It occurred to me that I got my well-known Christmas sweater in 1987, and obviously that would be 30 years ago this season. That was the start of my second year on Henchman Street in the North End, of my graduate degree work at Emerson, and of my job at The Tab - and barely more than a year until my coming out. At that time I remember haunting a very small mens boutique in Coolidge Corner called M. Joseph. Over time I got two wonderful summer suits there (one Willi Smith in nearly-sheer blue Indian cotton, the other a white cotton linen blend, each with shoulder pads as befit the era), striped dress shirts, a pale gray sweater vest with silver buttons, and a few other things.
Including this sweater, handmade in Italy. I remember being fascinated with it, especially the buttons and the green yarn; both were practically like malachite. I absolutely loved it and had to have it.
The first day I wore it to the office (see photo at left) it excited a lot of comment, so much so that I made a tag that read "Ask me about my sweater!" The button seen in that photo, though, is another familiar Christmas accessory, my No Fruitcake button. "Want none, have none, not one," I'd always say.
And like all of us with our favorite holiday gear, I trot them both out frequently to almost equal parts of acclaim and derision.