked on ice again
He seems to be stuck in the 80's
He wears his Members Only jacket
Cause he thinks it turns on all the ladies

And all the white folks shake their asses...
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 11:14 PM on February 7 [3 favorites]


The Star Hustler (or Star Gazer, I guess) wore them.

I always associate Members Only-style jackets with a certain type of elderly relative. I was a very 80's youth and wouldn't have been caught dead in one, ironically or not.
posted by 41swans at 11:14 PM on February 7 [5 favorites]


I have a members only jacket I got thrifted for $7.99. But it's not the member's only jacket. It's a heavy wool winter coat. I call it my Newman jacket and I know I'm not the only one, because once I put it on at a friends house and their 6 year old looked at me and said "Are you Newman?" and they awkwardly made a joke about fig newmans in a way that made it obvious that the grown-ups had been saying I look like Newman in it. Busted.

(Actually, come to think about it, maybe I also have a knock-off of the more iconic one? That was another $6 thrift find, though it doesn't say member's only on it.)
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:43 AM on February 8 [7 favorites]


Oh man, Ocean Pacific. I had bedsheets, and two pairs of pants that revealed an accent color if you turned up the cuffs (which of course you did.)

And I saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time last year.
posted by emelenjr at 6:07 AM on February 8 [3 favorites]


I had a teal-ish one in middle school. Probably a knockoff. I don't remember thinking that they were particularly cool, nor feeling particularly cool for wearing one -- it was just a jacket. I wondered what the epaulet thingies were for.

Parachute pants were the dumb clothing trend I got caught up in and had to have, too late to be cool.
posted by Foosnark at 6:13 AM on February 8 [2 favorites]


In the 80s I set type for a small printing business. Our graphic designer, Wayne, was a middle-aged, married guy who was kinda quiet and mostly kept to himself.

One day he arrived at the office wearing a brand-new Members Only jacket. I had never heard of the things, so was startled by the reaction.

“Whoa, did you see that Wayne got a Members Only jacket?” Word spread fast, from the camera room to the press rooms to the sales department to the front office. All day employees stopped by the art department for no particular reason.

Shortly after that his life took a tragic turn, but on that particular day, the entire company seemed to change its opinion of him. So whenever I hear talk of Members Only, I think of Wayne.
posted by kinnakeet at 6:19 AM on February 8 [16 favorites]


Those had a brand name? I thought they were just called "windbreakers."
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 6:54 AM on February 8 [2 favorites]


I had lots of OP in 3-5th grade and it was all total posing! I didn't even see the Pacific Ocean until my 20s.

I remember that! When I was in fourth grade, there was a trend for boys’ T-shirts with evening-coat split tails in the back, and these were always surf-themed shirts. I was in a tomboy phase, and my mom was probably glad to see me taking an interest in any kind of clothing, so she let me have one. But boy, were they silly—too silly even to make a comeback among the most ironic of hipsters, at least so far as I have seen.
posted by Countess Elena at 7:31 AM on February 8 [2 favorites]


1984, gray. That was the year I lost a lot of weight and spent a lot of money on clothes. Good times, good times.
posted by briank at 7:31 AM on February 8 [2 favorites]


I honestly don't remember knowing about this trend in the 80s, but being a woman in my 20s at the time I suppose it didn't really apply to me, and the guys I would have been aware of back then were more the hard-rock band tshirt type who wouldn't be caught dead in anything preppy.

It does finally explain why my husband, who was a teenager in the 80s, really loves these cotton windbreaker types of jackets that I've always considered really dorky dad-wear.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 7:40 AM on February 8 [2 favorites]


Just as the Sony Walkman was a white, suburban response to the African-American, urban boombox (or “ghetto blaster,” as the suburbanites tended to call them at the time),

What
posted by benzenedream at 7:47 AM on February 8 [3 favorites]


P.S. Speaking of which, Hall & Oates were robbed.

From this link, I learned that Duran Duran had a hit that I'd never heard of before (Union of the Snake) and just listened to it now. It's... okay, I guess? And unlike their other hits, the chorus sounds like it belongs to the same song as the other parts.

</derail>
posted by suetanvil at 3:29 PM on February 8 [3 favorites]


I was a poor kid in the 80s, and aside from that, they weren't really typically worn by girls of my acquaintance. Male elementary school classmates did wear them, and that Corey Feldman image is about what I think of when I think of them.

But the other thing I think of is the fact that the stretch elastic areas always got extremely pilly. Members Only jackets never stayed looking good for long.
posted by verbminx at 4:31 PM on February 8 [3 favorites]


I must be an outlier, because even in the 80s, at the height of the Member's Only craze, even as a youngster who wanted to be as cool as the next kid, I thought those jackets were ugly. I still think so, though I guess the nostalgia factor--and the broadening of my tastes--has made them...sort of ok-looking.
posted by zardoz at 4:50 PM on February 8 [2 favorites]


“ghetto blaster,” as the suburbanites tended to call them at the time

What


Sorry, if you lived far enough away from the ghetto, “ghetto blaster” was literally the only time you ever heard the word. Somehow “boombox” took over within a couple years though, but my cohort probably never caught onto why.

