In high school, a kid I knew who had an international upbringing and I became friends. I don’t recall his actual name, but let’s call him Andreas and hope we’re wrong.
Anyway, Andreas was really into post-Police mod style, which included the provocation-intended appropriation of skinhead style as gay style. When I knew this kid, we were to young to really talk about it it in those terms, but oh man, that was his bag.
Anyway, we were pals, picked-on punk-rock buds. At the end of the school year when it had become apparent that I was the school’s punk-rock lightning rod, on the last day of school he gave me his 1980s green-exterior emergency-orange interior polyfill NATO flight jacket.
I wore it as an alternative or complement to my daily leather motorcycle jacket throughout high school and college. While a sophomore, I sewed a round “STIFF records” logo to one shoulder, taken from a tee shirt celebrating the US release of Ian Dury’s immortal “Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll.”
With the help of a high school friend, I silkscreened the logo-of-the-moment for D.O.A. on the back (D.O.A. is a Vancouver BC punk band I still feel unabashed love for). A year or two later, and I had test-stenciled a line of similarly sized round insignia down the other arm. A year or two more, and I sewed the slightly oversized Lousma-Fullerton inaugural STS mission emblem on the opposite shoulder from the Stiff.
More patches and buttons came and went or stayed (such as the 1981 Black Flag patch). After moving to Seattle, The harsh midwestern winter’s need for a winter overcoat was gone, and eventually I stopped wearing it.
I could never easily dispose of it, of course. It is an element of my colors.
Recently, as I have noted here, I began flying a WWI combat sim game called Rise of Flight. I have lots to say about it, but elsewhere.
My rig is in the basement and is often somewhat chilly compared to the warm first floor spaces, and so I have taken to wearing a sweater when I fly the game. Mostly of late it has been an oshkosh zip-front turtleneck cardigan with twill shoulder panels in faded olive intended to refer to the design of UK paratrooper uniforms immediately after WW2.
Tonight, however, I realized that was upstairs and started looking through basement closets for an appropriate sweater.
I came across my NATO polyfill bomber jacket.
After flying it for a couple of hours, I will note that the jacket has the olfactory equivalent of a patina. As well as a kind of patina.