Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Man in Grey

Fashion sense has escaped me for most…okay, all of my life. My mother still yells at my father from time to time over a time when she returned home and found me playing along the side of the house. That day, she was met with the disastrous results of my father’s decision to let me dress myself. I had matched red, white and blue plaid pants with a green striped shirt. I think I was about fourteen.

I’m no contributor, or reader, of GQ, Cosmopolitan or any other magazine that is even remotely cognizant of current fashion trends. Recently, I decided to shave my head since I was never really combing my hair anyway. One of my least favorite things about going into high school was the necessity to try and match outfits on a daily basis. I sorely missed my elementary school uniform. Had I not attended a single sex high school where very few other attendees gave a crap about their appearance (and the ones that did kept it quiet for fear of ridicule), I would have surely been eating at the nerd table at lunch. I did this anyway, but at least it was my choice (it felt empowering). In a non-fashion conscious environment, I was able to blend in.

My lifetime history of fashion faux pas aside, I no longer dress myself as randomly as my childhood exploits might suggest. My height makes it difficult to find anything in my size and that, in turn, has made me far more selective when purchasing clothes. Though I stick with relatively neutral colors, I try to have a variety to my shirts and pants. Wearing mostly jeans, I even stagger the finish on them. My strictly stone-washed days are well in the past.

While my wardrobe selection is more dynamic and I’m better at matching than I used to be, I still have very few rules when it comes to how I dress. Accessories are beyond the scope of my radar. Shoes are not something I even begin to think about matching except to each other. I have a brown belt and another brown belt. I wear a jacket based on weather, not upon what color or style it is.

We could spend all day talking about the multitude of fashion rules I choose not to adhere to. Instead, allow me to share one of the arbitrary rules I follow. There is a color I avoid whenever possible. I don’t like black. I shouldn’t say I don’t like it. It’s a fine color. Black is a great color for plenty of things. I prefer it for cars, album covers, flat piano keys, panthers (thought pink is also acceptable), super villain outfits and ninjas. Just not my clothing.

I mentioned my height. Were you paying attention? As tall as I am, wearing black causes me to look like the monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey. I’m not a big fan of attention. Thus, having people stop and stare at me on the street, reaching out their hands to touch my flat, shiny surface, curious yet frightened, in hopes that their intelligence might be suddenly augmented by such contact, is not for me.

Not wearing black proves frustrating. Not because I want to dress like Johnny Cash all the time. Not because I have secretly always wanted to adopt the Goth look or become an anarchist (I wouldn’t look right with a nose ring either, which also throws a wrench in both of those lifestyle options). Not even because I dislike displaying my sullen mood to the rest of the world, in hopes that it might spread, via my t-shirt color (I love doing that).

The most frustrating thing about not liking black when selecting clothes is that it limits my selection of t-shirts. This blog is my second favorite method of expressing myself. Mass produced, preferably ironic, Star Wars or Marvel themed t-shirts are my first.

Alas, it seems that every time I find a design I really identify with, it is printed on a black shirt. Perhaps it’s due to black’s mythical slimming properties. I suppose the t-shirts I tend to want would also attract the eye of those who sit in their basement in front of the light of their computer screens, consuming a diet of mostly potato chips and Diet Coke. Maybe they like to try to veil their man breasts under a thin layer of black cotton/polyester blend. Little do many of them realize how starkly these shirts contrast with their sun-deprived complexions.

Please, all you producers of cool, geeky t-shirts out there, print those shirts in some alternate colors. I want to show the world how much I love Star Wars as much as the next nerd. I would just prefer to do it via a grey background. I’ll even compromise with charcoal, but that’s as dark as I’m going.

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