Stories: Famous blue raincoats, etc

  • Russell Brown,

    Little black dresses, leather jackets, frocks, cardies and coats. Share the stories of the clothes you have loved – and loathed.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

76 Responses

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  • Danielle,

    OH MY GOD. There is so much trying to come out of my mind onto the page that I have a mental glut. A *glut* I say!

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    When I met Justine (twenty years ago this time next year, in Edinburgh - time flies when you have just constant fun) she used to wear in all kinds of weather and no matter whether indoors or outdoors a green rain jacket that I liked a lot and that I picture every time I hear the Leonard Cohen song.

    Carry on.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Joanna,

    In 7th form I got a pair of brown flares from my Opa with a matching suit jacket that I didn't usually wear. I wore the hell out of them for the next two years which amused him greatly. I also wore his flared pinstriped suit to his funeral, with a slip over the pants, of course, because that was how I rolled. I'm sure he would have loved that.

    I also used to wear my great grandfather's overcoat from 5th-7th form - it was pre World War II, stuffed with horsehair and weighed a metric buttload, but it had velvet inside the pockets and it was nice being snuggled into a piece of history. I gave the coat to my dad when I moved to Auckland and he was bound for Mongolia in the winter. He still takes it with him whenever he goes anywhere particularly cold, even though it's probably a good half his baggage allowance...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 746 posts Report Reply

  • philipmatthews,

    When I met Justine (twenty years ago this time next year, in Edinburgh - time flies when you have just constant fun) she used to wear in all kinds of weather and no matter whether indoors or outdoors a green rain jacket that I liked a lot and that I picture every time I hear the Leonard Cohen song.

    But did you ever go clear?

    It was years before I realised Len was talking about this.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2007 • 656 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    But did you ever go clear?

    No, and I have no intention to!

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart,

    Okay, so, I have a lot on my mind clothes-wise right now because I had to skim down to the stuff I would like to take to America. And then the stuff I wanted. And then the stuff I actually needed (and some I wanted which is waiting for Mike to take including my boots which BETTER BE PACKED. Ahem.)

    The stuff I had to leave behind that I'm most sad about? Probably my various scarves, largely collected in Europe two and a half years ago when I found that pashminas were two for five pounds from street vendors in London. I love looking at colours - I used to have all the Resene paint charts up on my bedroom wall, just to look at - and I loved having a rainbow of scarves in my wardrobe, to be carefully chosen out to match whatever I was wearing. Now I have two. But they went to good homes, so I will be content.

    The stuff I got to take I was thrilled about? Mostly my black leather bomber jacket, which my got passed down from my deceased grandfather-in-law (who I never met) to my father-in-law (who it didn't fit) to my husband (who it also didn't fit) and stopped at me, because it doesn't fit brilliantly (right length, far too baggy) but it's warm and leather and has thirty million pockets to put stuff in, a trait sorely lacking in most women's clothing and which I put to excellent use trying to beat the weight limit on the flight over here. It's comfy and sort of cool (which I am usually not) and, did I mention? Enough pockets for everything. Perfect.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • Sarah Horth,

    In 7th form I got a pair of brown flares from my Opa with a matching suit jacket that I didn't usually wear. I wore the hell out of them for the next two years which amused him greatly

    I used to wear old-man pyjama bottoms to school as trou in 6th form (much to the annoyance of my trying-to-be-cool 3rd former sister), but my favorite outfit of all time was a bright yellow 50s sundress that I found at the Sally Army store on Vic Street, Auckland, all those years ago, and I would wear it with my mum's old puffy out petticoats. Sadly lost the dress moving flats years later *sigh*. Hard to find those 50s relics now.

    Seattle • Since Aug 2009 • 44 posts Report Reply

  • Christopher Dempsey,

    A red crushed velvet male 'pillbox' hat I wore during my first year at Varsity - it sounds awful but was really amazing.

    My Clacton and Frinton red shirt bought from their store in Vulcan Lane in late 80s. (they have moved to Santa Monica).

    My brown suede jacket bought from Camden Locks market. My various parts of doc martens.

    Several World man shirts I wear alot.

    Having discovered India Flint's book, I'm working on dyed shirts which shall be new favourites.

    It's such a big subject really... there's lot to mention but like a good Oscar winner I'll sit down now. But that's not to say others mile more erudite and wittier than me should be 'short'.

    Parnell / Tamaki-Auckland… • Since Sep 2008 • 659 posts Report Reply

  • Joanna,

    I used to wear old-man pyjama bottoms to school as trou in 6th form (much to the annoyance of my trying-to-be-cool 3rd former sister),

    I used to wear his old PJs too, which I had assumed were cotton until one night I was making pancakes and leaning over the stove a little too much and the shirt went up in flames. I got it off right quick, but was still annoyed at my flatmates ignoring my screams.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 746 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    When I lived in London, the Kilgour brothers stayed with us during the recording of the The Clean's Vehicle album, and some time later I took possession not only of a copy of Vehicle -- but the t-shirt of the album cover, designed (I think) by Hamish.

