I'm sitting across from this girl on the bus and I notice her jacket, a cream colored Members Only.
There was something about her, or her outfit or the coat that perplexed me that I couldn't quite put my finger on.
Then it hit me. It was the presence of sincerity. It was the first time since the early 80s (I was alive when Members Only jackets first hit the streets, I had a black one) that I've seen one worn without irony. You seen tedious hipsters in them downtown but it's with the same sort of adopted discard/cool of rejection, aesthetic irony that accompanies the wearing of a Pabst Blue Ribbon ball cap. This was different, this girl a dirty downtown troll. Her ensemble was deliberate and thoughtful in its assembly. Her brown leather boots, her purse and the cream colored Members Only jacket "worked" together.
The other thing I noticed is that I didn't recoil when I saw the jacket. I didn't cringe at the site of what, for a long time, carried the stigma of fashion leper from the 80s. I've done a lot of time shopping and window shopping over the past few weeks and I've seen a lot of jackets that are stylistically similar to the members only in places like Hugo Boss. The nylon cuffs and the goofy things on the shoulders are back if full effect.
It wasn't that long ago when Gweneth Paltrows character in the movie Shallow Hal quips "Is that a Members Only Jacket? What are you, like, the last member?"
Is it possible that the Members Only Jacket had come full circle, back from fashion exile? Risen like some fashion Lazarus to walk the high streets again. Is there a process here that can be articulated, a fashion life-cycle that includes a Promethean rebirth? A 12 stations of the cross of the Members Only Jacket?
Remember, season six of the Sopranos opens with an episode titled "Members Only" in which Tony is shot and has a near death experience. (More references to death and resurrection)
The show's finale also features and ominous character in the final diner scene wearing a members only jacket. The spectre of death. Remember kids, eventually everything, even the reborn, have their end.