A couple of weeks ago, I, along with millions of others around the country, heard the sad news that Erin Moran, who played Joanie Cunningham on “Happy Days,” had passed away.
As a kid, I always looked forward to watching “Happy Days” every Monday night, not only because I loved the stories each week but also because I enjoyed seeing the clothes the actors on the show wore. Despite not growing up (or even being born!) during the 1950s when “Happy Days” took place, just seeing Fonzie wear his leather jacket or Richie and his friends’ wear their letterman sweaters, gave me a sense how empowering clothing is. Every piece we have can evoke a feeling, not only in the person wearing it, but with others who see, touch, or borrow it.
Today, and now a mom of two teenagers, whenever I see a high school student wearing a varsity jacket, I think back to my days as a teenager when it was the highest of honors to wear our boyfriend’s. It meant we were “his” girlfriend, someone special to him, and he wanted the world to know. And those of us who got to wear those varsity jackets were equally as proud.
But what those jocks probably didn’t realize is that there was another reason why we loved wearing their jacket — it smelled just like they did. Clothes involve so much more than only our sense of sight. In a basic sense, clothes cover and protect us from the elements. However, the faint scent of the guy we loved on the inside collar of that good ol’ varsity jacket was what made us go gaga. Clothes also implicate our sense of touch, and we can recall even decades later how the coarse wool, smooth leather sleeves, and silky quilted lining of that jacket felt beneath our fingertips each time we run our hands over similar fabrics.
Nowadays, varsity jackets have lost some of their allure and have been replaced in meaning by the hoodie. Guys giving girls their hoodies, and even girls taking those hoodies for themselves from the guy they like or love, has become so commonplace that there is a movement and, naturally, a hashtag (#TakeHerHoodie) to accompany it. Guys can now seek revenge (wink, wink) on the ladies in their lives who have walked off with their most prized possessions!
What our guys don’t “get” is that we want their stuff — their hoodies, sweatpants, and hats — because those things remind us of them, particularly if we cannot be with them when and as much as we want to. That hoodie is a temporary substitute for feeling their arms and warmth around us, those sweatpants a symbol of how relaxed and comfortable we feel in their presence, and the hat a reminder of how totally down to earth they are and willing to focus their attention on us. Our guys’ clothes make us feel safe because they love us and, more importantly, because we love them. Sharing ourselves with others is what gives us strength.
Clothes connect us to the ones we love — our boyfriends, husbands, mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, cousins, and friends. Whether we are wearing a crisp button-down shirt, hoodie, hat, vintage or contemporary style jewelry like a friendship bracelet, we are no doubt moving one step closer to a place of peacefulness and contentment, especially when time and distance keep us apart from the people we want to be with most. So this Mother’s Day, wrap yourself or someone you love up in the clothing and accessories you adore, knowing “Happy Days” will be here again soon.
Check out our favorite finds just in time for Mother’s Day!