While I am still able to wear the white bucks that my dear brother Frecky gave me for my twenty-first birthday, it has been rather a long time since I have been able to fit into my Yale letter sweater. With the passage of time one's figure has become rather, um, portly, which is most unfortunate when it comes to one's ability to fit into one's college undergraduate clothing. Not only is Reggie unable to squeeze himself into his letter sweater, Dear Reader, but the needlepoint belt that his then girlfriend, Victoria Vanderlyn, made for him during his sophomore year is, I am afraid, rather too small to clasp around Reggie's expanded middle-aged waist these days as well.
Ah well, at least Boy gets to wear them (and other articles of my clothing) from time to time . . .
The model for today's essay is George Peterson, the very affable and game husband of boy's assistant designer, the divine Nancie Peterson. The charming and amusing Petersons spent the weekend with us at Darlington before the onslaught of Hurricane Sandy, and Boy took these photographs of George outfitted in my letter sweater and bucks as a stand-in for yours truly. We dressed George to look as Reggie might have on an autumn weekend in New Haven back in the day, strolling around the Yale campus or on his way to a football game at the Yale Bowl. The handsome George is also shown wearing a set of horn-rimmed spectacles similar to ones I wore as an undergraduate, and which I still wear to this day.
We have purposely posed our obliging model next to a sundial that stands on a garden walkway at Darlington, with the autumn trees and scattered leaves in the background. Time and tide, as
they say . . .
Tell me, Dear Reader, are there articles of clothing in your closets or chests of drawers that you have fondly kept from your college days and that you cannot bear to part with—like Reggie—even though they may no longer fit you, or have fallen out of fashion?
Photographs by Boy Fenwick
Hello Reggie, At first I thought that I had nothing left from college days, but then I remembered I still have a black silk bow tie from J. Press.ReplyDelete
--Road to Parnassus
Dear Parnassas, I, too, have an old black silk bow tie from Press in my formal wear drawer, along with white moire satin suspenders for when wearing white tie (which I never do anymore but hold on to for sentimental reasons) and black tie suspenders, too (which I do wear from time to time. I also have a handfull of old Press ties, too, from those days. Thanks, ReggieDelete
Alas, we can claim nothing in our wardrobes, with the possible exception of a college scarf, to be left over from our university days. But then here the moth gets into everything sooner or later!!
Dear J&LH: I forgot about one's old school scarves! I long ago misplaced mine from Sherborne, where I spent a year, and then haven't seen the one from my undergraduate college at Yale in years, either. It would be very pleasant to still have those, I think. ReggieDelete
Brother Darling: At the very bottom of the ultimate drawer of my bureau lie a pair of Levi's, much embroidered and patched with colorful cloth that I used to wear around the campus in the heady but fashion-challenged early 1970s; also, a much cherished secret society/fraternity club necktie dating from 1973 hangs in my closet tie rack. At 6'2", Frecky, Jr., is too tall to wear the jeans and I have so far refused to let him borrow the tie. If he attends Mother Yale, to which he has just applied, and if he is tapped by my old ss/f, then I expect to give it to him as a gift. Your affectionate brother, FreckyReplyDelete
Dearest Frecky: I don't recall the jeans you are referring to, but I do remember the (justifiable) pride you took in the tie you write about. Would that we had overlapped at Yale as undergraduates, as it would have made my experience there all the more pleasurably memorable, I believe. ReggieDelete
As my foray into Shetland sweaters was somewhat of a forced march, no, I haven't kept anything. But I kept a couple of things from high school, if you can believe it. For example, a pair of denim overalls. Yes, dear one, I was a junior hippie.ReplyDelete
It was Northern California. It happened:).
Your model looks great. Timeless is as timeless does.
Dearest LPC: While shetland sweaters figured prominantly in Reggie's boyhood and college days (and for at least a decade afterwards), there was one brief moment when he, too, owned a pair of denim overalls. It was during a summer as a teenager (probably the same time when you owned yours) when I attended a Farm & Wilderness camp in Vermont, where the campers--largely drawn from the white, urban, upper-middle class ranks of the Eastern elite--spent 8 weeks "playing" farmer: tending crops and such, square-dancing, and skinny dipping. We were all required to arrive with a set of overalls to wear during our chores. I had a ball, but was relieved at the end of the summer (when I went back to Saint Grottlesex and shetland sweater land) that I no longer actually lived the life of a play farmer, as it was far more work than I imagined possible! Tell me, did you embroider your overalls? Fondly, ReggieDelete
you and George too cool for school! My Mother saved my colored-rhinestone studded denim jacket (circa early 80's) for years. She recently dropped it off along with my old baby dolls and a big bag-o-crap. I tossed it all....deep regret. For the dolls, not the jacket.ReplyDelete
I did wear my Grandmother's cotillion dress to my first dance upon returning to my hometown a few years back. Felt great to be dancing on the same floor, in the same dress as my Grandmother. She enjoyed classic clothes....her black gown with gold detailing is timeless
Hello JCW: There will come a time when you regret tossing that rhinestone jacket, I am sure--perhaps one Halloween? You must have looked lovely in your grandmother's black dress. What fun it must have been to wear it to the same dance she did many years ago. Thanks, ReggieDelete
I still have my varsity lacrosse jersey from Junior and Senior year of high school...as well as Greek Week T-shirts with booze related slogans from my Lehigh days..treasuresReplyDelete
Dear MLS: Thanks. I dearly wish I still had the crew tee shirts that we exchanged with the teams from other colleges when we raced them when I rowed at Yale. Most of the shirts I wore to shreds from repeated wearings over the years, but others got lost to the mists of time, too. Rgds, ReggieDelete
The summer prior to entering college I was fortunate enough to work for a clothing manufacturing company here in NJ. The proprietor of the company was one of Ralph Lipshitz's original backers. Anyhow, at the end of the summer I was allowed to pick through all of the 40 Reg. "sample" sport jackets from nearly 10+ years of production for Brooks Brothers, RL, J. Peterman, Orvis, etc etc.. To this day I still wear all of these classic tweed and corduroy jackets. A wonderful post Reggie!
