High fashion trends tend to focus on the theme of dressing to be seen. The fashion runways are full of people flaunting about like so many preening peacocks screaming out “look at me, look at me.”
As someone who has always preferred comfort over high fashion and whose personal preference is to try to fade into the background, rather than standing out, I am decidedly and intentionally unfashionable.
The last thing any fat guys like me, want is for someone to pay attention to their clothing choices. It makes us nervous. We wonder if we spilled something and have a stain down the front of our shirt that looks vaguely like Italy if you squint enough.
Knowing that I am not going to be impressing anyone with my good looks, debonair attitude or stylish dressing, I have focused instead on the basics. Pants and shirts get replaced with the same brands, styles and patterns whenever they get worn out.
It is not that I intentionally choose to be boring in my clothing choices, it is that I have fully embraced my drabness and adopted it as a personal style choice. If the Good Lord graces you with all the looks and attraction of a Soviet-era eastern European compact sedan, you can either fight it or live with the knowledge that you will be going very slowly up large hills.
I will fully admit that part of my intentional disregard for fashion is due to the inherent laziness that I believe most guys possess when it comes to picking out clothes. While there are exceptions, I know of many guys who are impeccably tailored and who even do that stubble-shaving nonsense to give them that rugged look. I think the vast majority of guys would wear whatever was at hand that was clean, fit and had the appropriate amount of wear and tear for the occasion. Even I know that your nice, going to church jeans, are not the same ones you wear when you are going to be cleaning out the horse stalls in the barn or to replace the bearings in the wheel of your utility trailer. Admittedly these lessons may have come through personal experience, but the goal in life is to learn from mistakes and move forward.
This gets us inevitably to footwear choices. With a few aberrations such as for a specific-purposed footwear option, I have purchased and worn the same style, brand and color of shoes for at least the past 15 years.
The shoes go through a cycle of being worn when I need something that doesn’t look like crude, to day-today wear, to being the ones I keep to wear when it is very sloppy or I have to wade through the mud in my backyard to fix the discharge pipe for my sump pump. One pair even made it to legendary status when the hinges on my cooler broke during a camping trip and with the help of my handy multi-tool cut used chunks of worn leather from the shoes to replace the broken hinges. Since the impromptu repair has lasted for several years now, I think that pair has won top honors of useful longevity.
Yes, I am fully aware that I am a shoe hoarder and that I could remove a lot of clutter from my life if I simply tossed the old pair in the garbage when I got a new pair. But, as I explain to my wife, I NEED these old shoes just in case something happens. She wouldn’t want me to wreck a pair of “good” shoes cleaning up the mess after a collapsed sewer lateral. (Yes, I am fully aware that the odds of having a lateral collapse more than once in the time you own a home is remote, but it is always important to be prepared.)
My current challenge though is that as I need to make the transition from an older pair to a new one, is that while I have been preoccupied with other things, my shoes have been busy producing new shoes. Or at least shoes that I don’t remember having before. Self reproducing footwear would be an amazing thing to discover, unfortunately, though there are some kinks in the system and I am faced with having three virtually identical black left shoes, but no corresponding right shoes to go with them.
To make matters worse, the right half of my pair of brown day-to-day shoes seems to have also disappeared forcing me to wear the pair that should have been retired long ago. It remains a mystery to me where my shoes have gone and why only my right shoes seem to be disappearing. I suspect there is some sort of conspiracy involved to get me to buy more shoes.
Brian Wilson is News Editor at The Star News.