What’s Your Favorite Item of Clothing?

What’s Your Favorite Item of Clothing?

What is your favorite piece of clothing to wear?

How do you feel when you have it on? How do you think it shapes the way that other people see you?

In “Feeling Rich in the Yeezy Gap Jacket,” André Wheeler dons a Kanye West-designed jacket and walks around New York City, taking note of both how he feels in the garment and how others react to it. He writes:

The first thing you realize, when holding the jacket, is that it is more than a jacket. Made in a Chinese factory out of recycled nylon and polyester fill, it’s also a collection of contradictions. Voluminous, but weightless. A puffer coat with no seams. Warm, but lacking buttons, zippers or any type of closure. A Gap jacket that is suddenly a status symbol.

This month, the Round Jacket — the first release from the lucrative, 10-year deal between the rapper-cum-fashion designer Kanye West and the American retailer Gap, which was first announced last year — has finally begun to land in the hands of fans who bought it for $200, through online pre-orders, during the dog days of summer. Available in shiny red, black or electric blue, the jacket is already being peddled on reseller marketplaces for nearly triple its retail price.

But how does it feel to wear such a sought-after fashion oddity on the streets of New York? It was a question I sought to answer over the course of several days in November.

Wearing the item, I learned a few things: Many people recognized the coat. And they wanted to talk about it.

On my first night wearing the jacket, I had only to strut a few blocks in SoHo before running into a one-time Hinge date. We exchanged awkward hellos. Then he stepped back, took in my recycle bin-blue garment and smirked.

“You look rich,” he said and then flitted off. (He texted me later that night after weeks of radio silence.)

The article continues:

After a week of wearing the jacket in public, I’ve come to believe that for consumers, it represents, most importantly, a link to Kanye and his creativity. It is the most democratic and accessible entry into the vision of fashion he has curated and built over the years. Wearing the jacket seemingly transforms you from a plebeian to a shapeless, off-duty celebrity ready for a paparazzi shot. If not visually, at least mentally.

“I thought you were someone famous!” a 16-year-old girl visiting from Pittsburgh with her family told me on the street. I didn’t believe her.

A few days later, walking through my neighborhood in Bed-Stuy, I saw a young man of color wearing the jacket, slinking down the street with confidence. He couldn’t have been any older than 18. He looked famous too.

Students, read the entire article, then tell us:

  • What is your favorite article of clothing that you own? Why do you like it? How does wearing it make you feel?

  • Do you ever wear something that generates a lot of conversation, like Mr. Wheeler’s Yeezy Gap jacket? Do you like to make fashion statements, or do you prefer to keep it simple?

  • What do you think of the Round Jacket, Kanye West’s release with Gap? Mr. Wheeler thinks it represents “a link to Kanye and his creativity.” Do you agree? Are you interested in owning clothes that connect you to the celebrities or artists who inspire you?

  • What do you think your clothing choices say about who you are as a person? What elements of your identity, if any, do you like to express through fashion?

  • If you could own any piece of clothing in the world, regardless of its cost, what would it be? What attracts you to it?

Want more writing prompts? You can find all of our questions in our Student Opinion column. Teachers, check out this guide to learn how you can incorporate them into your classroom.

Students 13 and older in the United States and Britain, and 16 and older elsewhere, are invited to comment. All comments are moderated by the Learning Network staff, but please keep in mind that once your comment is accepted, it will be made public.