Sartorial Splendor

jeans 0719Once again, a mere 446 days before the general election, we are in the midst of candidate debates for every Democrat on the planet, and once again I am not really paying attention. Except that Trevor Noah once again broadcast live after the debate, as he did the first time, and he couldn’t help but point out that Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren had dressed very similarly, in red blazers over black shirts.

Several other comedians used this as a point of humor as well, and it wasn’t until this morning’s CBS newscast that one of the male anchors thought to point out the obvious: seven other debaters all dressed pretty much like each other as well, in their navy blue suits, white shirts and (mostly) blue ties. But that’s not funny; that’s just business as usual.

In Australia in 2014, a newscaster named Karl Stefanovic announced that he had worn the same suit on-air nearly every day for the previous year, and while many people had felt inclined to comment on his female co-anchor’s wardrobe, not one person had remarked on his outfit.

This is what he said about his experiment: “No one has noticed; no one gives a shit. But women, they wear the wrong colour and they get pulled up. They say the wrong thing and there’s thousands of tweets written about them. Women are judged much more harshly and keenly for what they do, what they say and what they wear.”

And thanks to the comedians, this was proved again just last night.

My mom was in the clothing business, co-owning a children’s clothing store for many years, first with Judy Barry, then with Melva George. So I’m sure there was a period in my life were I was (reasonably) fashionably dressed. (This would have been after the hand-me-down period from my grandpa’s business partner’s son Jimmy, when my pants had stripes running vertically and my shirt stripes were horizontal. I saw that picture just the other day; now I can’t find it.)

But mostly I’ve been quite content in blue jeans and t-shirts. Oh sure, there were the ’70s bell bottoms, but by college I had come to my senses and was wearing regular ol’ boot-cut Levi’s. Then my sister Terri put me in a pair of 501s at some point, and that’s what I’ve worn ever since.

There was the time in childhood when I was going to a movie (back when you went to movee thee-a-ters) and my mom told me I needed to put on nicer shoes, an edict I still don’t understand, because who was going to be looking at my feet in the dark theatre?

And there was the time when my neighbor Reta Calkins gave me t-shirts for my birthday, because I’d made the mistake of wearing my favorite t-shirt, which was full of holes, in front of her.

But generally, I know how to wear clean and presentable clothes. Until recently.

My clothes are still clean, and there may be certain circles where I might be considered trendy, but I have been going around for months in jeans with holes in them, dragging too low on my hips. And I will do something about this, Some Day, but not today.

Part of the problem is that my local clothing sources have gone away. I used to go to Western Wear, where Barbara or Sandy would order me two pairs of 501s if there weren’t any in my size on the shelf. When Western World closed, Paula Swenson started carrying Levi’s at Basics for Men, and even when she was going out of business, she ordered me four pairs of jeans.

But that was apparently awhile ago, because all but two of those have holes in the knee(s). And sometimes the seat, and sometimes the crotch. (Relax; those have gone into my pile to give to one of my many friends named Bob to sell on Ebay to someone looking to be trendy and fashionable.)

In theory, I could get replacement pairs at Gene Taylor’s, but as I mentioned several times this winter, it has become a self-serve store with teenage employees who don’t give a crap about anything that might move them from the front counter. And when I asked one (at the front counter) if the 501s were pre-shrunk, I got a very mumbled “I dunno” before she lost complete interest in me and my shopping needs.

The test would have to be that I buy one pair and find out the hard way whether they’re pre-shrunk or not, because I have been buying pre-shrunk since that first became an option and would have no idea how to size the shrink-to-fit version.

I did give Tractor Supply a try this winter, but they had no Levi’s. They had some other brand that I could have purchased for $10 per pair, and I thought about giving them a try, but they looked very wide and then I realized I was not finding any in my size.

Next up: Murdoch’s, with the complication being that they are in Montrose and I am in Gunnison.

Then I have to be able to hold these pants in place with a belt, and the problem with my current belt is that one notch is too loose, but the next is too tight. I can hold my pants in place but not sit down comfortably, and walk around feeling like my bladder is being pressed upon, or I can feel my pants sliding down and down, and spend every few steps hitching them back up. Or I tighten my belt for walking and then loosen it for sitting.

What I want is one of those click belts, where you’re not locked into arbitrarily-spaced holes. Lynn tried; she ordered one for me. But it wasn’t a belt; it was a belt kit.

It came with a very nice leather strip, and an attractive buckle, in a box with four stupid little pictures on the bottom that were supposed to suffice as the directions. You had to cut the leather yourself (and our leather store has now been replaced by Pat’s Screen Printing, where we — no matter how many times you ask — will not repair your shoe for you, even if it is just a tiny little strap), and then, with the might of Hercules, possibly clamp the buckle into place.

I sent it back and gave them a very angry review on Amazon, disregarding their plea to give them a chance to fix it rather than posting a bad review. (I should have altered my review, because the product parts actually seemed to be of high quality, but I wanted a belt, and they sent a do-it-yourself kit, and this made me mad.)

I managed to find a different company that offered sized belts, called Mission, but the first time I looked, all of their belts were in athletic-team colors with buckles to match. They were a lot uglier than the belt kit. I checked again more recently, and it seems like they now offer some basic color options, but I haven’t taken the time to study it — I’m too busy hitching up my pants.

So please forgive me if I’m looking a bit slovenly these days — it’s not really on purpose, and I promise to get better Some Day. Whatever you do, though, please make sure you’re judging me on the “blue suit standard” for men rather than the “how dare they dress alike” high-bar we all require for women.

I’m with Mac: when I die, just bury me in my jeans.

One thought on “Sartorial Splendor

  1. Thank you for commenting on the candidates’ attire issue. I saw clips of several people commenting on Warren and Klobuchar but nobody commenting on how the men were, and always are, dressed the same. So annoying. And predictable. And annoying.

    Michael got a click belt – 2 of them in fact. I’ll find out from where and send you the link.


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