Boomers Grew With Their Closets

Mister Boomer’s “closet system” came crashing down this past week in one tremendous snap, crackle, pop event. The plastic clips supporting the wire shelving became brittle over two decades of service, and, combined with the cumulative weight of twenty years of clothing, had sustained all they could stand.

Mister Boomer is not a hoarder, but like many boomers, he never wanted to toss something that still had potential for a useful life. This experience, however, displayed in graphic form that it was time for Mister B to take a look at the collection that filled his closet, and cull the herd lest the replacement shelving also meet an untimely, early demise.

While mulling which garments had won the restocking pool, Mister B came across some of his vintage clothing that harken back to boomer days of yore. One thing became abundantly clear in the light of day, though, and that was that items made in the 1950s and ’60s still held their style and grace, while those of the 1980s and ’90s were totally lame, dude. Those johnny-come-latelys would have to go. Mister B doesn’t have an extensive collection of Boomer Age shirts, but does have a couple of note:

Banded bottom shirt. Mister B has one dating from the late sixties. His circle knew them as “baseball shirts” even though in style they more resembled the shape of Eisenhower jackets than the two-tone long or short sleeve “baseball shirt” that has become so ubiquitous in our casual culture. Mister B picked it up in a vintage shop in the early ’80s when the nostalgia of his 1950s and ’60s upbringing swept over him, but hardly ever wore it because it just wasn’t in the best colors and was not that attractive a garment. Banded bottom shirts first appeared in the late 1950s and had their heyday in the 1960s. After a brief departure they returned for a while in the 1980s in slightly altered form. Mister B plans on returning it from whence it came, and will see if he can sell it at a vintage shop.

Iridescent shirt. Sharkskin fabric, so called because the weaving of contrasting thread colors produced a shimmering, iridescent effect, debuted in the high fashion of the 1950s, particularly for men’s suits and women’s dresses. It attained wide appeal in the 1960s for men’s and women’s clothing, then made its way to ready-to-wear. Mister Boomer once had a sharkskin suit, and loved it (Read: Our Sunday Best for Easter), so the opportunity to obtain a shirt (was it the 1970s or ’80s when he acquired it?) was welcomed. Mister B still likes the sharkskin, so he is unsure of the shirt’s future.

Mister Boomer has previously written about how boomers have witnessed the growth of closet space (Boomers and Closet Space: A Little Dab’ll Do Ya). Little did we know that we would need the expanding closet to hold not only our personal definition of the latest in wearables (adjusted for current body shape, of course), but also for the myriad of items that have made the long, strange trip with us.

For many boomers, value and thrift go hand in hand, so parting is a sweet sorrow we don’t look kindly upon. The older Mister B is getting, the more he finds he’d like to wear the clothing he fondly remembers. Maybe it’s a case of wanting the outside appearance to reflect the inside-his-head age? Who knows … What he needs to figure out now is whether there is enough space to add a freestanding wardrobe in his room.

How about it, boomers? Do you still have clothing remembrances of your salad days? Do they fit and do you wear them? And what does it mean for your closet space?