Half Empty, Since 1998

Have you noticed an abundance of yellow or gold colored winter jackets? What about North Face fleeces and coats? I’ve started counting both and as soon as I get to 1000, I swear I’m going to shoot myself in the head.

You Wear Northface, Therefore You Suck

Dana J. Robinson. February 21st, 1999

I used to live in a fleece free world. At least, my little world was fleece free and yet somehow I managed to keep warm while walking from class to class on the University of Iowa campus. I wear wool coats, cotton coats, vinyl coats, leather coats…whichever strikes my fancy on any given day. I get by. I stay cozy. I look fashionable…hell, I look pretty damn good most of the time.

I don’t really notice other peoples’ coats. At least, I didn’t until very recently. You see, last season, I did sort of realize that lots of people came back to campus after the holiday break wearing bright yellow coats. However, I didn’t think much of it as I simply chalked it up to being another mainstream fashion trend that would be quickly discarded for next season’s color or style option. (Unfortunately I was wrong. This yellow trend seems to be here for a little while longer than was previously expected.)

I was happy in my little idealized fashion world. In my world, everyone looked good and unique and hip. In my world, no one wore yellow jackets or North Face fleece. In my world, I was alone in my cynicism.

SUDDENLY — this is where you hear the suspenseful music playing leading up to some cataclysmic event — I got a boyfriend and he moved into my apartment.

You’re probably wondering how this relates to North Face fleeces and yellow jackets. It doesn’t directly relate, but here’s how it matters. My boyfriend has this special affliction with North Face. It makes his skin crawl. It makes his blood boil. I think if I were to purchase the hottest, most expensive North Face Gore-Tex parka, equipped for keeping me warm on Mt. Everest, he’d likely break up with me. It wouldn’t matter that I parted ways with approximately $500 to acquire it.

So, his little issues with North Face directly influenced my distaste for all that is not especially unique or fashionable. I wasn’t fond of said fleeces before, and was especially not pleased with the continued yellow jacket trend, so his hatred only added fuel to my fire.

Now, everywhere I look I see yellow coats and jackets and North Face fleeces or parkas. I see North Face backpacks and North Face hats. If I look around long enough, I could see North Face caps, gloves, scarves, and I can only imagine what else this clothing line has to offer.

North Face is everywhere and it scares me. I’ll bet you can even get a yellow North Face jacket if you’ve saved up enough dough.

I guess the company itself doesn’t suck. They probably make a wad of cash selling their goods to socially inept frat boys and the girls who love them.

I also suppose there are some people in this world who buy North Face for its utilitarian value. I mean, the folks who climb Mt. Everest need something to keep them warm up there. But how large of a section of our population is that? The average Kappa Kappa What-have-you probably hasn’t been on a mountain tall enough to require the Gore-Tex. After all, is it possible to successfully tap a keg at those altitudes?

I’d bet the reason people buy so much of this over-priced winter-wear is because they don’t have anything else to spend their daddies’ money on. How else does Average Joe College Student afford this stuff? You can tell who has the rich daddies and who scrapes together enough beer cans after the big party to buy their North Face. The well-to-do folks get to wear the big, puffy coats. Those less fortunate get to wear the flimsy fleeces.

To be fair, I have to include my friend Brock into my rampage on North Face. He owns a navy blue North Face coat. The stitching, oddly enough, is also in navy blue. This is hardly common for North Face gear. People who buy North Face probably want others to know they’re wearing it, therefore usually the stitching is as obvious as possible. I wonder if they make glow-in-the-dark thread for such things?

Brock is a good person. I suppose he didn’t know any better when he bought his North Face. He might have been trying to impress a hottie or maybe he just wanted to keep warm. Whatever the reason, I’ve got to respect a man who buys the only North Face garment on the planet with its logo cleverly disguised.

I don’t know if I have any advice for you if you, too, own a yellow jacket or anything bearing the North Face logo. I mean, you probably saw it in a store, saved up your precious allowance for it, and finally purchased the damn thing. After all that, I’d hardly suggest you trash your North Face for something cooler and more hip. That’d be a waste of coin and I know how precious that is.

I can, however, only hope to save the North Face virgin. If you’ve never owned a yellow jacket…never thought of buying a North Face stocking cap because you couldn’t afford the coat…down own any thing fleece…you can still save yourself from this evil outer-wear empire.

I suggest you buy your coats at a second-hand shop. This helps to ensure originality and a high swank factor, at least in the town you’re currently living in. Also, never buy coats or jackets with logos printed on the outside. You’re in no position to pay a company to do their advertising for them. And above all, always try to buy your winter clothing in colors that stay hip through the years. Winter won’t stop existing so long as you live in a winter-supporting climate, so you’re wasting your money if you’re buying one-hit-wonders in the coat department.

Those are my words of encouragement for those of us left in the world with an ounce of taste. If you find yourself getting weak with lust for anything North Face, contact me. I’ll get you back on the path of the fashionably adept.