Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Vest

I hate The Vest.  There are few things in life I really dislike to the point of using the "H" word, but the vest is one of them.

First off, I should explain The Vest.  Like many Washingtonians, my Grandma has a fleece vest.  I don't even know how many years she's worn the vest.  It's like it's always been.  My Grandma...The Vest.

Being from Washington, fleece is the fashion wear of choice.  It's warm.  It seems to wick the rain.  It's easy to find.  It hides unwanted pounds.  The benefits are countless.

I'll admit, before moving to California I had a red, boxy, unflattering fleece pull-over that was like a security blanket.  No matter what size I was, the fleece covered it.  I could be 40 pounds heavier, wear the fleece and no one knew the difference. The fleece was cozy, and warm, but it was also unflattering, worn and tired. Despite some reservations, I moved it out and surprisingly haven't missed it.

I realize people have favorite clothes they continue to wear despite how they look. I'm sure the What Not To Wear folks would have a heyday in my closet!  There are those favorites that are just so cozy, you can't help but wear at night or when it's cold outside.  I have a pair of awful, yet cozy, black, fleece hammer pant sweats. They are completely unflattering, but on a chilly day, I'll wear them to the gym along with my REI blue mountain socks. I know the combo is a fashion faux pas, but they're comfortable and cozy and nothing else seems to matter.

Like my red fleece pull-over or black hammer pant sweats, my Grandma has a tan, tired, old, worn-out, dingy, boxy, unflattering, did I mention ugly, fleece vest.  She loves this piece of clothing.  She loves that it has "inside" pockets. Inside pockets are the backs of outside pockets that have to have a place to go.  She stashes her phone in her "inside pocket" when she walks with her senior friends.  She wears little angel pins on the collar in memory of family members who have passed away. Along with the vest, she wears a white, long-sleeve, ribbed turtleneck.  She actually owns three identical white turtleneck sweaters.  The white sweaters, along with the fleece vest, a pair of light blue jeans and white Easy Spirits equals "The Uniform."

This photo was taken years ago.  The uniform with a blue ribbed turtleneck.

She's worn this uniform for years and she LOVES it!

Last Christmas when she visited, I took her shopping looking for a replacement vest. We searched high and low from Macy's to Eddie Bauer to JCPenney and beyond, but there was no vest to be found that was roomy enough and met the "inside pocket" criteria.

We did find her a couple new ribbed turtleneck sweaters to offer her some different color options.  I doubt she's ever worn them.  My guess is they are folded beautifully in her drawer along with the MANY other beautifully folded, new sweaters we've tried to introduce into her wardrobe.

Prior to her visit, I called her to let her know I planned to take her to see Andrea Boccelli and Dr. Phil.  We had to discuss wardrobe requirements and ideas. According to the Dr. Phil show guidelines, audience guests were asked not to wear white as it doesn't show up well on camera.  In addition, the fleece vest isn't Andrea Boccelli material, so she needed to bring some more options.

With my mom's help, she packed some very cute dressy clothes.  Thank you mom!  I was secretly hoping "The Vest" wouldn't make the trip down to SoCal, but that was a lot to ask for.

I spoke with my mom the morning of my Grandma's flight.  My mom told me, "She'll be there in her uniform.  She's so excited!"

The Vest was coming back for it's third Christmas in SoCal.


When we picked my Grandma up she was wearing her light blue jeans, white Easy Spirits, white turtleneck and gray coat.

We went out to lunch, stopped by the Goodwill (her favorite place), and then headed home.

She unpacked and settled in.

She then came to me and asked where she had put her vest.

I hadn't seen the vest at this point, and hadn't even missed it.

She searched multiple times through the car and her suitcase, but did not find the beloved vest.

She thought she definitely left the vest hanging in the restroom of the airport.

I called.  No vest.

I didn't want to celebrate the vest's demise, but I strongly feel everything happens for a reason. Just like the time our son spit his pacifier down a flushing toilet and it was bye-bye binky; it was time to break the bond with the vest.  It was meant to be!  The vest was gone.

Sadly, she was torn up about the vest.  A couple times while sitting in the rocker thinking she'd say, "I sure miss my vest."

Poor Grandma, she did love that vest.

When she left I went on a shopping hunt.

I found a PERFECT, new, black, Columbia fleece vest WITH inside pockets.  I took a photo of it; emailed it to my mom.  We had thought we found the PERFECT replacement that my Grandma would love!

I packaged it up and shipped it out.  She would be so surprised!  I was excited!

THEN, I got the call.

My heart sank.

The Seattle airport had found her vest.


I guess the super-cute, black fleece vest I got her will sadly join the bowels of her drawers folded neatly alongside the other perfectly folded new clothing we've all bought her over the years.

The Vest is back.

Do you have a favorite piece of clothing like my Grandma's vest that you know you shouldn't wear, but it just feels too good?

Maybe 2012 is a good year to spruce up the wardrobe and move out those pieces that have served their time.  Let them rest.  Find something cute and flattering and say good-bye to tired and worn.

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