A few months ago, I found myself in Cracker Barrell, standing in line behind a guy who was wearing a flannel shirt, tucked in to his slim fit tapered leg faded jeans, the bottom of which conveniently fell about two inches above his white Nikes. Yes, I was tempted to bend down and tight roll them.
Normally I don't pay attention to what other guys wear. But for some reason, this caught my attention. And I began to ponder. I think some people just get tired of trying to keep up with the latest styles and fashions. They find a look they like, and they stick with it from here on out. Look at Cracker Barrell Guy, for instance. I'd say he deboarded the fashion bus sometime around 1985.
That's fine if that's who you want to be. No judgment here. After all, I watched Cheers, I liked Sam Malone. My question is, where do people who wear these out of style clothes keep finding them? Because they can't all be wearing clothes that are twenty years old. Somewhere, some store has to still be selling them. Which means some company has to still be manufacturing them. That's what confounds me about all of this.
Don't get the wrong idea. I make no claim to be on the leading edge of fashion myself. I'm closer to the trailing edge, actually. But I do try to keep up. I even got a compliment the other day from a female friend of a friend, who told my friend, "He knows how to dress."
Still, I say all this very humbly, as someone whose personal fashion evolution includes the Wrangler and cowboy boot phase of the early nineties. But I survived that and am able to laugh about it now. And by laugh, I mean shudder.
It was during my heavy country music listening days. Which is the main reason I totally missed out on the whole Nirvana/Pearl Jam/Metallica explosion. But that's another story for another post. I was all the time going to country concerts. Alabama, Garth, Reba, George Strait, Clint Black, Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, Brooks & Dunn, I saw them all.
I even had a black felt cowboy hat that I wore to a concert or two. Yes, I was that guy. Except I didn't know I was supposed to have the hat shaped. So I wound up looking more like Howdy Doody than Garth Brooks.
I wore boots. And Wranglers. Tight, slim fit Wranglers. As in, if I had a toothpick in my pocket, you'd be able to spot the outline of it from fifty feet away. And tell if it was single-ended or double-ended. I also wore briefs.
I'm not ashamed of my fashion past. But now, thankfully, I'm a different man. With a different body. And different jeans. And boxers. I still occasionally listen to country music. But I could never go back to Wranglers. Or briefs.
Once you get used to that free-wheeling, unfettered lifestyle, I don't think it's possible to go back. It'd be like driving a Tahoe for ten years, then trying to fit back into an Escort. Certain parts of my body hurt now just thinking about it.
Most everything I've learned about fashion has come from girls I was dating at the time, female friends, or occasionally my sister. After all, why do guys comb their hair, shave, or wear nice clothes? It's not to impress the other guys, I can assure you.
Several weeks ago, I purchased a corduroy blazer with vintage suede elbow pads. Much like the pink shirt, it is the type of purchase that could only have been made with female accompaniment and approval.
Danger arises, however, when I go thru a dating drought. Female friends can help a little. But the fact is, no one is going to be as vigilant as the girl who has to be seen in public with you and known as your girlfriend. One might theorize some guys who are "out of style" are simply still wearing the clothes they wore the last time they had a girlfriend.
I'm pretty good at putting outfits together. But sometimes, I'm not 100% sure what jacket to wear with a particular shirt, for example. Some mornings I literally spend a minute or two agonizing over my outfit for the day. Here's where I think an outfit flowchart for guys would come in handy. (Not to be confused with a Jump To Conclusions Mat.) Yes friends, my name is Bone, and I'm bringing flowcharts back.
Every guy could have a girl in his life go thru his clothes and design one for him. We could just plug in a particular shirt or sweater into the oval box, then follow a series of lines, diamonds, and parallelograms leading us to acceptable jacket and pant combinations.
Another question I sometimes struggle with is: When is it appropriate to tuck in shirts for guys?
Personally, with jeans, I never tuck. Polo shirts, t-shirts, button-up shirts, I leave them untucked. Even with a sport jacket. Normally with dress pants, I tuck. But what about with khakis? And is it ever appropriate to tuck with jeans?
These are the questions I have. These are the clothes that I wear.
And don't discount the outfit flowchart.
"What's the matter with the clothes I'm wearing? Can't you tell that your tie's too wide? Maybe I should buy some old tab collars. Welcome back to the age of jive..."