    It was a really nice shirt. I wore it till it was almost transparent, and I still have it folded away somewhere, with vague plans to frame it.

    But my main memory of it is wearing it on one of the days when I was doing a story about a movie that Yello were making in Wroclaw, Poland -- at a studio that seemed to be populated by horny-handed aesthetes; men who looked like labourers and worked like artists. (It was also the studio where much of the Hanna-Barbera animated catalogue was produced.)

    I was walking down a corridor when a young man appeared and started pointing at my shirt and jabbering excitedly.

    "Good! Good!" he said, giving me the thumbs up.

    We stood there for a while smiling at each other, but that was the extent of his English, so I never worked out whether he was excited because he was a fan of The Clean, or because he liked Hamish's naive, sort of Cubist painting on sight. Either one might have been true at that place.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Josh Addison,

    Most of the time I'm a man of simple wardrobe, although I did once own a pair of metallic red PVC pants (I knew goths). They were never really me, but damn they were shiny. For a while it was all I could do to not constantly stroke my own thighs whenever I sat down in them.

    Onehunga, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 298 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    I am an entity of simple tastes: I have my silk shirts & jackets & kimono type over-gowns (and I keep 'em all, stroking the ones that no longer fit, just so the long-dead moths know they are loved.) I have my merino jerseys that I bought when I earned over the average wage (my cedar-scrap war against other kinds of moths has been known for sending people* reeling out of the room when they open those drawers.)

    And I have my swannies. They are an extremely practical garment for the wet coast, and I have owned 3 of the classics (with the shoe-lace neck closure) and 3 of the later models (zip fronts) in the 40 years I have been here. They last a while. The classics are all dead and burned: 2 of the others survive (one in my van, one serving as a dressing gown.) I love swannies - they make a little micro-environment just for you to dwell in...

    My swannies & jerseys - like most of my clothes - are sombrely coloured (grey, bush green(swannies only), dark blue, black) because I dont do plaids of bright red or blue.

    But my silks are SPECTACULAR! (tho' there are a couple of special black & white numbers too...) I flaunt in them, butterfly me in moths' clothing-

    *Very close family members only

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Favourite clothes, I've had a few. Shoes, I've never had many. But if I had to pick one of each I would say:

    - black fuckme stilettoes that I owned in my very early 20's, , that were so high I couldn't wear them on the way anywhere, just sitting down at the place where I was

    - my father's wool jersey, which I appropriated after he died, and I wear when I'm cold, or when I miss Dad, or when I need to be woolly.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    which I had assumed were cotton until one night I was making pancakes and leaning over the stove a little too much and the shirt went up in flames

    Cotton actually burns very well, which is why all the kerfuffle with kids' pyjamas being close-fitting. Nylon melts rather than burns, which is a different sort of danger.

    I bought a black velvet jacket from one of the second hand shops in the old James Smiths building for about $20 in 1995 - best cost per wear ratio of any item of clothing I've owned. It still comes out on nights where a bit extra to keep the wind off is required.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    I had some wonderful Wrangler BlueBell jeans a few years ago.

    Then they stopped making them.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Anne M,

    I had a purple silk frock (not a mere dress) that gave me a cleavage that would pop a heterosexual male's eyeballs right out of his head while concealing the flabby bits. It swished, it swooshed, it was gorgeous and so was I when I wore it. It was the only designer piece I have ever (and will ever) owned and it was worth every penny I paid for it.

    Since Nov 2006 • 104 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    even though it's probably a good half his baggage allowance...

    I always wear my heaviest boots and jackets onto the plane. I figure I get an extra couple of kilos in allowance that way.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    The first ever pair of boots I could afford to buy were Robin-Hood- green knee highs with black laces. The soles were repaired many times until the boots finally fell to pieces. More recently I have cherished a pair of square-toed red ankle boots which the nice shoe repairers at the railway station have now told me are beyond hope. I do a lot of walking and my shoes have to be comfortable, and I hate having to say goodbye to them.

    In the green boot days I also used to make all my own clothes and memorable from that time was a full length black wool coat with scarlet lining and a 4-ply chevron-striped twin set. (A twinset was a sleeveless knitted top and matching cardigan usually in pastel colours, which mine was not. There were twinset and pearl girls, with camel hair coats. Not me, though. I think they grew up to be the blonde-bobbed-and-turned-up-collars-of-Fendalton)

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3226 posts Report Reply

  • webweaver,

    OMG where do I begin???

    The 1950s black & white cotton frock I found in an opshop and wore until it fell apart (and which I still have somewhere in the back of my wardrobe) - and the white one with red flowers all over it.

    The purple shot silk ballgown I also found in an opshop, complete with whalebone corset, which I wore on many occasion, appropriate or not, often with a pair of Docs (and which I still have somewhere in the back of my wardrobe).

    The Cat in the Hat long-sleeved green sweatshirt I wore until it fell apart (and which I still have somewhere in the back of my wardrobe).

    The pair of wollen striped black and white leggings that I wore for years when I was a student and resurrected 15 years later when I was working at The Gathering, complete with badly-sewn patches round the bum (and which I still have somewhere in the back of my wardrobe).

    The enormous grey cardi that I knitted myself and which I wore all.the.time for a very long time. It hasn't yet fallen apart (and I still have it somewhere in the back of my wardrobe).

    The yellow sweatshirt and orange long-sleeved T-shirt gifted to me by Love of My Life #2 (he used to wear them) that I wore until they fell apart (and which I still have somewhere in the back of my wardrobe).

    The many pairs of brightly-colored hippy flared pants and tops I wore in my dance party days (and which I still have somewhere in the back of my wardrobe).

    The hand-painted T-shirt with a poem on it in purple and green that my girlfriend Jane wrote and made for me that I wore until it fell apart (and which I still have somewhere in the back of my wardrobe).

    Every pair of Docs I've ever owned, including a couple of velvet pairs and especially my hand-painted ones that I wore until they fell apart (and which I still have somewhere in the back of my wardrobe).

    My green suede high-heeled boots that I wore all through 6th form and University, back in the days when I was conscious about my vertically-challenged stature and was still able to wear high heels without breaking an ankle.

    I think there's a pattern emerging here. I never throw anything away that I've loved and worn until it fell apart.

    These days, for some reason, I have stepped away from the wonderful, original, opshop-sourced, hippy-inspired clothes I used to wear and I seem incapable of dressing in anything other than jeans (short leg Lucky brand Sweet 'n' Low that I buy off ebay) and one or other of my grey or brown T-shirts. And a cardi. I appear to be in (very long) phase of wanting to blend into the background instead of standing out in my peacock clothes. Which makes me sad. I think it must be age. BOOO!

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 332 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    There are superb life stories in EVERY OPSHOP! (in our land, and everywhere else I suspect.)

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    When I was younger I used to wear my Mum's sheepskin lined Leather Flying Jacket*, whenever I could, eventually it was handed down to a nephew, now I wear my Dad's old "trouble up t' mill" flat cloth cap and whatever will fit me that's clean...

    ...speaking of Clean t-shirts, what do ya do with all those old memorabilia shirts: Clean - Boodle, Boodle, Boodle; Rip It Up; Toy Love; Shake!; Chris Knox; Bats; etc...

    *she was the first woman to get her flying licence in Marlborough after the war, mostly flew tiger moths and gliders

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Question for people who like opshop clothes: do you worry about them carrying some karmic essence of the last owner, or is that part of the attraction? I understand that can be a comforting part of clothes inherited from friends or relatives, but I'm uneasy about those from the unknown.

    Also, is is just me who worries about the sorrow and misery that might be sewn into clothes from exploited and unhappy workers? Come to that the animals killed for the boot leather or the silk worms plunged into boiling water and the factory workers who have to pull them out with bare hands. (Or am I being a bit obsessive?)

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3226 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Hilary Stace, as someone who loves insects, I've thought about silk long & hard:
    Hilary Stace-
    *I wouldnt wear ancient silk (produced as you say, and who knows what actual physical material gets into the cloth?)
    *silk moth larva are in a state of 'active hibernation' - their entire being is rearranging itself inside the cocoon
    *silk workers today use ladles (they mostly always did) & gloves-

    boot leather: it is possible to buy boots that are made from humanely-killed animals (some ECCO footwear e.g)

    -The only bits I'd be bothered about with past owners of op-shop clothes etc. dont have to do with karmic essence, but with wart viri et al.

    "Green Tea" is a delight - will be sending an appreciation this coming week- cheers n/n KI

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Islander - thanks for that information, particularly re silk. I went to a silk factory in China in the 1970s and it didn't look like much fun. But I still bought some silk as I really like it.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3226 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    We spent some time in Ouagadougou in Feb-March 1988, soon after Thomas Sankara was assassinated.
    Great city, unhappy time.
    There were trestles of t-shirts on the dusty main street, close to the big police station- t-shirts of Sankara's successor, one-time-friend and then betrayer, President Compaore.
    Not long before we left, I asked one of the men if he had some old stock- of Sankara. With a little smile, he picked up a box of shirts, we went round the corner, and from under the Campaore, he pulled out a thin cotton t-shirt, a picture of Sankara surrounded by the words "Thomas Sankara Comrade Presidente."
    I wore it as a sort of talisman for years, often underneath other shirts for job interviews or travel or really big parties. Recently it caught the eye of a daughter, so it's still around, ripped a bit, worn but still worn.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2110 posts Report Reply

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