Saturday, May 15, 2010

Jussipaita, jussisukat!

Sitting by the Aurajoki you can observe Finnish fashion--especially the short/long pants that all the men are wearing. One friend calls these shants for short pants. Chris would call them shan'ts since he won't let me buy him a pair.

The spectrum of Finnish men's fashion could be said to extend from the Marimekko vertical striped shirt on the one hand to the jussipaita at the other extreme. Matti told me that when you see a man in a Marimekko shirt you know the wife has done the shopping. Chris has a lovely Marimekko shirt that I bought for him two years ago on our last trip to Finland.

However, when you see a man in a jussipaita you look to see if he is carrying an axe. The jussipaita is the archetypal man's sweater. The distinctive diamond pattern is recreated on hats, bikes, tattoos, you name it.

I wonder if the jussipaita borrows its name from the ur-Finn Jussi Koskela from the book Under the North Star by Vaino Linna. The first line of the novel is, "In the beginning there were the swamp, the hoe---and Jussi.

Chris now has a jussi ensemble; sweater, shirt and hand knit socks. He just needs an axe.

No comments:

Post a Comment