David Trinko: Unique jacket isn’t so unique anymore

There might be a replacement for khaki shorts and funny T-shirts as the most generic clothing for dads.

The sad part is I thought I was unique in wearing it, until my wife pointed out everyone else with one.

I’m talking about my two-tone blue hooded jacket. It has a “blue jay” color on the bottom two-thirds, with a darker navy blue on the shoulders, hood and along the seams on the sides. It’s very lightweight and waterproof, but it insulates well and works well for temperatures between 20 and 60.

I’ve had mine for about two years, and I can wear it for about half the year. As someone who gets warm easily, it’s my go-to jacket, beating out well-insulated winter jackets this time of year.

Well, it was my go-to jacket until my wife started noticing it was several other dads’ go-to jacket too.

It started about two months ago while walking through the grocery store. We turned a corner with our cart, and there he was: A man about my age, wearing the exact same coat. We spoke quickly and jokingly: “I like your coat.” “You’ve got a great sense of style.”

About a month later, while dropping one daughter off at school, we saw the Spanish teacher walking into the building, wearing that same jacket. My daughters already think he and I should be friends because we make similar kinds of jokes and cultural references. Now we’re apparently in the same blue-coat club.

The real topper came about a week ago, when I ducked inside our youngest daughter’s dance class for the “parent watch night.” As I looked out onto the floor to her hip-shaking and quick turns, I couldn’t help but notice the dad in front of me wearing the same jacket.

During a recent trip out of state, I observed at least six other men wearing this jacket. Now that I’m looking for them, I see them everywhere.

At this point, I should clarify my relationship with clothing. It’s all about form and function to me. If it’s comfortable and acceptable, I’m good with it.

I’ve never been a trendsetter. I’m surprisingly happy wearing clothes that would’ve been popular 20 years before I was born. No one’s ever described me as stylish or cool. That’s part of my charm.

Maybe that’s why it throws me off that anyone else would like the same jacket I have. I’ve looked it up, and there are more than 50 color combinations for this particular style. I don’t know why we keep seeing the color combination I have. It’s not as if it’s one solid color, like the solid black jackets that seem to be popular this time of year.

I’m not sure I want to anthropomorphize my jacket the way Adam Sandler once did with his “Red Hooded Sweatshirt” song, but there’s an unusual connection between a man and his outerwear.

When you find something that fits your body and your personality, you grow attached to it. You feel like it’s unique, just like you are.

Then you find so many others are just as unique as you, and it chips away at your identity.

Perhaps it’s time to accept that I’m just like every other dad out there, and that’s OK too, as long as I stay warm and dry, or until my wife finds another jacket that defines me for a few years.


See past columns by David Trinko at LimaOhio.com/tag/trinko.

David Trinko is editor of The Lima News. Reach him at 567-242-0467, by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko.