January 12th, 2022 / posted by paularath

This Banana Republic jumpsuit was a gift from my son, Duncan Scott Graham.

Sometimes the story behind a garment is even more precious than the garment itself. That was the case when my 11-year-old son, Duncan Scott Graham, gave me this fabulous jumpsuit for my 40th birthday.

Yes, it is a great jumpsuit, and I am still wearing it 35 years later. And, yes, he bought it with his own money, money that he had earned shooting a TV commercial for HMSA. And, yes, it came from my favorite shop at the time, the original family-owned Banana Republic. (You may remember their Honolulu store pre-GAP corporate purchase; it looked like a little hut in a Banana Republic, with a thatched roof and “family photos.” It was located right here in Ala Moana Center.) The shop appealed to Duncan because he knew he was “made in Lagos, Nigeria,” which he envisioned as a banana republic.

It gets better. A few days after my birthday (another great story, thanks to my fiance at the time, Jerry Mayfield), I received a phone call from a saleswoman at Banana Republic. She was anxious to tell me the story of Duncan shopping for the jumpsuit.

She reported that he came in with a mission, and he was very serious and studious in his approach. He wanted to find exactly the right gift for his mother. He explained that his mother has very particular tastes, but he understood what she liked and he would know it when he saw it. He also explained that he had his own money, and would she accept cash?

She said she followed him all around the shop as he nodded at some garments and asked for them to be put aside. He spent more than an hour making a decision: The khaki jumpsuit it was!

He then said he needed to find a belt to go with it. The saleswoman moved toward the belts, and he said, almost sternly, “No, I don’t need help with that. I know what will work for her.” He chose an asymmetrical dark brown leather belt, explaining that his mother always liked things that were asymmetrical. He said she would like the faux ivory toggle, as long as it was faux ivory. (Sadly the belt hasn’t survived my closets, which are deep in our house in the rainforest.)

This was a visit that the saleswoman has probably never forgotten, and I deeply appreciate her taking the time and effort to share the story with me. Duncan has always understood his mother’s taste better than anyone. He has continued to give me treasured and tasteful gifts right up to the present.

But Duncan himself is the greatest gift of all.

For the story about the sandals, please stay tuned. I promise that blog will be coming tomorrow!

Paula Rath

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