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Someone should've intercepted that fashion fumble

| Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2007

Four days after Bill Cowher resigned as head coach of the Steelers, it's time somebody finally said what we're all thinking: What was up with that sweater?

Known in most circles as the Cosby sweater, it ranks up there with the most hideous of fashion crimes. No white after Labor Day, no miniskirts after 25, and no Cosby sweaters -- ever.

I remember the first time my dad showed up at college wearing a Cosby sweater. His had multi-hued smiley faces intertwined with the ropes of color. It was stomach-churning embarrassing, a raucous refusal to be hip.

Which is why, in one hasty closet grab, Cowher proved to me what volumes of hubbub couldn't: that he needs to spend more time with his family. One look at that beige, saffron and tangerine monstrosity, and his daughters wouldn't have let him out the door.

"Dad, you're wearing what • You're going to be broadcast intergalactically! This announcement is historic! And you want to be immortalized wearing what ?!"

Let's hope the Hall of Fame is kinder to his legacy.

Defined in the Urban Dictionary as "a sweater a senile, colorblind person would pick out," the Cosby sweater actually refers to an uberexpensive Australian brand, Coogi. Google it. They're horredous. And they're upwards of $300. Which simply confuses the point.

Men who have worked hard, achieved a certain level of success and accumulated wealth splurge to look like Cliff Huxtable.

They're so ugly, they've become fashionably ironic. As in, hipsters wear them as conversational pieces.

The Cosby sweater is like the anti-midlife crisis. It says, "I have enough money to look ridiculous and not care."

It's the badge of a family man. It's heterosexual haute couture.

Call it dad duds.

Which is why, over time, the Cosby sweater grew on me. The fact that my dad has such disregard for fashion comforted me. There's nothing threatening about a crafted, cable-knit Cosby sweater.

They may be garish, but they're not grave.

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