Saturday, January 17, 2009

“Clothes Make the Man.”

"Naked people have little or no impact upon society." Or so sayth Mark Twain.

As time goes by, however, I am getting closer and closer to being a naked man, with the commensurate social impact. I am a guy who, admittedly, at a time in his life was a full-fledged clothes horse. I had a closet of great suits and jackets including three really convincing dinner suits, a wardrobe of custom-made dress shirts and neckties, cravats and bows sufficient to circumnavigate at least a good portion of the Equator. What happened? Priorities, obesity and poverty.

I am now down to four pair of khakis, a few tee-shirts and sport-shirts. I have two decent dress shirts, both with my preferred spread collar, but no ties of sufficient length to produce an appropriately grand full Windsor knot to fill the spaces between those distant points. In addition, it is hard for a really fat guy to get a decently fitting suit off the rack. We are just not cut the way that the mass production suit-makers think we should be.

I, however, am facing two situations that compel me to dress decently again. The first is that I am in the position of applying for conservative, 8:00 to 5:00 work again, and that requires that I turn out splendidly. The second is that I have been watching The Avengers on DVD of late, a program (or programme) that I have loved since childhood, and fundamental to that show is the dashing manner in which John Steed presents himself.

Sadly, I am no Patrick Macnee and I don't have a Halston designing suits for me. And I am on a restrictive budget. So the next step is to do the most with a minimum of resources. To that end, I have found an Eddie Bauer produced black blazer that looks like a fairly forgiving fit. I plan to pair this with a pair of decent quality gray cotton slacks. I have a fine quality Merino wool mock turtleneck that will give me a satisfyingly "James Bond's Fat American Cousin" look, and I can certainly pair it with either the white or the blue dress shirt to good effect. As for the tie, I plan to get a good quality navy polka-dot and a navy and gold rep-stripe in memory of my alma mater.

I have a pair of dark brown jodhpur boots that I can get away with, but black would be better. I recently discovered that my favorite old black dress shoes had completely worn through soles, and they are not of a quality where half-soles are an option, so I may have to look into having them completely re-soled and heeled. Or I may pick up a new pair of jodhpurs in black, which would be quite dashing and John Steed-ish.

That is my plan as of right now. I need, of course, to get a really fine bowler or, better yet, a Coke hat with a fine and tight curl and a whanghee crooked brolly.

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