SHARP DRESSED MAN. 08/01/13
I’m just going to sit here for a few seconds while the bass line drills its’ way through your consciousness like the evil brain worm it is. As even a blind man on a speeding horse could tell you, and as I’ve mentioned previously, I don’t exactly go out of my way to look flash. Married parenthood tends to lend itself towards comfort rather more than style. Most new parents have had at least one, if not more favourite or special items of clothing ruined by the actions of their offspring, be it the accidental “spillage” of a newborn, the effects of the drier on a wayward crayon, or one of the more creative acts of a budding artist.
Such situations, plus the fact that what little social interaction as is available is with people in similar circumstances means that practicality wins out every time over style, like the Yankees playing the Peoria Mudhens.
However, my new found singledom has meant that my wardrobe is sadly lacking in modernity, flair, elan and all the things one needs to make that all important first impression. Luckily I am blessed with better friends than I deserve, one of whom offered her services as style guru for a shopping trip that can be best described as a hetero version of “Queer Eye For The Straight Guy”.
I gave my guide free rein, knowing that she would push me beyond my comfort zone without making me wear anything that wouldn’t work, and she delivered in spades, in what can only be regarded as a sartorial equivalent of LPD (Leadership and Personal Development – a core course at my business school). After a quick, and uninspiring sweep of one store we headed out across downtown where I was presented with several stacks of potential purchases. I hadn’t realised just how tiring it is to be constantly changing clothes. All that buttoning, unbuttoning, stepping in and out, pulling on, etc gets tiring, but pays dividends in the end.
There is a great deal of satisfaction to be had from realising that you do indeed fit a size two sizes smaller than you normally wear, or that contrary to what you might have thought, you do look good in a particular colour. As an aside, you will indulge me if I don’t go into the details of my purchases as it will spoil the effect when they finally go public.
Shoes, however, are a different matter. I buy Costco brand sneakers. They’re cheap, durable and comfortable. The closest I have come to buying real shoes in the past seven years is three pairs of brown slip ons, from Costco, of course, that work well either with jeans or khakis, but that’s it. Our last stop of the day was at Nordstrom. Ooh boy! Now I get what all the fuss is about, ladies. I ended up spending only slightly less on three pairs of shoes than I did on all my other clothing combined. The canvas shoes were a must, as I have to have at least one pair I can wear with shorts. The Chukkas are a bit more hipster than I’m used to, but that’s not a very high hurdle to clear. However, the highlight of the evening were a pair of gorgeous brown brogues, wonderfully tooled and with the glow of lovingly maintained antique Walnut furniture.
I spent more on that one pair of shoes than on all my other shoe purchases in the previous decade combined. I kid you not.
Laden down with five bags, we repaired to a restaurant for Happy Hour as a reward for my companions’ display of courage above and beyond the call of duty, and my need to ease the pain of spending the equivalent of a months’ rent in four hours on clothing. Needless to say, an hour and a half later, the restorative effects of a couple of Manhattans and several plates of very tasty sushi revived our flagging spirits for less than the cost of one shoe. Again, money well spent.
Having said all that, I had a fantastic time. I got to spend several hours enjoying the undivided attention of one of my all time favourite people, I underwent a major transformational experience and have given my wardrobe a sorely need update. I wish I’d done this years ago, but at least now I have no excuse not to dress like someone from the 21st Century. Thanks, Sweetie.