do you remember "happy green sweater day"?
3 min read

do you remember "happy green sweater day"?

it was 1998, my freshman year of college, so you would have been just a baby, talula, if even alive at all.

i did a lot of thrift store shopping in high school. like a lot a lot... and i had a thing for green sweaters. loved all variety of green sweaters. wool ones, cotton ones, acrylics, blends, pullovers, cardigans, one with frogs, one with whales, all shades of green... oh my god there are so many... the brighter, the bolder, the better. not only did i love the color green, it paired easily with plaids from the 70s, which my friend and i were fond of at the time.

the salvation army didn't have a large selection of women's bell bottoms, but they did have racks upon racks of old men's plaid pants from the 70s in the most amazing color combinations. and though i was petite in stature, that didn't stop me from sporting some dead grandpa's beer-belly-gut-sized golf trousers to biology class. with a cute belt. and a green sweater.

when i got to college, they became "happy green sweaters."

i packed as many green sweaters as i could and they were the foundation of my first wardrobe choices for college. green sweater, over a polyester shirt with a loud print, a pair of equally loud plaid pants, birkenstock sandals (no, no socks... come on...), my classic ll bean backpack and the knight rider lunch box i carried as a purse. this was my signal to the other wierdos at college that i was awesome and we should hang out.

it worked.

there was a big group of friends in the music and theater departments and within a few days of the start of the semester, i started hanging out with them. one day, i think at lunch, someone complimented me on my sweater and told me "your sweaters always make me so happy. they're all different but they're all happy... like happy, green sweaters." and for the next while, we all celebrated my happy green sweater of the day. sometimes, other people would wear their green sweaters and somehow the idea to all do it on the same day and have a "happy green sweater day" came about... and then i was bringing all my sweaters to the hill where we hung out and people who didn't own a happy green sweater were putting them on and then we somehow got everyone together for a picture (this was 1998, no selfies yet...) and we really did have a happy day. we shared joy in something simple - a color - for a simple reason - because it made us smile.

green still makes me smile.

i just bought another green fleece today.

when i lived in the city, i only bought black. or very dark grey. cuz that's what you do in the city. that's the color. black. so i bought black. i wore black. i loved black. i thought my heart was black. i smoked cigarettes so my lungs were black. black was dark. black was dangerous. black was unknown. undefined. so was i. so i wore black.

but black fades. and since there's no such thing as black dye, all blacks fade differently. so faded black jeans with a faded black acrylic sweater and a faded black knit tank top can look like a sad mixed-up mess.

you know what happens when you mix shades of green?


there are so many shades of green - infinite shades, really. it's nature's color. green is all around us and we are accustomed to seeing it in all variations at the same time. we see it in forests, in gardens, in our food. the green part of the visible light spectrum connects to something positive in our brains.

talula, you weren't something positive in my brain. i don't know what color you are in real life, but in our mri, you're the big part in the middle that's black.

i still love wearing the color black, but i've been buying more green clothing than ever. this season is all about green for me. new green fleece today in a different shade of green than the last one. new green puffy winter coat. green sweat pants. green hat. green gloves.

i wear them together. different combos. there are infinite permutations of this perfect palette. and this winter, i'm going to find joy in as many as i can. because simple ol' green still makes me smile.


Group of 12 smiling college students in green sweaters, on a green lawn with green shrubs behind them.
happy green sweater day, fall 1998