I never had or wanted a Members Only jacket. If that Banana Republic bomber jacket ever comes back in style (like that gum I like) I’m set tho.
posted by fedward at 6:40 PM on February 8 [1 favorite]


This thread reminds me of the scene in season 1 of Friday Night Lights when coach Taylor is duly suspicious of his quarterback's intentions when he shows up for his first date with the coach's daughter wearing a Members Only jacket.
posted by HillbillyInBC at 8:19 PM on February 8 [1 favorite]


I was never able to get a membership.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:53 PM on February 8 [2 favorites]


OMG! I just realized my first husband wore a jacket of a very similar style when we got married. It was deep purple. It doesn't have a logo in the one picture I have of him in it, so it must have been a knockoff. I don't think he was necessarily trying to be trendy, I think he just happened to find it in some shop at the mall while searching for a purple outfit for our wedding. We got married in 1981.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 8:58 PM on February 8 [2 favorites]


The 80s for me was wandering a desolate, suburban, mid-continental cultural hellscape littered with such diversity as Members Only jackets, Wyndham Hill cassette tapes, Levi's 501s, Iron Maiden t-shirts, and proliferating Wal-Marts.

Occasionally I would hear from friends returning from far-off, exotic lands of wondrous and slendiferous things; but, lacking any reliable guides and insisting on marking my own trail, mix-and-mismatched indiscriminately the bourgeois, the outré, the gauche, and the unremarkable in such combinations as to simultaneously be uninteresting and unattractive, unique but forgettable.

I mostly try to forget the eighties.

But I recall my burgundy Member's Only jacket fondly, if only for its comfort and despite its unreliable pockets.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:26 PM on February 8 [3 favorites]


Burgundy, 1983. I also had hair that was kindly described by A friend seeing an old picture as “The Graham Nash.”
posted by tristeza at 1:30 AM on February 9 [1 favorite]


I always prefered to think they meant an alternate meaning of "member" and that it was a prank that got out of hand.
posted by srboisvert at 4:55 AM on February 9 [2 favorites]


I remember when they came back in the early 2000s. I rudely asked someone wearing one if it was a joke, and quickly regretted it.

This was just after trucker hats had made a comeback as what I interpreted as an ironic fashion statement. I mean, the things were so hideous and cheap, that surely this was the "I'm so beautiful, I can make even this look good!" side of the trend curve, no?

I apologised, but a couple of years later I seriously questioned the whole phenomenon after reading this Cat and Girl comic: One Theology of Cheap Beer
Stare into a field of trucker hats and find me one oversized Tweety sweatshirt or pair of stirrup pants! There's a cachet to obsolete working class culture ONLY when it's MALE.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 10:15 AM on February 9 [4 favorites]


> the throat strap thing was always too tight

It's evolved from the one on a trench coat which was there to keep the rats in the WWI trenches from crawling through the neck hole, so yeah, it's gonna be tight.
posted by ASCII Costanza head at 11:21 AM on February 9 [2 favorites]


I really don't recall Members Only being that closely associated with yuppie douchebags, although they definitely indicated at least the aspiration to upper class status. But maybe I just wasn't paying attention; despite owning a fake one I generally wasn't that much into fashion trends in college (and am still not). But several of the other comments above seem to confirm a trend I first noticed about 10 years ago; weather permitting, I regularly see men in their 60s-80s wearing Members Only jackets. At one point the woman I was dating and I had a running joke that we would text each other when we spotted one, at least once a week and sometimes 2-3 times a day. (Since she was a few years younger than me she would always ask why I didn't have one.). I always assume those were relics from the days when they were younger and hipper, but after reading the article I wonder if some of them are new. I'm half tempted to buy one myself since they don't look very expensive compared to their price back in the 1980s. But I don't really need a new jacket and the advertised "slim fit" does not sound very comfortable for my rotund physique.
posted by TedW at 1:03 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]


From the moment I first saw it, I disliked this label. Still do. It's both contrived and condescending. Not interested.
posted by chance at 2:07 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]


Iron Maiden t-shirts

Hey now! Iron Maiden was the best part of Midwest high school culture.
posted by benzenedream at 6:53 PM on February 9 [2 favorites]


I remember my mom bought one for me and I hated it because of the epaulettes. Nonetheless she forced me to wear it because she was not letting something go to waste that she spent so much money on.

In addition to Ocean Pacific: Jams, Joe Boxer, Big Dog, Z Cavaricci. I could keep going...
posted by slogger at 12:44 PM on February 10 [1 favorite]


it had been memory holed to the point of invisibility by then. No praise, no ridicule, just completely unremarked upon. To my mind, there is no higher praise in fashion.

To me that expresses perfectly what 90s fashion was all about. See Friends if you are too young to remember.

55 dollars was not cheap in 1981.


Well this person is in the world of fashion design and that would be cheap to someone like that then. Regular clothes were more expensive in relative terms than today, and designer clothes even more so. Yes, you could get a good quality ski jacket or full-length wool coat for $55, but an actual European designer jacket would have run into the hundreds, so to a fashion person $55 would be "cheap." Lke they say, in a sense this is first-generation fast fashion.

It's interesting to note the variability in the thread in terms of whose communities considered the jacket cool and who didn't. I grew up in a working-class community on the East Coast, but also adjacent to a wealthy/preppy community who shared our high school. And neither group thought the MO jacket was anything but a joke. It was mainly the TV ads, which sort of nakedly screamed desperation for status and sex. We laughed at them. And I think we considered them basically like other TV products, like the equivalent of the Magic Wallet or the Pocket Fisherman - you'd order it for too high a price and when you got it in the mail it would turn out to be junk.

But that was the MO jacket itself. SOme of the features, the military-style cut and straps and snaps, were very 80s and could be found across other fashion forms. I recall a lot of fashion/anti-fashion being influenced by things like Israeli Army uniforms, Army-Navy stores, etc. Commando sweaters, berets, Eisenhower style jackets. It was the brand that was jokey in my community. The look, overall, was trendy enough.
posted by Miko at 5:14 AM on February 11 [1 favorite]


« Older "The system’s structure determines its properties...   |   We're making a few assumptions here, but Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments