(Started Sept. 9, 2005)
IT IS THE CLOTHES THAT MAKE THE MAN
We were looking at pictures of Adam’s first steps a few years ago, when Terry pointed to me in the picture.
“David, you still have that sweater in the closet. Let me tell you something only a friend would say: After 14 years in the closet, that argyle sweater has got to go.”
‘You are not my friend, honey, you are my wife.’ As you might imagine, the conversation went south from there.
To say that I have a love affair with clothes is not quite accurate. It is more like a codependent relationship.
Regardless of how much my friends, even my wife (and best friend), implore me, I cannot break a relationship with clothes until they have gone through the full big-meeting-clothes, regular-work-clothes, at-home-clothes, chores-clothes, painting-clothes de-evolution.
Eventually I might put some Swiss-cheese undershirt in its final resting place unless, of course, I can still use it to wipe my bike after a long ride.
Needless to say, I have a comfortable supply of paint-clothes and Fruit-Of-The-Loom bike rags.
This attachment to clothes began at an early age. Mom would make clothes from Simplicity patterns and double-knit polyester remnants my Dad collected as his job.
I considered these home-made clothes a matter of pride and more than once got violent when someone made some unflattering remark, even if I did look like a combination of John Travolta and Raggedy-Andy.
When I finally left home for college, I also graduated from homemade pants to Levi’s blue jeans, mercifully avoiding the “Jordache Look.”
Between Levi’s and tee shirts, I made it through nine years of college life, where I met Terry, who is, by the way, my best friend.
When we married she put up with my devotion to blue jeans as all brides do, while making preparations for the usual husband fashion make-over.
Preparing for the life of gainful employment and discretionary income did not expand my fashion sense, but did expand my need for a make-over, and I was dragged, kicking and screaming, into the hallowed halls of Brooks Brothers for an interview suit.
Getting a “real job” allowed my best friend and wife to enjoy a field day color coordinating her life-size Ken. In just a few thousand hours shopping at a few hundred stores in just a dozen malls or so, I was endowed with a prudent set of jackets, pants, shirts and ties that could be arranged into billions of unique, coordinated, dressed-for-success outfits.
All the same, as I sat in my office and fiddled with my power tie, I pined for those days when jeans were $13 a pair, and holes in your pants were in fashion.
Speaking of which, these days jean holes ARE in fashion, cleverly making my point that clothes have strong reincarnation potential.
Just like it is unthinkable to bury someone unless you are sure the loved one is dead, it is also unthinkable to throw away clothes until you are sure that they are not the next fashion trend.
Who knows when my knit tie will be the “latest thing” again? How does anyone, even my best friend, know that my size 32 pant days are far behind me?
The argyle sweater in the photo recording Adam’s first steps may yet again play a key role in my life.
In fact, Adam is graduating from college next spring, and you know what, I’ve just decided to pack that argyle sweater to prepare against those crisp Ithaca mornings, regardless of what my best friend says.