Ah, the innocence of youth. I remember it well, in all its various colours and adventures. In particular I remember wearing T-shirts. I resented fashion, and anything to do with the “in crowd”, because that never fitted who I saw myself as. I wasn’t a sheep. I wasn’t a popular kid who needed everything that everyone else had. I made my own statement about who I was, mostly by wearing cheap T-shirts with no branding on them, in defiance of the fashion industry. In fact, that rule still applies most of the time.
However, I found myself looking on YouTube the other night at instructional videos about men’s fashion, and what every self-respecting young man needs in his wardrobe. It was quite an eye-opener. Admittedly the videos were American and were aimed at a slightly different audience, but it still made me sit up and think. There were the different choices of shoes and what they were for, and the importance of matching belts with shoes. There were tips on how to choose a suit jacket that accentuates various features depending on your build, to make you look taller or slimmer or broader. There were various different shirt designs and they explained what the difference was. And what struck me most was that there were no T-shirts. Apparently men don’t wear T-shirts any more. And that’s when something else struck me. I’m 26 years old, running my own business, married, with a child on the way – I’m not a teenager any more, I’m a man.
So yesterday I worked my way through my entire collection of clothes, separating it all out into two piles – clothes that are still fit to be worn and those that needed retiring a few years ago. I dug out all my shirts, which were hidden away in a drawer. Several of them I actually wasn’t too keen on when I wore them back when I was at school, which just shows how old they were (in fact, now that I think about it, they were probably second hand by that point already). Thing is, I work from home, so wearing a suit or even being smart just isn’t necessary. I don’t work in my pyjamas, but you get the picture. Shirts just aren’t an everyday necessity for me. Nevertheless, inspired by the videos I’d seen the night before, I went about refining my wardrobe and pruning away clothes that weren’t doing me any favours.
I also went out and bought myself a couple of new shirts. One is a light grey shirt with a subtle military style to it (with two breast pockets and those shoulder straps), which is nice and comfortable and works well as a casual shirt. The other is a bit smarter, ideal for going out to casual parties and suchlike, and is black with blue and grey vertical stripes. I’m quite pleased with both of those purchases, and I can see myself wearing them both fairly regularly.
You see, my life is a bit backward compared to most people. Most people dress smartly and go to work, and dress down in the evening and at weekends. I hardly leave my study all week, so jeans and T-shirt is usually fine then, which gives me an opportunity to dress up to go out and see people in the evenings and weekends.
So, armed with a couple of new additions and a fresh look on what ‘works’, the hope is that I shall actually look presentable next time you see me. I shall still wear comfy old clothes around the house most of the time, I’m sure, but the plan is that when I go out on the town (or, as the case may be, to church) I will be a little more confident in the way I look. Vain? Not exactly. Just a little less ignorant.