The Red Hoodie Redux

Today’s NaBloPoMo prompt asks us to write about our favorite article of clothing for twenty minutes. I may revisit that idea at some point this month; however, my first thought was a post I wrote for Off the Deep End, published January 25, 2012. I know, I know, recycling isn’t the name of the game, but apparently it’s National BFF Day, and my bestie posted a picture of us from the era of the red hoodie, and I’m nostalgia-ing. I’m almost certain there will be some formatting issues, as I copy/pastaed and it looks a little odd on my iPhone, but it’s a slow night at work. I had to do something, you know? 


 Twenty years ago, give or take a few days, something very special came into my life. It was…dun dun dun…the red hoodie! It was a red hooded sweatshirt with a kangaroo pocket and ‘Venezia’ emblazoned in white across the front. This magical item of clothing joined me after one glorious school clothes shopping trip. From the first moment, we were inseparable.

This was a couple of years before baja hoodies came into their own at my high school, so I was not exactly stylish, but I was visible. Nobody else had a bright red hoodie, and I was one of the tallest girls in school. I wore it in winter. I wore it in summer. I wore it in spring and fall. I slept in the darn thing sometimes. I loved that hoodie.

The red hoodie was also well traveled. It went on the Dumbo ride at Disney World with my little brother. It went to Michigan to visit my dad, and it went to Colorado when he moved there. Colorado was where we had a little mishap with some green paint, and from then on, my red hoodie had a bit of green decoration on the hem in the back and on the pocket in the front.

But we kept on trucking.

When I started taking road trips to meet my Internet friends in my late teens and early twenties, my red hoodie was a staple. We went to Virginia, Missouri, and California. We spent weeks in Yellowknife and Edmonton. We clocked a lot of hours together.

The red hoodie meant comfort to me. It was warm and cozy and familiar. If I was sad or lonely, I could throw on the red hoodie and curl up with a book or a movie or a bowl of ice cream and just feel better.

As I got older, of course my style changed, but the red hoodie was always there. Probably not in my closet, but usually in a laundry basket or thrown over the arm of the couch.

I’ve gone through a lot of changes in my life, but the red hoodie stayed the same. A little more faded, the logo a little more cracked, maybe a little more threadbare, but always there.

And then it was time to say goodbye.

Every year I go through my wardrobe two or three times, purging the things I no longer wear and making a trip to the donation bin. Last year, the red hoodie and I took our last trip together. It was time. I was finally ready to say goodbye to the life I’d led for so long, and say hello to my new life. In a way, saying goodbye to the red hoodie was like saying goodbye to frivolous childhood, and greeting serious business adulthood, with all the trials and tribulations that entails.

I like to think that somewhere, someone else is out having grand adventures in the red hoodie. Maybe it’s keeping somebody warm tonight. Maybe it’s on the back of somebody’s couch, waiting to welcome them home.

Have you ever had an item of clothing that came to mean way more to you than any other? Maybe something that came to represent everything that made you you? Do you still have it? Tell me about it!

The best part is that I missed that hoodie for years, off and on; sometimes piercingly, sometimes briefly, sometimes far too deeply. But I don’t anymore. It isn’t simply not missing the hoodie; it’s more an emotional outgrowing of a security blanket. And I like that feeling. It feels happy. It feels warm and cozy and, well, secure.

2 Comments on “The Red Hoodie Redux”

  1. susieshy45 says:

    In a way, it was a catharsis – giving up that hoodie. I find it sad in a way that you had to give it up but happy that you are in a new phase of your life.
    You do write well.
    God bless !

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