My favorite piece of clothing is a large men’s gray cashmere sweater from J. Crew. I’ve worn it so much over the last few years that it is pilling and has a hole in the back—shabby and really not at all chic. It’s the closest thing to a cocoon that I own and the easiest thing to throw on over anything in my closet: sweats, jeans, leather pants, leggings, my bare BUM, whatever.
Despite how dull it sounds, its origin story is a little unusual. It was given to me by a guy I knew for less than twenty-four hours, a New York DJ whose apartment I slept at [though not with him] one night in my second year of college. Still suffering through that phase where staying out ‘til 4 AM seemed to be a social requirement—the ‘right’ thing to do—I had done just that the night before, ending up alone at a club when my shitty excuse for a friend escaped with her latest random, aggressively tattooed crush. I had nowhere to sleep in the city those days, and this DJ—a friend of said-shitty friend—offered my grumpy, delirious self a shelter from a particularly bitter winter night. I’m sure he had other intentions, given some poorly executed light petting, but I was in no mood to roll around with him and his poor taste in music.
I woke up the next morning to find myself in an apartment complete with its own half-pipe and meaningless, but extensive, graffiti covering the walls. I’m sure I thought it was all really fucking cool at the time, but thankfully not enough to stick around. My cheap fur coat was missing and that was much more important than any Avril Lavigne wish fulfillment. Realizing it had been left behind at the club, I decided to venture out and find it—naïve enough not to know this is generally a lost cause. The DJ kindly managed a few grunts about taking a sweater from his closet, and so I selected the cozy-looking gray guy. It should be noted that they were all cashmere. In fact, I’d say I did him a solid by opting for the J. Crew over the Faconnable!
Despite its appeal inside, the sweater was a poor shield from the frigid morning, made worse by my ridiculously off-season outfit from the night before: sheer black tights and an oversized, shimmery t-shirt dress with ankle boots. I distinctly remember thinking, as I neared the club’s entrance in painful daylight, that this was definitely NOT the life. Whoever’s running the show here, though, decided to send a little love in my direction: my coat was there, laid out on a booth (probably teeming with questionable germs) as if it had been waiting patiently for my arrival.
It was a tiny victory amidst some long-in-the-works epiphanies: I was over kissing pseudo-cool strangers and definitely done entertaining any pseudo-friends. I never wore that dress again, and eventually parted with the coat—but the cashmere sweater is an MVP. Comfortable and always kind to this body: a piece with real longevity.