the down vest

image via uniqlo (fall 07 collection)

although quite different from most items in my closet (clothes that can usually be purchased at outdoor stores do not strike a chord with me), i am completely obsessed with down vests. i bought my first one sophomore year of high school and haven't stopped wearing them since. i still have my first white, fleece lined one from the gap, and i don't really care how in or out of style they are, i will continue to wear them. they're washable, warm and perfect for layering. i can wear them on freezing days or over short sleeves on a mildly chilly day. i found a new one for my collection today - a pink jcrew puffer with giant pink tab buttons, which i picked up for $3.50 at the goodwill (score!). while i don't intend to wear them with my pencil skirts jcrew style, they are absolutely perfect for a weekend run to the market or over my workout clothes on the way to the gym (somehow putting a vest on to go out into the cold seems better than a coat post-workout when i'm still sweaty and gross).
usually wearing an item that dates me or my wardrobe is something of which i am terribly afraid, but when everyone is stocking vests from jcrew to REI, ralph lauren to lands end, and burberry to patagonia, i wonder whether the vest has become a timeless favorite (in my closet, at least!). i have an exboyfriend with excellent taste that wore one consistently from patagonia and bought me a patagonia one of my own (a kids one, actually) that is still my favorite. i used to love to snuggle up against the soft squishyness of his vest when he was wearing it. it was warm and comfortable. furthermore, one of my favorite photographs from my childhood (circa 1986) features my dad wearing a down vest with me on a cool new york afternoon in the park. perhaps it's the nostalgia that keeps me coming back for more down vests. either way, fashionable or faux pas, i'm going to keep warm with them again this season!

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