A Quick Word on Clothing and Fashion

Blog Entries, Essays

Clothing has a way of making me both happy and sad. Obviously, clothing is pretty essential. It covers the basics and protects the body from the elements. That’s the end of the happy part. Clothing also comes with a set of rules for different occasions, and specifically some guidelines for cleaning them. I for one don’t like the maintenance, particularly dry cleaning. The concept bothers me. It’s like having a payment plan for a shirt.

Unfortunately, washing clothes seems to be a necessity. I’ve come to resent laundry because of the precise details required for certain articles of clothing. One thing I always manage to do is shrink my favorite button-down shirts. I usually hang dry my shirts, but there are times when that’s impossible. The result is that I’m always wearing shirts that are either too small on me, or too big because I try to counteract this problem by getting the next size up. Somehow though, the big shirts never shrink down to the size I want them to, no matter how hot the water is in the machine or how intense I set the dryer. I just want a shirt that fits and won’t shrink in the wash. Is that too much to ask?

In general, I like my clothing to be rugged and tough. I’m not much for formal wear; I hate feeling delicate about my clothing. I dislike the fussiness that formal clothing demands when you’re wearing it, sparking such comments as, “I can’t walk outside in the rain! This is a wool suit!” or “I’d rather miss my bus that run in suede shoes.”

I prefer more pragmatic thinking like, “I’m sure this dog poo will come out in the wash.” I have a tendency to feel the exact same way about the formal wear, the only exception being that it sounds more like, “I am quite certain the maid will dispose of the canine fecal matter that has lodged itself upon my cashmere cloak.”

This is unacceptable, as it happens, because the formal clothing is intended to make one presentable. Any smudge or crease ruins the effect. (Of course, all nice clothes must be easy-to-wrinkle for some reason, maybe to demand integrity of the wearer.)

That’s not who I am. I’m not picture perfect all the time, and I don’t need to pretend that I am. I prefer function over fashion, comfort versus style, long life to single use. I want the flexibility to be able to run and jump in anything I wear. What if aliens invade and I need to save an oblivious old lady crossing the street? Will I say, “Let me change out of my suit”? No. I will rescue that old lady by jumping and running and shoving her roughly out of harm’s way.You can’t do that when you’re concerned with how it’ll look or if your pants will rip. That’s why I choose casual attire. Casual to a fault. Oh, yes, I am sometimes forced to dress up when the situation calls for it, but I don’t buy into the nitty gritty. I don’t like it when the clothes take on personalities of their own and it turns out that they’re needy. “Iron me,” they whine. “Wear me with another color.” And occasionally, “Feed me.” It’s so embarrassing, right? You just can’t take them anywhere. And when you have to, it’s either in a garment bag (which I refuse to get on principle) or squashed unceremoniously wherever they’ll fit.

They say that the clothing makes the man, but do they really? If I spend less time deciding what fits with what and how to care for them, I’ll have even more time to grow a beard! Who knew?

If I have to eat these words in a few years when I apply for a job, so be it. Until then, it’s jeans and t-shirt.

“Does this tie make me look self-conscious?”

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