Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Wait, wait! Don’t stop reading this!
If you are anything like me (and God help you if you are), then your eyes glaze over when the topic of fashion comes up. For me, it conjures up images of impossibly good-looking people with incredibly stern looks on their faces sauntering up and down a runway while wearing an outfit made of Froot Loops and Turtle Wax, or some such thing. This is NOT about anything like that.
It’s about my own personal fashion, or lack thereof.
You see, I am not a real risk-taker with what I wear. Pretty much, I am a jeans and t-shirt kind of guy. In warm weather I might be a cargo shorts and t-shirt kind of guy, and in cold weather a jeans and sweatshirt kind of guy, but you get the picture. It worked for me when I was 8 years old, and it works for me now at 41.
There are four reasons why I cling to this basic look:
First, I like the way jeans and t-shirts look and feel. They are comfortable, versatile, and appropriate almost any everyday activity, except maybe swimming the English Channel or performing brain surgery. I have separate outfits for those.
Next, jeans and t-shirts are reasonably inexpensive. I can be pretty rough on clothing and go through more than my fair share. Hole in my $7 t-shirt? No big loss. Hole in my Ralph Lauren polo shirt? I’m out $50. Expensive clothing might be fine if I was rich, or a store mannequin, but for who I am, it’s not.
Third, jeans and t-shirts are not age-specific. At 41, I am no kid anymore, but I don’t really feel like an old fuddy-duddy either. Much of the clothing marketed for men these days assumes that you are either 19 or 91. I don’t know exactly HOW a 41 year old guy is supposed to dress in today’s world, but I am fairly certain that jeans that hang to my knees or plaid “slacks” appropriate for shuffleboard are not going to cut it.
Lastly, jeans and t-shirts are easy to shop for. Almost any store that sells clothing sells these items, and usually stocks a wide variety. Shopping is second only to sharpening the blades of a moving lawnmower on my list of least favorite things to do.
I’ve run into trouble recently though. It seems that t-shirt makers are changing the “cut” of t-shirts. The short sleeves now seem to be shorter and are made to hug the biceps tightly. I blame the meatheads on “Jersey Shore” for popularizing this trend of showing off one’s “guns”, a.k.a. upper arm muscles. The trouble is, when looking at a t-shirt in a store, it is hard to tell if it has this musclehugger cut or not. Yes, I could take it into the dressing room and try it on, but that would require asking for help from a sales person, and real guys don’t do that any more than they will stop to ask for directions or slather sunscreen on another guy.
So, I have a whole drawer full of these musclehugger t-shirts that I refuse to wear. As to why I don’t just take them back to the store, see the preceding paragraph.
Now you might be asking yourself, “Why don’t you just wear them?” The answer is simple. I just don’t want to. I hate they way they feel. I hate the way they look. I have no choice in what I have to wear at work, since medical scrubs are the standard for my line of work. I do have a choice for what I wear in my own time, and I’m going wear things that look and feel good to me.
It’s not that my “guns” are low caliber, mind you. I don’t work out or anything, but the nature of my lifestyle is such that my arms are reasonably strong. I just seems silly to me for a middle-aged guy in so-so shape to be walking around like he’s showing off something that, quite frankly, is not really show-offworthy.
I’ve found that there are still a few t-shirt makers who use the traditional cut on t-shirts, but there are strings attached. For the ones I like, it seems their products are apparently made by blind lemurs with substandard IQs, since they shrink and stretch beyond practical wearability after just one laundering. This is not helpful, though they make terrific rags for washing my chariot. The others are t-shirts with pithy slogans such as “Born to Fish, Forced to Work” or images of monster trucks crushing Volvos. That’s not a look I can pull off either.