In the early ’80s, when I was growing up in Mahwah, N.J., my younger sister, Terri Berry, had a weekly dance class in New York City. My mother and I would spend the time at Bloomingdale’s. Week after week, I gazed longingly at a pale pink and gray leather motorcycle-style jacket. I don’t think I ever tried it on because it was chained to its rack. I was too shy to ask for it to be unchained. I was also too shy to ask my mother to buy it for me.
A couple of years later, my mother bought me a black leather Bloomie’s jacket that I still have. Even though the oversize, ’80s fit isn’t flattering, I can’t bear to get rid of what was such a prized possession.
The black jacket didn’t cure me of my longing for colorful leather. After the light pink Bloomie’s jacket and before the black Bloomie’s jacket, there was an object of leather lust that I crave just as much now as I did in the ’80s: my friend Jim’s turquoise motorcycle jacket. If I recall correctly, it was a Schott jacket. Bloomie’s just copied motorcycle style but Schott was the real thing. (See below for update on the jacket details!) What could be better than that? Jim let me borrow it once. I begged him to let me keep it but he wasn’t crazy enough to agree to that. I clearly remembered a photo of me wearing that jacket and I’ve been hounding my father, GeorgeB, to scan it for me. He finally found the picture, and when I saw it I nearly passed out. While I had accurately recalled the turquoise jacket and the black-and-white checked leggings I was wearing with it, I didn’t remember that my hair outdid my ‘do here in ’80s-liciousness. Brace yourselves!
I was wearing one of the oversize tops that were popular at the time. That particular one was a white sweatshirt with a black New York-related comic on it. I can’t remember what the comic was, but I thought it was highlarious. Note the collared black shirt underneath. Maybe I’ll luck out and find a photo of me in my favorite purple sweatshirt/red collared shirt combo. Stylin’! Also, as you can see, I wore heavy eye makeup and pale or no lipstick back then. My goal: eyelashes like Liza Minnelli’s. (Decades later, I was less thrilled to hear of a resemblance.)
Last summer, I saw Jim and our mutual friend Matt for the first time in 20 years.
I had dinner with them before they went to … a Tears for Fears concert. It was literally like old times! Though I’m not sure I ever saw Tears for Fears with them back in the day, we did see Depeche Mode, Frankie Goes to Hollywood and — most notoriously — INXS. We three took the train into the city early for INXS because we wanted to do some shopping. While we browsed in Patricia Field‘s boutique, a tall guy with dark curly hair came in, accompanied by an impressively tall gal. “THAT’S MICHAEL HUTCHENCE!” Jim screamed quietly to me and Matt. “That’s not Michael Hutchence!” we scoffed. We teased him about it the rest of the day … until INXS took the stage and lead singer Hutchence appeared wearing the exact same clothes he was wearing when Jim spotted him in Pat Field’s. It was definitely days and possibly weeks before Jim spoke to us again.
Anyway, all of the above is my long-winded explanation of why I really want this jacket.
Or should I keep holding out for turquoise?
UPDATED TO ADD: I sent this post along to Jim and I wasn’t at all surprised to learn that he still has the jacket. But it is not by Schott after all. It is by Chess King! I think that’s even better because NOTHING is more ’80s than Chess King. I’m laughing out loud at the mere thought of Chess King. Fabulous. Naturally, I asked for a photo.
It’s a little worse for wear, Jim reports, but he understandably can’t bear to be parted from it. Too bad, because I still love it!
UPDATED AGAIN TO ADD: Jim is killing me. Just killing me. Look at what else he saved.
At this point, I’m expecting Matt to announce that he has the wine cooler bottles that we hid under a bench when we thought the po-po were coming.