Suffer For Fashion


I know nothing about fashion and even less about style so when I say that most of you dress like bums, roll your eyes and throw your salt shakers over your shoulders.

The only thing that’s worse than my eyesight is my memory. I never, ever make Alzheimer’s jokes because I can’t remember what this sentence was supposed to be about. I think when I was a kid, my mom and would make my sister and I “dress nice” to leave the house. I grew up in on a road with a few other houses but for the most part it was that gray area between suburb and banjo playing backwoods-like living. Going to the mall or out to eat was a big deal. When I wasn’t walking to school uphill both ways in the snow, I was usually confined to my house or those of my friends. It was at least a fifteen minute bike ride to anywhere with other people. Teh closest general store where I got bubblegum and baseball cards was about a mile and a half away. When my parents decided we’d grab some mediocre seafood at Red Lobster (twenty-minute drive) or buy school clothes at Perimeter Mall (thirty minute drive), I was required to put on pants and a shirt that didn’t have a baseball team name or a Superfriend hero logo. Church was a major dress up thing and I always rocked a clip-on tie and some well-pressed slacks.

Saturday night I had to think a lot about clothes, shoes, make-up, and dresses. My teenage daughter attended her third homecoming. These sports of things are very important in my life because the women I live with, for the most part, are very low maintenance. Bobina, Tay, Bug and Goose are a t-shirt, jeans or shorts, and flip-flop rocking bunch. My day doesn’t officially start until at least two them announce themselves and ask “How’s my hair?”. While they care about their coifs, they don’t really spend a lot of time on their do’s. About ten minutes before Tay had to leave for her homecoming picture photo shoot and dance, we woke her up. Through grumbles, she did her own hair, put on very little make up, slipped on her dress and shoes, and make her way into the night.

When we arrived at her school, the other girls had on more makeup and accessories. Tay showed confidence and a lot of swagger walking through the sea of them.

While I’m proud of my wife and daughters for being the way that they are, I harken back to my childhood when it seemed like the only time you saw flip-flops, shorts, and ratty t-shirts was at the beach or the lake. Casual attire is the everyday thing, even at work, out to eat or on planes. As much as I like t-shirts and jeans, when I fly, I dress business casual. When I go out with my wife, like I did after dropping my daughter off at homecoming, I usually dress good enough to be taken anywhere except maybe a biker bar. I’m a touch too preppy for that and I’d be traded for cigarettes. I don’t know if it’s “okay”  to dress for comfort all the time. As I started this post, I know nothing about clothes or style. But the lack of care that many people seem to have out in public is startling when you compare this to just 25 or 30 years ago. I think affluence has a lot to do with it. My generation and this current one have a lot more than out parents and grandparents. Going out isn’t as “special” as it used to be.

To say I suffer for fashion isn’t hyperbole.My wife and kids dress me because I’m borderline colorblind and sickeningly out of step with current trends and looks. But I think we all suffer for fashion when we never take it into account, especially on occasions that coudl use a little reverence. This is one area where I think we’ve devolved. Maybe we could take an extra five to ten minutes and pay more attention to ourselves in the mirror during the times that we go out. Don’t worry, that saturday morning trip to Walmart to get toilet paper or Diet Dr. Pepper? Expect to see me in workout pants, sneakers, the oldest t-shirt i have and a backwards baseball cap. I know where I come from.

Today’s song is an underrated gem. I’ve always liked Of Montreal. Saw them once when I was in college. Here’s Suffer For Fashion. Listen to it in your Sunday best…or worst.

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23 responses to “Suffer For Fashion

  1. I remember my parents making the 5 of us dress up to go to dinner.
    Now I’m one of the others. “Hey, I got clothes on! What d’ya want?”

    But you have a point, maybe I could try. A little.

  2. I have a terrible sense of fashion. When my daughter was still living at home, she was my Dresser, and would tell me I couldn’t go out in public in flannel pj pants and old t-shirts. I grew my hair out long mainly so I could pull it into a pony tail and tuck it under a ball cap. I’m definitely a ‘dress for comfort’ kind of person.

  3. Clean casual clothes, but carrying myself with confidence are usually enough. I’m a jeans and t shirt kind of guy.
    But I will put in effort to take my girl out.

    And your daughter looks wonderful.

  4. I’ve had a fairly contentious relationship with fashion over the years. I went from super preppy to black eyeliner, purple hair, and combat boots, to schleppy new mom baggy clothes apathy, to mom-who-never-lost-the-baby-weight depressing clothes, to mom-lost-so-much-weight-that-she-weighs-less-than-she-did-in-high-school whoring around clothes, to I-workout-so-much-there’s-no-point-in-wearing-anything-but-workout clothes, to Andrew!-go-do-a-load-of-laundry-cuz-I-aint-got-no-clean-britches! clothes…. I even did an experiment not too long ago to see how long I could go without brushing my hair. After 2 weeks, I wound up with 80s Stevie Nicks hair without a single drop of hairspray. Chris protested loudly.

    • I have no idea with each person “personal style”, whatever the hell that means. I’ve just never adjusted to seeing people so casual in public places that require (in theory) some decorum

  5. I’m definitely a jeans, t-shirt, and flip flops kind of woman. But if we go out to eat somewhere (at least a touch nicer than a Taco Bell) I do like to dress a little nicer. I think I go back to my growing up years where my mom definitely made going out into a big deal and demanded nicer dress than for, say, a trip to the mall.

    Tay looks gorgeous!

  6. Gah–I’m stuck in my jeans all the time too. That’s why I mentally insisted on wearing a dress when The Man and I went out for our recent anniversary. I remember special days when I always had an itchy pair of tights on. Mostly I’ve abandoned all this for running shoes with a hole in them. Maybe if I lived in New York city, I wouldn’t feel silly about dressing nicer.

  7. Growing up, we were a dress up kind of family. We dressed up to fly and when going out to dinner be it at a restaurant or a friend’s house, etc. But I have to say we’re pretty casual in my home now, though I do often find myself banning certain clothes when we go out to eat. Your daughter is beautiful by the way, and that’s quite impressive after rolling out of bed only minutes before. That skill will serve her well in life :)

    • I think you and I are alike in many ways, and here’s another example. I agree with every word. There’s a certain respect yourself and others line that you shouldn;t cross just to feel comfortable, clothes wise, in public. Yeah, we get each other, here.

  8. Much as I love comfort, and have no hair (which makes for a really easy morning routine), I am gay and some cliche’s are true…. may pay a tad too much attention to what I am wearing. Plus I work in a fashion environment so yes am known for my colourful ties….

    Fun post, your family sounds awesome..

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