I’ve been on something of a shopping spree lately. It seems I’ve turned into a clothes horse. Clydesdale, when you look at the sizes.
This happens to me every few years. Truth be told, these are the first new duds I’ve bought in about seven years. I’ve been living mostly in jeans and t-shirts during that time, and while that’s fine, a fellow does need a little diversity in his wardrobe. Shirts with collars, for example.
Just kidding. I owned some nice clothes too. I had suits and jackets and even a couple of tuxedos hanging in the closet. I once was known as something of a snappy dresser.
But, as I said, that was seven or more years ago and you know what happens in seven years: Clothes go out of fashion and what was once the height of style becomes a clown suit. Watch a repeat of Soul Train if you don’t believe me.
And then there’s gravity.
I personally believe I am more susceptible than most to gravitational pull. This is why my body (1.) is sinking slowly toward my feet, (2.) weighs so much and (also) is so hard to drag up the stairs unless I first take a nap in the living room before going to bed.
Anyway, the time came to buy clothes and I discovered a few things.
For example, guys my size have a lot more choices than they used to, and some pretty vivid ones at that. I saw a yellow suit in The Fashion Store For Big And Beastly Men that 20 years ago would have been mistaken for a lost parade balloon. And I saw a striped one that looked like it should have come with a whistle. Then I turned a corner and saw the Hawaiian shirts. Let’s just say it was a good thing I hadn’t eaten.
I tend to be rather conservative in my clothing choices. For this you may credit my mother, who implanted long ago the idea that fashionable clothes were for thin people, not me. I can still remember the heartbreak in her voice when she told the saleslady I needed the “husky” jeans. You would have thought “husky” was another way to say “criminal.”
Years later, I was shopping with a girlfriend and saw a double breasted suit I liked but did not buy. The girlfriend asked why. I told her I could hear my mother’s voice saying “You can’t wear a double-breasted suit. Your butt’s too big.”
The girlfriend thought I was being ridiculous so when we got to my place I had her listen on the extension while I called Mom. “Saw a suit I liked today,” I told Mom. “Double breasted.”
Mom didn’t miss a beat. “You can’t wear a double-breasted,” she announced. And then we heard the sound of the extension phone hitting the floor.
I’ve told the same story to numerous therapists.
But I’m over it now. I go by the maxim learned in Mrs. Grabill’s Latin class: “Vestis virum reddit.” Clothes make the man. When I dress well, I feel good. Powerful. In control. And that’s really what the new clothes are all about – feeling good, powerful and in control.
I even bought a double-breasted blazer.
Don’t tell Mom.
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