Wednesday, July 15, 2009

"Stylish" Clothing

At a church picnic the other evening, and one of the things that struck me was how "stylish" the clothing of so many of us was, compared to back when I was a kid. We're talking "stylish" informal, shorts and tee shirts and (it was a cool evening) some sweat shirts. But back in the day I would've been wearing blue jeans (probably patched) and an utterly unstylish plaid shirt, not shorts of stylishly voluminous cut and shirt with logo.

Forty years ago, at least in the small town where I grew up, people did not dress for style. They simply did not. The clothes they wore were, for lack of a better word, forgettable.

Forgettable and utterly unstylish. I also remember how my mother used to pick out my clothes without even consulting me as to my likes and dislikes. They paid for it; if it fit, I was going to wear it, and that was that. Nobody in those days thought of consulting kids on which clothes they might prefer. You should just be glad you have a roof over your head.

Even if it was the norm in those days, I think my mother was doing me no favor; and let's not get off into how my folks raised me in general without any real preparation for making my own decisions as an adult. Clothing, the truth is, through most of my young adult years I bought my clothes with little or no regard for whether I liked them. As long as it was serviceable and cheap, as long as it fit, that was enough, never mind if I might have bought clothing I liked better just as cheaply. I was past forty, really, before I got onto the notion of consulting my own likes and dislikes when shopping for clothes.

Of course at the opposite extreme there are those who are slaves to fashion. No danger, though, that I would ever fall into that category. Even though these days I may wear Carhartts and a sweatshirt with manufacturer's logo, inside of me you'll still find that boy who used to dress (like everyone else) in patched no-name jeans and a brown plaid flannel shirt of indifferent cut.

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