The Archives, Sustainable Closet, In Practice

The Archives: My (Dad's) Army Jacket


One of the most significant things that we can do to reduce clothing waste (which makes up 6.3% of our waste stream) is to simply love, wear, and keep our garments longer.  Check out the Resources page of Fashion Revolution for more incredible facts about textile and apparel waste.  

The Archives is an occasional series meant to celebrate those favorite pieces, the ones that we keep and wear over and over, without hesitation.  The ones that we know we will mend if they fail, and that the ones we worry over losing.


My favorite jacket, my Dad's old army jacket, has worked hard to earn its place as the inaugural item in The Archives series.  Pulling it out of the closet as the leaves start turning never fails to make me happy.

My Dad's old army jacket, which I have been wearing for more than twenty years.

As far as I can recall, it became mine by accident during college; it was one of those items borrowed from my parents' coat closet which never quite made its way back to them.  The late night walks to parties in Madison, Wisconsin were long and cold, and this jacket was perfect because the roomy pockets could hold accessories (my i.d. and my flask come to mind).  At the time, I don't remember feeling that it was fashionable, or that it looked particularly nice with any of my skimpy, sparkly party outfits.  It was warm enough, and anti-establishment enough, to suit me at the time.

Army Jacket Tag

But after college, when there were fewer parties to attend, and when my social life veered more toward brunches and lunches, the jacket remained in heavy rotation.  I started to notice some of its other qualities...the nice heavy layers of material, making it warm and cozy with a comforting weight to it...the drawstring at the waist...the nice sturdy zipper and optional snaps.  It was long enough, and short enough.  It was even machine washable!

So, now I've been wearing it, regularly, for over twenty years, and it was worn by my Dad for at least twenty years prior to that.  The really amazing part is how it also became stylish somewhere along the way.  It regularly draws comments from strangers, which makes me smile, because what I remember about it is Dad working in it while outside in our chilly garage, when I was a little girl.  It no longer fits him, but to this day, it is just the right size for me.