The Tweets
The Tweets

Entries in Clothes (3)


Nature vs. Nurture vs. Emulation vs. Self Fulfilling Prophecy: Work or Shoot?

Yesterday I spent a good chunk of the day doing something I had been putting off for no clear reason. I digitally archived a bunch of my father's things: old family photos, postcards, curling patches, his obituaries.

Other than the actual work of the archiving itself, the only thing I could think of is that I didn't want to immerse myself in memories of my father, including memories that aren't even mine. I've seen all of these things before, but I don't know if I've actually SEEN them.

The main takeaway from yesterday is just how many weird and random ways I am like my dad, or at the very least how many weird tangents there are. I've already written about the whole wardrobe thing, and looking at old pictures just really brings to light how similar our fashion sense is--if not in actual looks, at least the "level" of casual to formal--but there are even little things here and there that would only catch my eye. The most surprising of which is one of the last real hidden "guilty pleasures" I have: Professional Wrestling.

To this day I still have this fascination with professional wrestling. See, even here I try to carefully word it. I'm a fan. There, I said it. Not of everything, mind you. Just as with any entertainment medium, I like what's good; and cringe at what's bad. The only difference is that this particular form of entertainment comes pre loaded with a ton of judgement and ridicule before you finish the word "wrestling". Think of explaining South Park to people who have only seen the first two episodes--or have only heard the horrible people who quote it ad nauseum--but ten times worse. 

But this is not the place for my defence of Pro Wrestling. That comes in another post, and only when I'm mentally prepared for taunts not heard since high school. What exactly does this have to do with my continuing struggle to understand if I'm emulating my father as some sort of tribute; if these personality traits are genetically passed down; if I have some forgotten memory of spending time bonding over these things; or if I'm just grasping at straws that aren't even there to try to force a connection with a man I can't create new connections with anymore?

(It's not the last one, but I needed to put it there to cover the entire spectrum of possibility; also sorry for the run on sentence to end all run on sentences)

I can't really be sure, and at the end of the day it's probably not even important why or even if these connections exist; just that I know that they do.

Oh, and here's the photo that caused this much longer than anticipated ramble:

For anyone who shares my secret fandom, that kind of says it all, and for those who don't, just trust me on this one (shout out to the top button being buttoned this side of the Pond... that's definitely the insidiest of references).



We've all been that umbrella before

About halfway through my commute home on this rainy Thursday, I noticed a lone umbrella hooked onto one of the horizontal bars of the bus, right near the rear door. Nobody was around it and I started to wonder if it was a forgotten umbrella, but mostly I was curious if anyone else would notice it. A young mother had it pointed out to her by her daughter, but that seemed to be about it. During the next twenty minutes maybe five or six people either stood beside the solitary umbrella, or passed it as they exited the bus at their stop.

Usually I try to be one of the first to get off the bus so I can make the next transfer, but I had become intrigued by the story of this lost umbrella so I decided to hang back to see if anyone else would take notice, and if so, what they would do. As the last of the people got off the bus, headed to their next stop, not one single person gave it more than a cursory glance. It was nice to see that nobody stole the lonely umbrella but nobody really did anything about it at all, either.

I admit it; normally, I would be one of them. I always tell myself that I do the right thing, and hopefully that's true in most cases, but I know that sometimes I'm just so "internal" that I ignore--or rather, choose to ignore--dropped change, abandoned bags and solitary umbrellas. As I got off the bus, rather than rushing to the stop where my transfer was probably just pulling up, I picked up the still damp umbrella and brought it to the driver who was stepping off the bus into the rain to stretch his legs. I actually had to repeat "I think someone left this on the bus" twice before he took the umbrella and thanked me with a bemused, but genuinely grateful look on his face. 

As I made my way downstairs to wait for the next bus, I was reminded of the jacket I left on a bus maybe 6 years ago when I was in too much of a hurry to get home to make sure I had everything with me. I never did check the lost and found; did someone else take the time out of their day to try to return my jacket or did it make its way to the end of the line untouched, or worse (for me) to someone else's home?

Maybe I'm just feeling overly sentimental today, but knowing that not only have I had my own "lost umbrella" but I've actually been the umbrella before too, wonder why it's so hard to break out of your own personal bubble even it it's just to pass something along into somebody else's... especially when I got a warm fuzzy from "doing the right thing."

Oh, and I still made my original transfer, so thanks karma (or something).



To paraphrase Greg Proops...

"I'm straight as an arrow, but make no case for it."

With that out of the way, I'm going to talk about fashion. my personal fashion choices have affected me in some interesting ways over the years. Deep stuff, I know, but when struggling for relevancy, the clothes you wear can help to cut through a lot of the bullshit (if done right).

When I was in school, it would be generous to describe my fashion sense as being "in a growth period." That's not to say that I didn't have strong opinions, but these opinions tended to lean heavily on the sports jersey theme. T-shirts, hockey jerseys, basketball tops, even baseball uniforms all had an important spot in my wardrobe. Thankfully, my small frame and introverted disposition made it painfully obvious that I was not a frat boy wannabe. I just liked sports and what better way to show people what I liked?

As I got older, I started to understand the complicated mistress known as style. I began to incorporate things that I enjoy to this day--vests, both sweater and suit, being chief among them--albeit in a very awkward way. Looking back, it was kind of fitting (pun intended).

Now this is not to say that I am some type of style maven in the present day. I'm just saying that I'm more aware of trends and what I like and I do my best to marry the two into something that is as close to a fabric based representation of who I am.

"Clothes make the man" is a saying that I believe my father subscribed to whole heartedly. I have been fortunate to come across photos of my dad in his youth over the past few years. Taking the decade of the pictures into consideration, my father was always very stylish; more hip in his younger days and more sharp as he got older. Even looking at the labels of his suits, I could tell that he went to the best tailors in town and he took great pride in his appearance. He also understood how to dress for the occasion, whether that occasion was a party, business meeting or a new segment of his life. As he got older and became a father, he settled into a more comfortable, yet still put together look. Maybe he was no longer the best dressed man in the room, but he was still the best dressed man in his immediate social circle.

Starting in my mid twenties, that sensibility started to take over my way of thinking too. It started with almost mindlessly following and copying trends, be it skater culture, veering into hipster-wear or whatever was cool at the time. I rarely would don anything that I personally thought of as cool if it was not generally accepted as hip in the circles I happened to be hanging around in at the time.

Gradually, I started to introduce little personal touches of my own--I won't go so far as to say I was a trend-setter; usually even the first person to do something copied it from someone else outside of their sphere of influence. I like "dressing up," even if I don't have to, and sometimes there needs to be a conscious effort to even throw on a ratty t-shirt after getting home from work.

Because I'm the neurotic nerd that I am, I often find myself thinking that I should have gone more casual, or gussied myself up more. This is less of an occurrence now, but there's always that moment when I look at someone and think, "That's how I should have dressed for this event."

Self esteem issues aside, one of my great challenges is to evolve my style as I get older so that I don't become the 50 year old wearing a sleeveless shirt and backwards baseball cap. I'm trying to cultivate a style that I don't have to change too much to go from "day to evening" so to speak, and I think I'm finally coming close. Of course a lot of that has to do with how much--or little--disposable income I have, but that's another story. Who would've thought that being comfortable in my own skin would be helped by being comfortable in the fabric that covers it?

A younger version of me would have scoffed at the majority of what I just wrote. He never would have seen himself as someone who put this much thought into the clothes on his back. 

But then again, he never thought that he'd get over the Cleveland Indians losing the '97 World Series either.



( does still hurt a little though)