Oi Polloi

The Antiques Clothes Show: Matthew’s Shirt

Published: Fri Jun 26 2015

For this instalment of the Antiques Clothes Show, we’re taking a trip back to the mid-2000s with Inventory's Matthew Klassen and his trusty wool shirt...

Recalling past events, time periods, and former fascinations through an entirely visceral sensory experience is an odd feeling and something I have been susceptible to as far back as I can remember.

A scent, a texture, or an image can send me right back to another time that resides firmly in my memory. For instance, cherry flavored Chapstick always makes me think of Led Zeppelin, simply because of the fact that in high school I must have been using the ubiquitous product during my obligatory Led Zeppelin phase, which is an admittedly odd association I know.

This same heavy dose of nostalgia and recollection strikes me in writing about an article of clothing I have treasured for a long time. Just the feeling of the fabric and fit of the garment is enough to transport me to a place that I can vividly recall.

While I was working at a vintage clothing store roughly a decade ago, one of the first things I picked up, other than a late ‘50s USN-issue pea coat which I cherished and have subsequently almost worn out, is the ‘40s-50s L.L. Bean buffalo plaid shirt shown here. This heavy wool shirt essentially became my uniform in the months that I needed a layer with this much heft and went on for years.

It was usually worn over snap front westerns, olive work shirts, and army fatigue shirts; always with jeans and vintage combat boots. It was basically your average mid-2000s psych-rock look, which happened to be my predominant preoccupation. The Red Cross pin I added has been on the shirt the entire time I’ve had it and I am incredibly impressed with the fact that it hasn’t once fallen off. I should add that it is now integral to the disintegrating buttonhole on which it is attached, with all others featuring a similar method of keeping them functional.

I put this shirt on again prior to writing this, approximating a look that I would have worn in that era, and honestly it doesn’t appear at all different because apparently my closet has not made any substantial shifts in style since those halcyon days of my early 20s.

The immediate associations that strike me while wearing this shirt are having very long hair, an equally unkempt beard and seeing seminal psych rock bands such as Six Organs of Admittance, Psychic Ills, Acid Mothers Temple, Sunn O))), OM and many more live when they came through Vancouver.

All whilst wearing this shirt.

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