Ever since humankind first had arms and stepped out into a chilly autumn breeze, it has needed jackets. We never, however, needed any of these noughties monstrosities.
Come, let’s take a journey through the coat hooks of yore…
1. The velvet blazer
It was probably in an opulent colour, like forest green or deep purple, and it definitely had badges on the lapels to show what an anarchist you were – a mod target, a tiny Audrey Hepburn and a daffodil pin for Marie Curie Cancer Care. You wore it with your Punkyfish corduroy loon pants, Sketchers, a beanie, and side-eye for anyone who dared rock up to mufti day in a baby pink hoodie.
2. The red military jacket
You’d listened to Up The Bracket at least two and a half times, written Time For Heroes lyrics on your pencil case in Tippex, and cried at the poetic tragedy of Pete and Carl’s friendship. Now you needed The Jacket to make your Libertines fandom complete and official.
Because vintage Scots Guard jackets were pretty hard to come by in Bognor Regis, you bought it on a pilgrimage to Camden market during a family trip to London. It was both the coolest thing you had ever owned, and helpful proof to everyone at school that you'd made it further than Garfunkel's Covent Garden.
3. The pleather biker jacket with the popper at the neck
When did leather jackets all get so boring? Back at the turn of the millennium, anything was possible. Cliff Richard could get to number one with a song about Jesus, Atomic Kitten could swap in Jenny for Kerry mid-harmony without anyone even noticing, and you could have a fake leather jacket in any colour of the rainbow! Including all the best ones: lilac, burgundy or metallic disco blue.
Of course you called it a biker jacket, but it was ‘biker’ to about the same extent you were a ‘biker’ when you passed your cycling proficiency second time. Still though. Until the ‘leather’ started peeling off in the rain, it looked pretty damn sharp.
4. The Kappa zip-up
The sultriest of all the tracksuit tops, this one, because it had naked people silhouetted up the arms. Unfortunately the sultriest tracksuit bottoms weren’t also Kappa, but in fact Adidas poppers (because you could flash some lower calf in them), and so you couldn’t wear the whole set at once.
Instead you teamed your Kappa top with some Jane Norman stonewash bootcuts and a belly chain, in a nod to the sportswear-as-daywear trend that 15 years later would evolve into people wearing Lululemon leggings to board meetings.
5. The army surplus shirt that smelled of (maybe?) war
Another misguided military fashion reference, you wore this over your school uniform by day, and by night with Doc Martens and fishnets you’d laddered yourself with a Body Shop pumice stone. It smelled of damp and musty tarpaulin. It had SEEN things, man.
'Yeah it’s, like, a real army shirt,' you would tell the assembled crowd at the graveyard you used to drink Strongbow in. 'Which is actually an ironic statement as I’m obviously massively against war.' You got your mum to sew a CND peace sign patch on it, to underline the point, and a smiley flower, just to show you still had a fun side.
6. The Afghan coat
You know, the one you copied off Rachel Stevens in the video for that S Club Children in Need single. It was faux fur, faux suede and faux stylish, either black or beige, and if it was really fancy (ie. from Dorothy Perkins rather than the market) it had flowers embroidered up the side.
Of course, it looked less charmingly bohemian once you got the fur cuffs a bit matted with Maccy D’s ketchup, but it still scored many style points over your mate’s Next cagoule. Cheers, Rachel Stevens.
7. The iridescent purple suit jacket
Made out of that stuff – you know, the definitive party fabric of the late 90s/early 00s. It managed to be both stretchy and crunchy at the same time, and looked violet in one direction and indigo in another. It was made into dresses and pedal pushers and cushion covers and, most magnificent of all, trouser suits. If you had one, you were a CLASS ACT in the manner of Posh Spice, Gabrielle or Anna Ryder Richardson off Changing Rooms. The things you would achieve in this trouser suit!
What you actually did achieve was spending a whole birthday disco in a furious strop that your mum wouldn’t let you wear the jacket as fashion intended: with only a bra underneath.
In hindsight, seeing as you were 11, this was maybe fair enough.
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This article originally appeared on The Debrief.