There is something about a bright shiny look. Sequins, silk, lame. Worn properly its fantastic, improperly in tube top or casually applied to clothing is often beyond scary.
I was always a big boi. I was big baby, I came into the world weighing 137 pounds 4 ounces with size 10 feet. My mother screamed so loud that all over Northern California people thought we were under attack by the Japanese* (*A slight exaggeration)
By the end of Kindergarten, I was over five feet tall and six feet tall at the end of six grade. Fashionable clothes in the “husky” department was available as long you liked the color blue. Blue Jeans, blue shirts, for years I looked like an inmate. My shoes were black with blue undertones.
One day, someone took me to Roger’s men store in Downtown Richmond, and a fashionista born. I went from husky to the men’s department. For my six grade picture, I wore a yellowish pinstripe double breasted sports jacket with tan pants and a powder blue turtleneck shirt. (Back then I was too cool for Black and White TV)
We discovered larger clothes in the catalogs Sears, Montgomery Wards and J.C Penney’s
I found a gold silk shirt at Montgomery Wards that went well with my tan pants and my shiny copper shoes from Flag Brothers and my nylon pimp socks. While I didn’t personally know any pimps, I was told they wore nylon socks. Hey!
Problem with silk shirts is they wrinkle, after a few hours the shirt looked like an accordian. You can’t starch silk, its an upright kinda shirt, as long as you don’t sit down. One morning, the shirt melted (attacked by an hot iron) I was devastated. It was the coolest shirt I ever owned. I found a silker shirt in the catalog , but my mom wasn’t going to spend $19.00 on a shirt. ( If only if I had four other brothers-one named Tito)
On one visit at JC. Penneys I found the shirt. It was a shirt slash Nehru Jacket, the style in the late sixties early seventies. It was purple, the national color of Richmond and woven in was bright silver stands. on sale for eight bucks.
The shirt and I was a hit. I didn’t wear it everyday, I didn’t want people to get used to it. Once a month unless there was a talent show at school.
Then one day, my female counterpart at school Janet, wore the same shirt. Like me.Janice was a freak of nature. We were much bigger and taller than our classmates. We were like Godzilla and Mothra, if we suddenly turned (without signaling) eight or nine of our classmates would hit the floor. ( Her tail was longer than mine)
Why would she wear a nehru jacket . Diana Ross didn’t wear a Nehru Jacket! Ella Fitzgearald, Aretha, Dionne Warwick none of these ladies wore Nehru Jackets. To make matters worse. She wore it wrong and she wore it constantly! On top of dresses, and sweaters. One, two days in row she it didn’t wear it. After a week, I assumed someone got tired of her or it. I altered mine, I made two side vents.
Weeks went by. It was time for the Mack Daddy! I needed to show it how is was worn. It as a Friday, I bought a white dickie. It was show time in the Cafeteria of Downer Jr High. I was too cool. I even wore my shiny church shoes. One of my fans came over and screamed my name.
You know the rest…… I don’t have to spell it out for you! The day was too fucking perfect!
There she was, walking with her tray of food, like Frankenstein’s first born. Wearing the same purple and silver Nehru Jacket/Shirt. I don’t know what she was wearing underneath it. I was in shock.!
One moment your friend is in your corner, screaming your name and the next moment he and a few others are screaming in laughter at you!
I wanted her dead, and perhaps one or more of my laughing friends, who were laughing just a little too hard, for my likings.
They were delivering milk that Friday. I pictured her stepping in back of the milk truck and the driver running her over again and again and again until she and that jacket was unrecognizable.
I stopped wearing the jacket to school. I would wear it to certain family events outside of Northern California
She stole my look.
That was the last year I saw Janice. I had nothing to do with her disappearance. The word was ,her family moved to Pittsburg.
50 years later, she is probably still wearing THAT jacket.
(I’m not bitter!)