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  • Felice Cohen

You Wear It Well

Crossing West 42nd Street the other day, a brochure was thrust at me. “Double decker bus ride?” asked a man wearing a jacket with the company’s logo emblazoned on the front.

Mortified, I looked at my friend. “Can you believe that? Did he really think I was a tourist?” Was I wearing a backpack across my chest? A fanny pack and white sneakers? A color other than black?


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We’ve all heard the expression, “clothes make the man,” but aren’t we also told not to judge a book by its cover? Kids are bullied for wearing the wrong clothes. That happened to me. Summer camp, 1982. Girls had teased me because I didn’t own Guess jeans. When I returned home, my grandmother, having heard about Jeansgate, offered to buy me a pair.

“For your birthday,” she said. Nana always gave us checks for our birthdays and they rarely amounted to more than ten dollars.

“It’s okay Nana,” I said, knowing how much Guess jeans cost. “They’re not worth it.”

At that young age, my parents had instilled enough proper values in me that I knew that having a loving grandmother was worth a whole lot more than having the right jeans. Yet here I am, 30 years later, offended that someone misjudged me because of my clothes. Have I forgotten those early childhood lessons? Maybe I’ve just been in NYC too long. I mean, those girls from camp? They were from New York.

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