Monday, September 26, 2011

My (Lack of) Fashion Sense Has Lasted the Test of Time

My sons once pointed out to me that all the seventh and eighth graders at school wear North Face jackets.  On the surface, it was merely an observational statement on their part, but the tone in their voices suggested that they had already assigned some sort of mystical qualities to the brand name of North Face.  Their minds seemed to jump to the conclusion that the older kids had been endowed with their powers of coolness via their donning of these garments.

My stance is that they are definitely too young to be worried about the brand names of their clothing, especially seeing as they will grow out of whatever it is we buy them within a span of eighteen days, but I wasn’t too worried.  I figured that it is just a natural phase that kids go through during social development.  They identify other (usually older) kids as ideal social role models and try to emulate them.  The most obvious way to do this is to wear similar clothing.

I thought back to my youth and tried to remember moments when I had thought the same way.  However, as I thought, I couldn’t remember any times like that.

On the contrary, my recollection is that I never bought in to any of the myriad fashion trends of my youth.  I never owned an I.O.U. sweatshirt.  I hated the entire look of Z. Cavaricci pants.  Rolled down socks repulsed me.  Nothing was done to my hair to make it looked styled other than…well, nothing was ever done to my hair that wasn’t done by my pillow the night before.

Most of my clothing choices were based entirely on comfort.  If I liked a particular pair of jeans I wore them until the holes were too large for them to be considered proper clothing any longer.  My favorite t-shirts were usually thrown away only after the picture or saying upon them had long faded and even then only after much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

My wife still has to sneak my old t-shirts out in the dead of night and burn them in order to keep me from stating, “This shirt is still good,” as I attempt to venture out into public in a shirt that my nipples can easily be seen through.  And I’m talking on a perfectly warm day.

I can remember the first time I ever even singled out a piece of clothing and decided I wanted it to call my own.  I was in first grade and as I walked through J.C. Penney with my father on the way to an entirely different store I noticed a Masters of the Universe t-shirt, with a large, stiff, iron-on decal on the front and red short sleeves attached to the white trunk of the shirt.  It was the only item of clothing I can recall specifically wanting for the first twelve years of my life and I wore it beneath my school uniform as often as possible.  It wasn’t until I could barely fit it over my growing head a year or two later that I finally gave up trying to drape it over my torso.

It’s no wonder then that I roll my eyes at my sons’ fashion-consciousness.  I didn’t understand it in my peers at their age.  I suppose I will have to defer to my wife on this topic.  I will be no help to my kids as they try to dress cool seeing as, while I write this, I am wearing a worn our pair of jeans and a bright green t-shirt featuring Spider-Man, Wolverine, Thor and the Silver Surfer.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.  I like to think of my look as classic geek chic.

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