When I was in my early twenties, I brought a pair of camel colored leather pants from a boutique in Los Angeles that cost twice as much as my rent. I loved them. Whenever an opportunity presented itself, I wore them without hesitation. They were beautifully tailored, boot cut, low rise and fit like a glove. One time I even went out to a club sporting my leather pants with a sleeveless t-shirt. They made me feel like a rock star.

I recently ran across a photo of myself in those leather pants and in retrospect I probably wouldn’t use the term “rock star” to describe the look. “Misplaced groupie”, perhaps? Like so many fashion faux pas of my past, it left me asking myself, “What was I thinking?!”

Moments like this have driven me to keep my wardrobe simple. I have looked back on too many photos of myself clad in apparel that made me cringe. I now allow myself a wardrobe that is simple, age appropriate and can fit entirely in my carry on suitcase. I have a classic pair of Levis, black shirts in both long and short sleeve options, a pair of cowboy boots, a pair of sneakers,  and a classic suit that can take me to either a funeral or a wedding. Even though my clothing options are boring and seem to resemble the wardrobe provisions allotted the citizen of a communist county, I find that less is more. Or rather, less is safe. 

Not too long ago, I ran across an article of clothing from my youth that I wasn’t embarrassed to claim I had worn. Tucked at the bottom of a memento box was a t-shirt I hadn’t seen since I was thirteen…

A Good Fit t-shirt logo

As I looked at this relic from a Spirit Day a million years ago, a flood of memories came back to me from my days at Earl Warren Junior High. It amazes me that a simple object from long ago can bring to the surface memories from deep within your conscious. 

I held up the t-shirt to my torso and realized the size wasn’t too far off. I looked at the tag and saw “XL” and wasn’t surprised…

A Good Fit t-shirt size

My Mom subscribed to the philosophy of, “You’ll grow into it.”  As soon as my brother and I entered the beginning stages of puberty, Mom made it her mission to make sure we never outgrew any article of clothing. I was rarely allowed to buy clothes that actually fit me and instead she would say things like, “Why buy a medium when you can buy an extra large and have it forever?”  It sounded like solid advice until you show up for school looking like you had raided a giant’s closet. 

There were a few yearbooks wrapped in the t-shirt that had been unearthed like a time capsule from my adolescence…

A Good Fit yearbooks1

A Good Fit yearbook2

These books, the t-shirt and all of these memories were from a significant time in my life. Our family had moved from rural Nebraska to Solana Beach, California when I was on the cusp of becoming a teenager. The lifestyle on the west coast was wildly different from the world I had come from. Classmates were sunkissed and smelled of the sea from early morning surf rides at Fletcher Cove,  I had three girls in my class named “Summer” and kids seemed to live in flip flops and board shorts. I also had a homeroom teacher named Dr. Himmelsbach and he kept his grandmother’s brain preserved in a jar on his desk; a far cry from my conservative teachers at Holdrege Middle School. I was a foreigner in a new land and I welcomed the unusual experiences laid out before me.

Upon flipping through a few pages of my Eight Grade yearbook I noticed that I wasted little time expressing myself through what I wore. I rocked a Bill Cosby cardigan…

A Good Fit junior high

And I faithfully tight rolled my jeans even though it made my high tops look like they were from the Herman Munster Collection…

A Good Fit junior high2

I’ve decided to put my old Spirit Day t-shirt into the rotation of my bleak wardrobe. Not because it adds some much needed color but rather it reminds me of the joys of youth. A simpler time when expressing who you are didn’t involve an over abundance of self reflection and self doubt. A moment in our lives when we acted on our impulses and didn’t comprehend the notion of making a decision based on other people’s perception of who we are or who we were to become. 

So I have finally grown into that XL t-shirt from junior high and thankfully there is some wiggle room.

A Good Fit current photo

Reflecting on my pre-pubescent memories of life in Southern California I am wondering if my Mom’s steadfast mantra of “You’ll grow into it” really wasn’t about her refusal to buy clothing we would quickly out grow. Perhaps “You’ll grow into it” had more to do with our own skin and less with the clothes on our back.

After all these years, it is finally a good fit.

corky creations

Scott Rager

Robert Scott Rager is a Nebraska native who returned home to start a boutique business called "County Seat Living". His personal goal for "County Seat" is to translate the lifestyle design he was creating in Los Angeles for the past twelve years and apply it to the sensibility of the Great Plains. Whether he's writing about decorating, homemade ice cream, floral creations, event planning or product design, he wants the personality and style of Nebraska to shine bright.