By Javier Burdette
As we made our way to Pippin Dining Commons a couple weeks ago, my friend, freshman Scottie Cheng, disdainfully observed, “Everyone here owns that same bummy green jacket all the girls in the Bay wear.
Since that moment, my eyes have not been able to unsee the trend. For some reason, its existence has been plaguing me to no end. As I think back to my hometown in the Central Valley, I realize a similar statement could be made with accuracy there.
The bummy green jacket is ubiquitous. In fact, I bet you could take a look in your closet at this very moment and find it hanging there.
I’m going to tell you why it shouldn’t be, but first, I ought to define exactly what it is I’m talking about, to avoid any confusion.
Olive is the choice shade of green for the bummy green jacket owner. Canvas is the choice material. Though it may come in a plethora of variations that include fishtail hems, fur hoods, epaulettes, fuzzy linings and drawstrings, it looks essentially the same in every manifestation.
It’s the kind of thing you’d expect to find hanging on a rack in a military surplus store, and it has none of the swagger of the sweet bomber you’d find hanging right next to it.
Now, I myself have no problem with people wearing something that looks like it was just pulled out of a bin full of other musky, unwanted, old clothes. In fact, I’m a huge advocate of the tastefully ripped pair of blue jeans and the expertly-bleached black T-shirt.
What I do have a problem with is unoriginality and the “follow-the-herd” mentality. Admittedly, being trendy is cool. Being aware and part of the fashion of one’s time is cool. It’s part of what it means to be a member of the youth.
And if, thanks to Kanye West, who I will love forever despite the fact that I had to cover my ears throughout the entirety of his latest album, looking like your clothes have changed hands three times is the “it” thing right now, I’m all for it. But at least throw your own spin on looking like a bum.
Why does the bummy jacket have to be green? Blue, grey, camouflage and tan are all viable candidates capable of achieving that same military look.
Let us not forget that there are plenty of silhouettes in the military jacket arsenal that aren’t getting enough love at the moment. Take for example, the peacoat and the trench coat.
While the mild Southern California winters might not warrant the heavy woolen peacoats adopted by sailors of yore, there are plenty of lighter options that would hit the spot on those days it gets a little too windy during a hike through Aldrich Park.
And sure, the trench coat is kind of hard to pull off if you’re not seventy, but isn’t that what style’s all about? Taking something that doesn’t inherently belong to your times or your culture, and bending it so that it does?
Ladies and gentlemen, this is a call to action. Next winter, do something different. As you stand in the checkout line, that hot new item folded in your arms, take a moment, look around, acknowledge the fact that everyone else in line is holding the same thing, and go put it back where you found it. Then, find something with some actual stylistic merit, something that will contribute to your own personal sense of fashion, and buy that instead.