Sounds like you hit the Mother Lode there. Happy for you that you can still wear them! RDDelete
What a fun post. Yes, I have a few college items that I keep even though I can't quite fit into them. My favorite is my Girbaud tag jeans, circa '86, that have two tiny holes in them from where the acid droplets landed while in organic chem lab. This only added to my dislike of that class...ReplyDelete
Dear MNH: Don't ever get rid of them! Someday you will (a) either fit into them again, or (b) have a loved one who can! ReggieDelete
I still have band t-shirts and favorite going-out outfits from college. I was hoping to give some of the t-shirts to my nieces, but they took after the non-Amazon side of the family so nothing fits. They will just have to stay packed away until I get tired of them.ReplyDelete
Oh! I just noticed the shirt I am wearing right now is one I borrowed from my best guy friend back in college. He let me keep it because the color suited me better. I'm also wearing a Jesuit high school 1994 baseball team t-shirt underneath that I acquired while in college.ReplyDelete
This post has reminded me of so many good times and fun people from my college days. Thank you!
Hello Emmaleigh: Thank you for both of your comments. Hold on to these memories! RDDelete
Hell yes I do - two shirts from old boyfriends who shall go unnamed. One is a pink oxford cloth buttondown from Brooks Brothers that is completely frayed but soft as a shatoosh and I cannot bear to part with it. The other is a blue and white striped Andre Oliver (okay this one was a little after college) also completely frayed. As for most of my college clothes - they have shrunk. Just sitting in the closet over the years has apparently caused them to shrink, unbidden, insultingly, inexplicably.ReplyDelete
Go to youtube and listen to Mary Chapin Carpenter's "This Old Shirt". I expect you'll find a version of it (deservedly, one of her most well-known songs) there....everything else in the world seems to be on youtube.
Dear FS: So THAT is it! The problem is that it is that my clothes have shrunk, and all along I've blamed myself, mistakenly, that the reason I couldn't fit into them anymore was because I'd gained "a few" pounds. Now, I WILL have butter AND jam on my toast this morning, and with a clear conscience! ReggieDelete
I have quite a few things from times of yore. One is a favorite plaid skirt of late '80s vintage. Also included are tops from first dates... with both husbands!ReplyDelete
Reggie secretly wishes he had an authentic kilt, and all the getup that goes with it (both for formal and informal occasions), even though he is not aware of having any legitimate claim to wearing one, given his ancestry being almost entiterely concentrated in England and Wales. However, he has promised himelf that he will give himself permission to get a man kilt when he has succeeded in his personal plumpness prevention plan, which currently he is not doing very well at... RDDelete
I for years held on to my Jimmy Buffett T-shirt from 1976, then there was the 1981 Cafe Du Monde T-shirt now memories only, lately. Did you know the Andrew Stewarts when you were in New Haven?ReplyDelete
Hello Anon 9:19: Unfortunately I passed through Yale long after the Stewarts were in residence there. I have met Ms. Stewart half a dozen times or so since, but not under such circumstances as it would be appropriate for me to bring up her former husband... RDDelete
Surely thou jest...my wedding band from the first doesn't even fit me on my pinkie and that was 3 years after college. Only you would keep that memory alive!ReplyDelete
Glad to know all is well with the Darlingtons after the storm.
Roxie, m'dear -- surely you have kept a set of kid gloves, a gossamer hat, or a pair of satin dancing shoes from days gone by wrapped in tissue paper and stored away in a pretty Bonwits box that you chance across from time to time? RDDelete
I can't seem to part with a blue cloth summer belt with a pattern of pink lobsters. Go figure.ReplyDelete
Hello Chip, I confess I bought a pair of green shorts with red lobsters embroidered on them at Murray's Toggery on Nantucket last summer, and I've worn them rather a lot since then. And not entirely ironically! RDDelete
Yes, darling Reg, in my closet you can find that black Estevez halter dress that criss-crossed over the back that I wore the pm the Whiffs sang at the 21 Club for dinner and drinks for yourselves and your dates. You all were so handsome in your white tie and tails! Bits xoxo PS That dress has had quite a life -- it's been all over the world!ReplyDelete
Hello Bitsy, I remember that evening fondly and well at '21, and yes, you looked lovely in that dress. We were young once, weren't we? ReggieDelete
Dear Reggie, I love that sweater. My charming other is a Yale boy who still wears his old college scarf (I make incessant fun of him, but secretly find it sweet). The advantage of a scarf, I suppose, is that it always fits!ReplyDelete
We are cautiously risking a trip to Cambridge in a week--I am sure you know the significance. I can't forgive that, years ago, he may have rather unforgivably aided and abetted the scoundrels who perpetrated this prank: http://www.harvardsucks.org. We're both grad students under Elihu now, but I will always bleed crimson.
Your sundial is magnificent. I love how time and weather have eaten away at the softer stone veining--that's something that all the acid-washing in the world (ha) couldn't match. ;)
This was great fun and what a trooper your model was! I don't believe I have any garments from my college days, but recently came across myself wearing a tan "boyfriend" sweater that seem to be popular again and did wish I still had it, though I recall it was wool and made me itchy!