A Fashion Statement From the Sartorially Challenged
Do you have one of these in your closet?
I was part of the Salt Lake City Olympic beret mania that had the country in a lather that Utah February just six years ago. I was able to attend the games thanks to a plum work assignment and the fine folks at Coca-Cola who, for whatever misguided reason, thought that having the WKTI morning show at the Winter Olympics would somehow enliven the proceedings. I don't know if Coke got their money's worth, but we sure enjoyed the chance to see events up-close-and-personal. And, we got to witness some historically long lines at various venues--all of them selling the beret you see above. I don't remember how I was able to get my hands on some, but I did, and I parsed them out like bricks of gold to select relatives and friends.
Here are are, six years later. It's winter, 2008. Prime beret-wearing weather, doncha think? And, what did I find today atop a closet shelf at home?
There it sits, alone and forgotten on a day when it would sure do someone's head a lot of good. Then again, what kind of looks do you think I'd generate if I sported this snappy little chapeau atop my gray noggin as I bought a 12 pack at the local liquor store or swung through the neighborhood garage for an oil change? How long would it take before someone would crack off the line, "Hey, 2002 called and it wants it's ugly-assed hat back!".
I didn't think the berets were all that cool, even when they were. Then again, people who I didn't even think owned a hat were all over me six years ago, begging me to bring them one back upon my return from the games. Women and children, sure, but even MEN were pressing money into my hands, apologetically asking if I could be their beret mule. And these weren't guys looking to snag one to impress their women-folk. These were men who wanted a beret for themselves.
Not that there's anything wrong with that.
The berets became cool not because they were exceptionally snappy or neat or fashioinable. They were cool because they were...hot. In demand, and in short supply. Having one meant you were either a) on the Olympic team b) close to someone who was c) in Utah with inside access or d) really well-connected.
Another freshly hot hand fell into my hands the other day. You might've heard that these bad boys are all the rage among Packers fans...
Nice hat. Nothing exceptional. Looks like something you'd see on any ol' guy as he was farting around with jumper cables on a cold January morning or chipping ice off any suburban sidewalk.
Think again. For whatever reason, the above knit hat can't be found anywhere. The vanish within moments of their arrival at local stores. You can order them online, but you probably won't get one until hh, probably July, when you can rest assured you'll be the only guy wearing one at the fireworks.
A friend with connections had a bag full of them the other day, and offered me one at retail price--not bad, considering they're going for scads more on E-Bay. I pounced on his generosity, and proudly wore my new souvenir around town. People looked at me as though I was carrying the Vince Lombardi Trophy atop my melon. I was, for a brief shining moment....fashionable.
Check back with me, say, in 2014 and remind me to check that closet shelf. Fashion being what it is, I wonder if this...
...will be keeping this...
...company six winters from now.