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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Clothes Make the Man

There was one guy in my high school class who was always a sharp dresser. When I saw him at our high school reunion a couple of years ago, he was still a sharp dresser. Nothing flashy, just, I dunno, sharp.

I never cared too much about clothes. Clean T-shirt and socks most everyday, clean jeans every so often. Never understood the suit and tie mentality. When I was working construction, and later as a mechanic, clothes were functional: they protected you from the crap flying in the air at work and from the weather. People who worried about spilling a little soup of their tie were like aliens. I mean, who gives a fuck? I got splashed with concrete yesterday and last week I burned a whole in my shirt, and this numb-nuts is worried about a little soup on his tie? WTF?

It took me a while to figure it out but I eventually caught on. I was helping install a prototype computer thing at a bank one time and we ran into a couple of big-shots in the hall, and I remember being very impressed by the big guy in the impressive suit. Bothered me a bit that I was impressed, but there was no denying it. I was wearing a suit as well (the one and only occasion to the best of my knowledge) and my suit was no match for his. I don't even know what the criteria were.

Now I realize that good quality dress clothes can last a long time, so it's okay to spend some money on them. You are investing in your appearance, which can be a considerable asset when you are dealing with people. However, since you have invested so much money in these fancy duds, every little mishap (like a splash of soup) is cause for concern. For a working guy whose clothes get trashed on a regular basis, the dynamic is a little different. He may spend as much money on clothes, but it is a continuous, normal expense. It is not an investment.

And then there's the whole feeling thing that goes along with nice clothes. You dress up a little bit, you feel better about yourself. But the weird part is that other people feel better when they see you. Well, as long as you are in the same class. Someone from first class, sporting designer duds and real jewelry, coming into a second class part of town, well, they're just trying to make you feel bad.

As for dress clothes being uncomfortable, you can alleviate some of that with the proper fit. The collar on your shirt should not be strangling you, you should be able to turn your head. Men's jackets though, they suck, they restrict your arm movements an unreasonable amount. I think that may be what they are supposed to be. If someone makes one that doesn't, I would like to hear about it.

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