Monday, 4 July 2011

Wardrobe Malfunction

I can't remember the last time I had to pay for any clothes other than my smalls.

Nearly 20 years working at a record shop and its skateboarding subsidiary, meant one way and another, lots of freebie clothes.

From the skate side, slightly shop-soiled shorts, skater jeans, hoodies and Ts. Things like where the stitching on a jeans pocket was slightly awry. I got free trainers too, including the odd Nike or Vans limited edition that we were involved in designing. I even got a pair of DVS Ozzy Osbourne slippers complete with stickers (as yet still mint in their packaging - open to offers).

I do dress like the oldest skater in town, despite the fact I have never been on a board in my life.

From the record shop, mainly T-shirts of bands, either given out free as merchandising, or by the indie producers oiling a sale of their wares. Interestingly neither still happen quite so readily; the major record labels have slashed their merchandising giveaways and the indie T-shirt producers have gone out of business. Partly as they were pursued for breaches of copyright and the development of image rights.

My socks were supplemented by my wife working for the Stella Artois tennis tournament that was an annual pre-Wimbledon warm-up. For some reason she was given lots of branded white socks, which she passed on to me despite her loathing of the white sock look.

My father sees fit occasionally to try and bolster my wardrobe with brand clothes that I know he hasn't picked out (this is a man who wears bow ties for goodness sakes). I descry the taste of his femme fatale, so having your father's mistress dress you is particularly perturbing.

My suit was a dead man's hand me down (passed over?), which seeing as I only ever seem to wear it for funerals seems fitting somehow.

My wedding suit, which I can no longer fit in, was bought for me as a not-so-gentle insurance I would be respectably turned out on the day.

I can't remember quite when I bought my Doctor Martens, but it was certainly before they became a fashion brand and the price shot through the roof. However old they are, still intact and wearing well. They may well have been the last item I splashed some cash on, other than a couple of pairs of pyjamas.

But I left my record shop job 2 & 1/2 years ago. The skateboard side had been sold off a couple of years prior to that. My wife also changed jobs and no longer does the tennis. I've had no new freebies for that period. And now my clothes are starting to fall apart. My socks rip at the heel when I pull them on, the toes peep through holes in the worn weft. I have no trousers that aren't fraying at the turnup.

A few months ago my last free pair of Vans developed a hole in the sole. I went tremblingly in to shops to source myself some new trainers (sneakers/pumps as they used to be called before branding). I came out with two pairs and a dent in my credit card.

Now for the first time in 20 years I'm going to have to budget for a clothes spend. Even a couple of pairs of trainers brought me out in a cold sweat. I have no conception of choosing clothes, I've always taken what I was given. I'm going to have to run the gauntlet of low mood lighting, S/M/L/XL coloured cubes on hangars, pumping music and changing rooms.

Guys help!

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Just go in a second hand shop.

Pen

zenandtheartoftightropewalking said...

I am *so* with you on this.
I do three jobs, one of which I wear no clothes at all(but not for 18months). One I am required to wear a sort of uniform for, the other there is a dress code, that states no jeans, no trainers etc. Since I cycle to work, I am stymied before I start, ruining good trousers with chain oil.
My preferred clothes are basically jeans and a tunic, or tshirt. I work with fashion conscious teenagers and sometimes I find my own bohemian choice of work clothes just feels so.....bohemian. The coach drivers I work with refer to me as the hippy one.
My daughter prefers going clothes shopping with her dad, as she says(in a kindly way) I have no fashion sense.
Added to the mix are days where I literally cannot bear to have clothes that fit, they rub my nerves and I run for loose flowing stuff.
And the cost? Ludicrous.
Don't get me started on shoes.
I'm no help at all, am I??
x

zenandtheartoftightropewalking said...

I am *so* with you on this.
I do three jobs, one of which I wear no clothes at all(but not for 18months). One I am required to wear a sort of uniform for, the other there is a dress code, that states no jeans, no trainers etc. Since I cycle to work, I am stymied before I start, ruining good trousers with chain oil.
My preferred clothes are basically jeans and a tunic, or tshirt. I work with fashion conscious teenagers and sometimes I find my own bohemian choice of work clothes just feels so.....bohemian. The coach drivers I work with refer to me as the hippy one.
My daughter prefers going clothes shopping with her dad, as she says(in a kindly way) I have no fashion sense.
Added to the mix are days where I literally cannot bear to have clothes that fit, they rub my nerves and I run for loose flowing stuff.
And the cost? Ludicrous.
Don't get me started on shoes.
I'm no help at all, am I??
x

Sulci Collective said...

I used to exclusively patronise 2nd Hand stores Pen. When I was a student. have I not grown up in all this time?

zenandtheartoftightropewalking said...

Growing up is overrated. I refuse.
Growing old is obligatory but growing up is negotiable.
I have a theory that we are each born with an inner age that we stay at inside(it's nothing to do with emotional maturity as such). I've been 19 now for a long time. It's about an attitude. Some people are born 55+ internally.

Sessha Batto said...

I despise clothes shopping! Therefore I'm always dressed the same way - an under armor high necked tank (I got a bunch as show giveaways, but they're cheap and you don't need to try them on) a tai chi uniform - I have a tailor in Kowloon who has my measurements - every four or five years I order 1 black, 1 grey. I order white tabi socks by the dozen, and buy one air of cheap zori every summer . . . now if I could just get out of shopping for my teenager life would be sweet!

Sulci Collective said...

Well Freud would probably agree, but I know what you're saying. Me, I blame the parents...

Melissa Conway said...

My hub quit smoking and gained twenty pounds this last year. He's had to move up a size from the shredded (that was the style 15 years ago) Abercrombie and Fitch shorts and tees he got as freebies from a friend who used to work there. This is a man who would rather wax his entire body than go into a clothing store, so I've been picking up things he might like, one at a time, bringing them home and usually taking them back again for a refund after he gives them a thumbs-down... :op

Sulci Collective said...

Sessha sounds like you got it sussed. Melissa, you've gone the opposite way :-) Your hubby and ought to face this thing together and start a support group. Hands across the ocean!

eilonwy said...

The only way that age/maturity plays into secondhand shopping is that one eventually learns whether or not one will actually replace missing buttons.

I regard thrifting as my rebellion against the tyranny of department store purchasers' taste. I say "go for it."

Sulci Collective said...

Thank you. There seems to be a definite consensus building here...

Bukowski's Basement said...

I'm a bit of a fashion plate and if I've learned anything through the years it's this:

* We're men ... We have it easy. Classic men's fashion hasn't changed much in 75 years so the simpler, the better. You can always pepper an outfit with a splash of hankie color or a colorful tie.

Here are some staples:

A good pair of jeans - gap, J.Crew ... whatever. Find a pair you like and then buy 2 or 3 more. You can never go wrong with jeans. No rips... Medium to dark.

Khakis... Rumpled and well-worn. NO PLEATS!!! You can wear these with anything - dress shirt, T-shirt or Polo.

Shoes. Decent pair of sneaks. Nothing too colorful. I wear white converse (Jack Purcell edition) and they go with anything.

OXFORD/Button down shirt. White. One relaxed ala Gap or Jcrew and some more a tad stiffer ala Brooks Brothers.

Ties ... Skinny to medium, solid to patterned. The simpler the better for mix and matching.

Blue blazer. A FRIKKIN staple. Wear it with a T-shirt and jeans or oxford and polo. Feel free to spend. Mine is wool and fitted. I love it.

V-necks. Sweaters. Solid colors. Black, blue, etc. Wear them with your oxford or with a crisp white T-shirt underneath. NEVER TUCK.

T-SHIRTS. Find a place like target or Old Navy that sell solids. i have TONS of different colors (V-NECK and CREW) and wear them underneath shirts, sweaters, etc. the thinner the better.

Denim jacket. A more worn and old the better. Check ebay...

SHOES. Black and brown. I opt for butterscotch but the browns, you'll be able to wear with anything. A nice, modern loafer will dress up your jeans when needed.

All the above can mix and match except for the denim on denim. THEY SHOULD NEVER MATCH and always be off slightly. Otherwise, you'll look like an urban cowboy.

If you get stuck, check out vintage glamour and candid shots of style icons like Paul Newman, Sinatra, JFK, Warren Beatty, George Clooney, Bob Dylan, Jack Kerouac, etc.

It's all basic bro ... Never trendy.

Hope this helps... Any questions, drop me a line.

Ant

Sulci Collective said...

Blazer and tie? Have we ever met ;-)

Thanks for the heads up Anthony!

alisonwells said...

This reads well, you could fictionalize it. I'm sorry for you. I hate clothes shopping, too overwhelming, hate trying things on, stuff doesn't fit. I'm so sad that I buy clothes from the bargain rail at tescos. I get lots of clothes given to me that don't fit other people. My mum is a charity shop queen, she always finds good clothes for herself. She buys stuff for me and then kindly shortens the legs. Men don't do well in charity shops tho' I did buy the husband a casual shirt there once. He has no clothes either but occasionally as Ant says goes to an inexpensive store (penneys/dunnes here) and buys 3 of the same trousers. But you worry too much. It's summer, get a pair of knocked off Speedos and some crocs and that will see you till September.