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John Singleton Copley: Nicholas Boylston (1767)

"It's all about how they feel."

I have been Honing my fashion sense since my early teens, and I formally swore off short-sleeved shirts. During my professional career, I insisted on wearing starched shirts and woolen trousers regardless of the season, later gravitating toward blue jeans and simple cotton shirts. In recent years, I've reduced my wardrobe to the basics: long-sleeved blue chambray shirts, blue jeans, and Barefoot® shoes. My nod to seasons includes optional socks in the summer and cotton jersey pullovers through the cooler months. My closet holds a dozen almost identical cotton shirts and a spare pair of jeans. That's as dressy as I ever care to be these days.

I do not wear shorts, whatever the weather.
I'm paranoid about skin cancer, so I cover up when the sun comes out, insisting upon a broad-brimmed hat and even gloves if I'll be working out in it. I work hard to avoid a tan. The Muse chews on me for wearing my painting shirts in public, but they are my favorites. Light-weight pure cotton, long-sleeved—of course—in need of ironing after laundering, which never touches their stains. I do not mind ironing and would rather perform that chore than wear something not requiring ironing, for those garments tend to be made of spun plastic that cannot breathe. I suffocate in synthetics.

My more fashion-conscious friends make fun of my taste in clothing. I consider myself extremely conservative and would probably wear homespun if available. As is, I've become the sort who prefers to buy his socks at the hardware store. They're cheap and good, a winning combination, and come in the two most popular colors, grey and black. No complaints about that!

My hats serve as my exception to my admittedly simplistic sartorial rules. For hats, I insist on the highest quality I can bear to buy. I tend to buy a hat when I feel needy, in a moment of weakness. Like the old caution against grocery shopping when starving, shopping for a hat when feeling needy almost guarantees a purchase that I cannot explain to The Muse. A fine hat's an almost once-in-a-lifetime experience, so I shouldn't deeply consider price to be an object. Over twenty or more years, the price of even the most expensive hat will amortize into insignificance, and the hat itself will retain its inherent magnificence. Even wearing one of my signature paint-stained chambrays, I'll feel like a million bucks with that Borsolino on my head.

Seeing my fellows wearing their pajama bottoms and crocks to the mall, I feel appalled. I likewise cannot abide those cargo shorts that make their wearer look like they've stolen an Oompa-Loompa's pants. The Muse is forever asking me how I like her "top" I hadn't noticed. I almost always insist that whatever she's wearing looks just fine. I wonder what she thinks she's doing, asking the opinion of someone who considers his stained Chambray painting shirt the height of SartorialSanity. Designers don't seem to understand that the looks of a garment hardly matter. It's all about how they feel.

©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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