Leanne Cloudsdale embarks on a sartorial psychic journey to the heart of the brightly-coloured windbreaker, taking in charity shops, surf movies, JFK and The Wonder Years along the way.
The charity shops of yore were places of stench and frenzy. Back in the ‘90s, second-hand clothes shopping was dog-eat-dog. There were no neatly merchandised rails or contactless payments; you needed sharp elbows and X-ray eyes to fend off all the other chancers inside those filthy, moth-ridden treasure troves. I’ve been traipsing ‘round the chazzers’ since I was about 5, happily being dragged from one to the next with Grandma Sadie. Hours spent on my knees, raking through grotty boxes of other kids’ toys, listening to how she’d sweet-talk the blue rinsed battle-axes on the till to get us access to the ‘staff only’ Narnia out back. What a legend.
Anyway, those foraging skills came in handy when I gave up on grunge (momentarily) after watching a scratchy VHS of Big Wednesday at a classmate’s unauthorised house-party. John Milius’s all-American surfing blockbuster was a bit of a game-changer. I’d gone from drooling over greasy-haired Cuban-heeled shoegazers, to quite fancying a bit of super-suntanned existential beach himbo angst. A technicolour climax, that film kick-started a move towards buying fusty psychedelic bedsheets, swirly pop-art tea caddies and books about 1960s D.I.Y.