Everyone has that one item in their closet that they consider to be lucky. It may be a hat, a pair of shorts, a sweater or even that gold necklace you bought at a street fair because it had your name on it. (Wait, that was Carrie Bradshaw.) My point is you have a lucky…something. It’s OK to admit it; you’re not alone. Michael Jordan wore his UNC shorts under his Chicago Bulls uniform during every game of his career. Colin Farrell has a belt that was given to him by his father. Audrey Hepburn had a lucky dress and even Steven Tyler of Aerosmith never leaves home without his necklace that has four teeth of a raccoon he caught when he was a kid. (Hey, no judgement!)
My own family has its share of special items. My oldest hangs onto the pair of shoes he wore when he met Michael Jordan. My youngest is attached to a pair of striped socks that he claims makes him look like Doctor Who, but I had the holy grail of lucky clothing: a 1984 Van Halen Tour of the World baseball jersey.
The story of how I ended up with it is truly unremarkable. I traded a homemade tape of Def Leppard’s Pyromania album for the shirt when I was 13 and I wore it until you could actually see my shoulders through the fabric. (Can I just say, that for an over-priced tour shirt, the thing was made of exceptional quality?) While I’m always puzzled as to how an ordinary piece of attire gains its magical properties, make no mistake about it; this shirt was extraordinary. I kissed my first love in that shirt. I took it to the hospital when I had my youngest child. I wore it when I went back to school at the age of 30. You get the idea. It was more than a lucky shirt, it was the fried chicken and mashed potatoes of fashion…it was my COMFORT CLOTHING.
And then I lost it. Its luck ran out. It wasn’t my fault. God knows I tried to get rid of it several times once it began to look like a piece of road kill, but in the end I couldn’t do it. I would feel nostalgic, sentimental or hear the song “Jump” and I would dig it out of the trash, donation box or garage sale pile and tuck it back into my drawer. However, there came a day when, like a fool, I decided to retire it. I carefully washed my precious jersey, folded it with several other shirts that had untold emotional value to me, put them in a zippered bag and placed them in storage. I never saw it again. I suspect that my family is responsible for shirts’ disappearance, inadvertently throwing them out like they were ordinary articles of clothing. (All parties have denied this allegation and results of a lie detector yielded inconclusive results.)
A few months ago, I decided to replace the shirt. I figured I would feel slightly more complete for having it. Little did I know, it’s apparently a rare and very valuable style that goes for as much as $200 on eBay. If I had known that, perhaps I wouldn’t have painted the bathroom while wearing mine. Just when I thought I was sunk, my family took pity on me, found someone willing to part with one for $50 and gave it to me for my birthday in hopes that it would make me happy and that I will stop plotting their murders in my sleep.
It’s truly a great shirt. Soft, comfortable and makes me feel like a teenager again. However, it’s not the shirt and no matter how I try, I can’t infuse old memories into a new vintage item. All I can do is wear it, rock on and make new ones.