Thus far, as it pertains to my life, my mom has been wrong about some things and right about others. When I wanted go to overnight Girl Scout camp and she refused to sign the permission slip or fork over the $30 for swim caps and s’mores, standing firm in her belief that if I went, some sort of evil, ambiguous harm would befall me, she was wrong. I would’ve been totally fine. The only thing that may have harmed me would’ve been the crushing load of way more friends.
When I wanted an Adidas jacket, the shiny nylon kind with stripes and toggles – the kind bad kids killed over and popular kids flaunted like engagement rings or master’s degrees, she again refused to humor my desperate need to fit in, this time claiming that said jackets would be out of style by the following winter. And this time, she was right.
Still, I was devastated. My consolation jacket was a little color-block Lands’ End number, all primary reds, yellows and blues. Feminine, no, but timeless – yes, sort of. At least more timeless than a purple parachute with a zipper. Timeless in the sense that I wore it time after time after time… after time. Until the red faded to pink and the yellow was stained with pencil lead and chocolate milk.
To me, my mom’s faith in that jacket, and the enduring nature of the jacket itself, represents the continuous presence the Lands’ End brand had in our unfashionably sturdy lives. Purely a mail-order business at the time, we could dredge the pages of the LE catalog for everything from navy uniform shorts to monogrammed bath towels, modest swimsuits and matching jumpers to be worn for parish directory portraits and again on Christmas. Everything was slightly preppy, somewhat bland and very utilitarian.
And then yesterday happened, and I got a catalog in the mail from Lands’ End Canvas, the updated version of Lands’ End aimed at people my age… people who no doubt grew begrudgingly accustomed to the brand in youth. The pages bear the matted look of an Anthropologie catalog. The clothes are sort of J. Crew-ish, without all of the impractical sequins and satin harem pants thrown in just to keep things interesting. It’s very all-American in a way I’ve come to appreciate as an adult, and the prices won’t make you want to run for the hills, where there are plenty of Wal-Marts (I’m looking at you, J. Crew).
I’ve always wanted to do one of those “look at these things I want to buy” blog posts, but it’s such a silly concept when you consider the fact that right now, in an effort to save for a vacation and pay various overdue bills, we are living hand to mouth (there are free sauce packets in our hands and saltines in our mouths). Why torment myself? Well, simply because I’m that excited to finally come full circle with Lands’ End. To once again understand the simple thrill of a canvas tote, the rough touch of a pique polo. We are at peace, my color-block jacket and me.