Clothes and my relationship with same

red Chucks

Annie from Cottage by the Sea wrote about of my Sunday Stealing response to How often do you buy clothes? I said, “Almost never unless they wear out. My wife buys me clothes because my criterion for ‘worn out’ and hers are not the same.”

Annie noted: “I started laughing so hard at ‘my criterion for worn out and hers are not the same.’ You should write a piece about that!”

I thought the topic was a little narrow. But it got me thinking more broadly about clothes and my relationship with same.

I’ve never cared much about clothes beyond their ability to provide sufficient covering for the particular season. A knit hat for the winter, a cap in the summer. It’d have to be extremely cold to wear a scarf. Conversely, I might wear gloves at 5C/41F, especially if I were riding my  bicycle.

I almost never caed about “style,” in part because, even early on, I thought “fashion” was an artifice. It was also true that as a fat kid, trying on clothes was torturous. “I guess we’ll need a bigger size,” the sales clerk, stating the obvious, would say.

Now, sometimes people would bring me clothes I took a particular liking to. I think one of my sisters got me a couple of Guatamalan work shirts before I went to college, and I wore them until they fell apart.

The noose

I always thought that ties were stupid. A noose; how on the nose is that? My whole nuclear family was down in Charlotte, NC, when I was in my early 20s. My father and I were barely speaking to each other, for reasons. At one of those Olin Mills photo shoots, my father said to my mother, in earshot of me, “Wouldn’t Roger want to put on a tie?” Well, MAYBE, if he had asked me directly, but, under those circumstances, hell no.

In fact, I never even knew how to tie one of those things until I was 44, when a very patient coworker taught me. I was a clip-on guy before then.

My sister Leslie, who lives in Southern California, bought me a pair of white or off-white slacks in the late 1980s. “Don’t they look good?” Well, okay, in SoCal they did, but when I got back to the Northeast, they soon looked gray and dingy. That’s why I always wear pants that are black, dark blue, dark gray, or occasionally brown.

I wore a pair of red Chuck Taylor Converse sneakers for the longest time. They were so much “my brand” that someone got me a Christmas ornament with that design.

During my JEOPARDY warmups in Boston in 1998, I wore the red Chucks, which seemed to fascinate the WTEN Albany cameraman who followed me around. I made the tactical error of changing into new dress shoes for the actual episodes. It was probably a mistake because wearing those hard-soled shoes was exhausting.

My wife tends to buy my shirts from L.L. Bean. (L.L. Bean won me a trip to Barbados.)

To Annie’s point: if the pants are frayed at the end, that’s why God invented scissors. Who would know if there’s a hole in my T-shirt’s armpit if I’m wearing a long-sleeved shirt over ith? And I usually do wear long sleeves, even in summer, because of my vitiligo. Actually, I have capitulated on this point, in deference to not only my wife but my daughter, who has been known to purloin my tees.

Yes, there was a real Vidal Sassoon

The elimination of the ACS would mean the loss of all the data Census used to collect on the long form. A voluntary ACS would actually cost MORE to operate than it does presently.

I was on Facebook recently, and someone, who I believe considers herself a bit of a fashionista, wrote: “Did you have ANY idea Vidal Sassoon was a real person? I did not.” She must be even younger than I thought because that means she never saw this commercial and others like it. This made me feel rather old but also puzzled. I found this list of companies named after people, and Sassoon was not on it; maybe it seemed too obvious. 

At a conference last week, I was talking to some folks about movies. I mentioned how cinematic offerings so often come from another source, such as The Avengers (a couple of no-spoiler reviews here and here, BTW) I said I didn’t know why they bothered to slap the name Dark Shadows on it, since it has such a different feel than the TV show. Both of them expressed shock. I said, “Look it up!” at which point one pulled out his smartphone. “Go to,” I directed. He exclaimed, “Dark Shadows 1966-1971, 30-minute gothic soap opera. I didn’t know they had goth back then!” I just walked away. They must have missed Jonathan Frid’s obit; he originated the character Barnabas Collins in 1967 that Johnny Depp will play in the film.

All the obits for Maurice Sendak mentioned first Where The Wild Things Are; I don’t think I’ve ever read it! Yet I immediately recognize the artwork. I DID watch Really Rosie and saw some of his other work, such as in The New Yorker.

A guy who’s my sister’s friend, and my Facebook friend and real-life acquaintance, lives in the San Diego area. He wrote of Junior Seau, the San Diego Chargers linebacker who committed suicide: “There’s an outpouring of sadness in this city. He was much more than an athlete: his charitable contributions were well-respected. We won’t know what demons were in his life; we’d rather remember the goodness that he radiated, at least in public.” What Jaquandor said, I would echo.

From the Association of Public Data Users:
“The U.S. House of Representatives voted on May 9th to eliminate the American Community Survey. This amendment to the FY2013 Commerce, Justice, Science appropriations bill passed by a vote of 232 to 190. Right before this vote, the House passed the Webster amendment, approved by voice vote and sponsored by Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX), to make a response to the ACS voluntary by prohibiting both the Census Bureau and the Justice Department from using funds to enforce penalties in the Census Act that make survey response mandatory. (The amendment had to be written as a limit on the expenditure of funds in order for it to be ruled “in order” on an appropriations bill.) The outcome of this vote demonstrates the importance of proactivity among data users in conveying their support for the ACS and other surveys to all members of the House and Senate. The Senate is expected to take up the FY2013 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations bill next week.”

The elimination of the ACS, for those who don’t deal with Census data, would mean the loss of all the data Census used to collect on the long-form, discontinued after Census 2000 to make way for the ACS, at Congress’ urging! The ACS has provided data more regularly. A voluntary ACS, because it would involve contacting more households, would actually cost MORE to operate than it does presently, and because of participant bias – i.e., people who like to fill out surveys – would lose its statistical validity. Governments, businesses, and individuals use these data daily, I know from experience.
Evanier notes that on a recent trip how much of it was made possible by technology that didn’t exist a decade or two ago.

In defense of the hoodie

Anyone who knows me well will verify that I care more about function than form or fashion.

There’s been a lot of conversation about “hoodie politics” in the wake of the shooting death of Trayvon Martin a couple of months back. e.g.
Trayvon Martin and Racist Violence in Post-Racial America
Did Occupy co-opt the Million Hoodie March?
Rep. Bobby Rush kicked out of the House for speaking on racial profiling wearing a hoodie, though it’s OK to wear in the New York State Assembly. Did you know Congress considers a hoodie a hat?

Comparative little has been said about the fact that hoodies are really quite functional.

I have a hoodie. It’s green (of course) with gold and white letters from UNC Charlotte, the 49ers. It was given to me by my late, sainted mother, who was no gangbanger, and probably didn’t know what the term meant. She thought it would keep her firstborn warm, and it does.

During that preternaturally mild March 2012, I managed to misplace my knit hats. And I need, NEED a hat to keep warm, with this hairline, which I had since I was in my 20s; that caricature duck was drawn when I was 28. The temperature dropped like a stone late in the month, from highs in the 70sF (low 20s C) to the 30sF (low single digits C), and all I could find were some caps, which would have been inadequate for the task, and my hoodie. So I wore the latter.

Unlike the knit hat, the hoodie also keeps my neck warm, without additional apparel, such as a scarf. Anyone who knows me well will verify that I care more about function than form or fashion. Wearing the hoodie keeps me from shivering. No political agenda; my hoodie is just sheltering from the cold and the wind.

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial