And now for part two of the five part nostalgic series on the mainstays of my youth….
2. Starter Jackets
Anybody who grew up in the 90’s knows damn well that “subtle” was not a word in our vocabulary and the only thing louder than the music of Sir Mix-A-Lot and Cypress Hill was the fashion. Case in point: the Starter jacket. It’s one thing to support your favorite team by wearing their merchandise, it is an entirely different ballgame when you brand yourself with an enormous logo and let the entire world know of your fandom. No article of clothing was louder or more flamboyant than the Starter jacket, a grade school mainstay for our generation that made every recess photo look like a Care Bears style rainbow.
Let’s break down some of the Starter jacket’s main attributes beginning first with appearance. Not only did these bad boys look like Joseph’s famed Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat but, more often than not, the most popular Starter jackets didn’t even represent hometown teams. I remember half of the kids in my grade had either a Charlotte Hornets, Phoenix Suns, or Dallas Cowboys jacket and not one of these children could name a player on any three of these franchises. At the height of the jacket’s popularity, the Yankees were in the early years of their four-World Series championship dynasty but did I once see anybody in my New York public school wearing a Bronx Bombers Starter? Nope. Why settle for navy blue and white when you can blind your friends with neon purple and sun-bright orange?
Two of my favorite qualities of the Starter jacket were its storage capabilities and weather resistant design. The rise of Starter coincided with some other trends including the explosion of Nickelodeon Gak onto the youth scene as well as the debut of the satanically dangerous devil sticks. Us kids couldn’t get enough of this shit so, naturally, we had to carry our stuff everywhere we went. Enter the Starter jacket with its cavernous pockets and you were equipped to carry the supplies for an impromptu game of pogs at any time regardless of location. In addition to its immense holding capacity, the Starter was a beast when it came to weathering the elements. Typical winter coats are water-resistant, but I can confidently say that Starter made their product from earthquake, volcano, and AIDS-proof material. The jacket laughed in the face of snowballs and could do more than just survive recess, this baby could make it through a nuclear holocaust.
The loud, colorful, enormous and bulletproof Starter jacket will always hold a special place in my heart and conjure fond memories for young sports fans everywhere. I shed a tear each time I button up my metrosexual pea coat and pine for the days of my bright green Jets Starter.
Log onto the Campus Socialite tomorrow for round three of my five childhood components.