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Closures: Specially Designed by Mom

A colleague commented that the brown corduroy jacket I was wearing the other day was “very ’70s.” I braced myself for a wisecrack, something about how that decade represented a low point in fashion, but none came. Yes, I’m a bit sensitive about the jacket. First, because my mother made it for me when I was in high school, around 40 years ago. Second, because I suspect it might look kind of goofy. My mother took a freewheeling approach to sewing patterns, making up new styles and following her imagination. Once, I gave my mother the OK to make me a western shirt because it looked good in the catalog. Her quirky mind went to work and took it further, embroidering the yokes with outlandish designs of cacti and sheriffs’ badges. I wore it to make her happy, but only while I was inside. Despite my corduroy garment’s rugged look, it isn’t exactly a jean jacket. A jean jacket stops at the hips, and this one comes down to my thighs. Maybe I’ve been wrong all these years in calling it a jacket. Perhaps it’s an oversized shirt—except shirts don’t have side pockets, as this does. Considering its pockets and generous lapels, maybe this was my mom’s take on the upper half of a ’70s leisure suit. But if so, why corduroy? I’ve always liked the jacket. I remember wearing it on assignment for my college newspaper in 1978, trying to cultivate an image: The Corduroy Reporter. However, by the ’90s, my jacket, always too homespun to belong to a particular style, became all wrong. Nevertheless, I still liked to wear it every now and then, figuring I could take a little ridicule in order to honor my mother. It’s been 20 years since her passing. There’s a label inside…

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