Members Only

Members Only

Wander through any sizable thrift store and behold a fashion history lesson on every aisle. Somewhere in the store is a rack likely filled with a vast assortment of collarless jackets, complete with ribbed knit cuffs. Style archeologists attest that these were once the trendiest outerwear fashions in existence, a style so exclusive, it was reserved for Members Only.

First introduced overseas in 1975, American shoppers didn’t get a glimpse of Members Only apparel until five years later, when a company called Europe Craft Imports began selling them in the States. Hollywood took notice and shortly thereafter, celebrities started wearing them on some of the more popular television shows of the day.

The first, or at least, the most notable members of the club at the time were Ricky Schroeder of Silver Spoons fame (who had an endless palette of colors in his arsenal) and David Hasselhoff on Knight Rider, who preferred his black leather version of the Members Only jacket. With exposure like that, It wasn’t long before everyone wanted to be part of this exclusive clique and these stylish jackets began flying off of store shelves.

Available in many colors, with black being the favorite, a Member’s Only jacket wasn’t simply worn, but had to be worn correctly or the rest of world would be able to instantly ascertain that you weren’t a “real” member. Preferably, they were worn over a trendy Izod polo shirt which played nice with the collarless jacket design.

But the true test was how you wore your sleeves. Those in the know understood that the only way to correctly wear a Member’s Only jacket was to have the sleeves pushed up to the mid-forearm, locked in place by the elastic cuffs. To do otherwise shouted “imposter” to those more fashionably savvy.

A whole array of styles was made available, from ladies athletic jackets to the bomber jacket variety, but it was the collar-free cotton version that most fondly remember as a true Member’s Only jacket.

In the infamous words of Groucho Marx, “I would never be a member of a club that would have me as a member.” Of course, those words were spoken well before Member’s Only jackets hit the scene. Were he around when they became popular, he surely would have had a change of heart and jumped on the bandwagon. They were simply irresistible.

Were you the proud owner of a Members Only jacket back in the 80s? Do you still have it, or did it eventually make its way to the local thrift store? We hope you’ll take a moment to share all of your thoughts on this unforgettable 80s fashion in our comments section below.

One Response to “Members Only”

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  1. Had two, both light gray…great jackets, want more!

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