Retiring the Grey Sweater

I do so aspire to a fashion sensibility.

Back in April, at a campaign event in Summerside, I snapped a quick photo of Alex Tyrrell, leader of the Green Party of Quebec, wearing a smart black shirt and yellow trousers and I thought “that’s who I want to be.”

Alex Tyrrell and his yellow trousers

But I fear that I don’t have what it takes.

No patience for shopping.

No ability to shop.

Depression-era frugality baked deep into my DNA.

The component parts just aren’t there.

But you know what I can do: retire the grey sweater.

I’ve been wearing this grey particular sweater for a long, long, long time.

Here’s my first recorded photo of it, from June 6, 2006–14 years ago!–a selfie of me and Oliver at Legoland in Denmark:

First photo of me in the grey sweater, 2006

Here it is in our 2014 family Christmas photo, 8 years later:

Our 2014 Family Christmas Photo, with me in grey sweater.

Here’s an appearance it made in 2015, while I was promoting The Old Farmer’s Almanac:

Wearing the grey sweater in 2015, carrying The Old Farmer's Almanac

And two years later, in front of the late, lamented My Plum, My Duck:

Me and Oliver in front of My Plum, My Duck, with me wearing the grey sweater.

It’s a Denver Hayes-brand sweater, which means it came originally from Mark’s Work Wearhouse, which isn’t even called that any longer.

And while it once may have been acceptable attire, I’ve been overlooking the fact that there’s been a hole in one of the underarms for several years, and that there’s been a hole in one of the arms for several months.

While both of these are, technically, darnable, there’s a larger issue that the sweater, due repeated use, has become a formless grey void:

Photo of my retiring grey sweater, laid out bare on the floor of my office.

It’s my very favourite sweater.

It’s comfortable. And familiar. And warm.

But it’s time to say goodbye.

I stopped at KC Clothing this afternoon while I was on my way to a plasma donation and found two new sweaters to replace it.

So that’s what you’ll see me around town in. At least until the snow’s gone and summer sets in.

My frugal DNA won’t allow me to actually throw my faithful grey sweater away, so it will go into the “things to wear while fiberglassing a kayak” section of the closet.

Goodbye old friend.


vbj's picture
vbj on March 6, 2020 - 12:41 Permalink

And yellow pants next?

DONNA GLASS's picture
DONNA GLASS on March 6, 2020 - 12:52 Permalink

I love this post. I think you should throw a sweater retirement party and everyone arrives wearing a piece of clothing that they have held onto too many years. I refer to the sweaters I can not throw away as my "Sentimental Sweaters"
In this blog you mentioned donating plasma and I have been meaning to look into donating for many years now. In my 20's and 30's I donated blood regularly. In 1992 I contracted Hepatitis A while traveling in Central America and I thought my blood donating days were done. After reading you post I contacted the number provided and was informed that I can not only donate plasma, that I can return to donating blood. YAHOO. I would not have known that had your post and was reminded of the reason to donated "GIVE SO MORE WILL LIVE" (taken from an old RED CROSS commerical in the 70's. Thank you

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on March 6, 2020 - 23:38 Permalink

Thank you, Donna.