You know, I was feeling a lot better about understanding fashion particularly with regards to how it relates to me. I felt I had a bit more of a vocabulary and I didn’t seem as lost when surrounded by racks of choices. My eyes would even hone in on some item then the brain would follow critically, assessing my find against its practicality for moi.

It was therefore probably a mistake to click on the Style page of the NY Times today. Barely able to walk, I think they’re asking me to run. I was confronted with this:


My first thought was of course the ubiquitous ‘WTF?” It’s such a perfect catchall, and unrevealing of the nature of one’s confusion/amusement/disdain etc. Such a reactionary response is indicative of curiosity on my part so I read further as to why a designer chose to add a bit of Rocky the Flying Squirrel to an otherwise ordinary suit.

It seems that the designer is attempting to evoke style reminiscent of military sashes. True, lapels did start from military tunics, with the ability to button over to perform the task of Keeping Warm. Trust the military to come up with such practical considerations. As we all know, looking good in high fashion has nothing to do with personal comfort (ask any university club hopper – see also ShpakBlog on the subject). Such is the case here, as the over-lapel buttons onto the jacket somehow.

I don’t want to know how, and I really don’t want, the next time I buy a suit or sport coat, to find extra buttons all over the thing for purposes of attaching hunks of chipmunk fur to me.

Here’s some things I already don’t understand about men’s clothing:

  • Why do they stitch suit pockets shut? If you don’t want to use it as a pocket, don’t use it as a pocket. Do you need stitching to save you from yourself? Really? If the designer wants a pocket flap as a design element, but Godforbid that anyone should use it to carry grapefruit, then why put a pocket behind it?
  • Sort of a corollary: The stitched lapel slot, for a boutonnière, well, they go around it with a buttonhole stitch, but then don’t bother to cut the thing open. You’re going to trust me with this, probably at the last minute when said boutonnière is sprung on me? It’s likely a borrowed pocket knife will do the honours. “Yes, it’s Armani, with Swiss Army Accents,” I might say, explaining away the hatchet job on the left lapel.
  • On the topic of buttonholes: dress shirts, and even a lot of casual shirts are showing up with the bottom hole horizontal, versus the vertical arrangement of the remainder. At first I thought this might be Moron Protection, aha, this must be the bottom button hole so I start here, thus avoiding an embarrassing misalignment, but there’s no guarantee I start with the bottom button, is there? And in fact the extra buttons sewn onto the shirt for replacements are down there so Lowest Button is ambiguous in some cases. In any event, if you can do up an entire shirt and are still oblivious to the fact you’re one buttonhole off, then it is your duty to entertain the rest of us. I, for one, need something to take my mind off wondering what the horizontal hole is for.
  • Lastly, can I just request industry standard agreement on the placement of the inner pocket on any men’s garment? Now, most of them are on the left to facilitate a right handed man. Okay, I get that. Yet every now and then there’s something with a pocket on the inner right. That’s okay, in itself, as I dress. In goes the wallet. Yet hours later, when needing to retrieve said wallet, there’s the moment of panic when I forget about this oddity of nature. Is somebody, 34661_1511927635155_1143301626_1477855_3849623_nsomewhere, laughing at me? No? Then pick a side, people, and stick with it.

And while you’re at it, lose the furry lapel thing. If I want to wear a sash, I’ll become a scout leader. Now, THIS is a man who can wear a sash ————————————->

Out Of The Closet

In the earliest stages of the Project To Remake Me A Man, Kathryn made an awful threat: to go through my closet and approve and disapprove items already in my wardrobe on the basis of the results of my body analysis.

I recoiled in such horror it took me twenty minutes to walk back to the spot I started.

It wasn’t so much the clothes as it was the idea of having anyone in my closet. Of the walk-in variety, off the top of my head this closet is currently host to:

  • 1 set cross country skis
  • 1 pair goalie pads
  • 300+ LP’s
  • Set of 4 life jackets
  • a TV remote for a discarded TV
  • a cappuccino maker
  • an ancient electronic rhythm box
  • 2 canoe paddles
  • a fan
  • a money box sans money
  • some money sans box
  • several tubs of unsorted photographs
  • one small box of sorted photographs

This is in addition to clothes hanging up that I rarely wear even before knowing better and clothes in laundry baskets that I do wear. There’s a reasonable chance that one of the three laundry baskets is clean clothes. I’m not sure which it is. Thankfully, since I am not currently playing tennis three or four times a week, the aroma of the laundry is somewhat less objectionable than height of summer. Of course then three baskets would never accumulate.

I only wear my red shirt and cargo shorts then.

Laden in Red

Platypus-transparentAhhhh… I have the red shirt on as I write this, the demise of which has been urged by 50% of the harem since prior to the Remake experience. I am wearing it with new jeans, however, so I am not a complete affront to Kat’s teachings, still I feel somewhat naughty. She’s like, “Why don’t you wear the good stuff all the time?” and I’m like, “So it will last longer for when I inflict myself upon Other People.”

This is a reason why clothing has to be livable for me: I don’t think about it. If I get the not infrequent urge to make bread, I guarantee you I’ll be wearing black and I won’t consider that until the point where flour assures I am wearing grey. Yeah, I have a chef’s jacket. It’s black. Go figure. I was forever ruining dress shirts at work by jumping in to equipment repairs without putting a lab coat on first. Greasy pole in the neighbourhood? I’ll lean against it wearing a suit or a new jacket. Guaranteed.

Kathryn asked me if I’d ever wear the old relaxed fit jeans again and was surprised when I said yes. I have to preserve the good stuff. Put it down to lack of awearness.

P.S. Dating Site Status: Among those stating an interest, the average age has dropped to 46.75. Let’s see how close to my mental age (13) this gets.

Make Twitter work for me, or convince me it’s a hoax – @shpak60

Rolling Lint

July 10 2010 021There are certain responsibilities I’m acquiring in the pursuit to become a Remade Man. Having determined that I look younger, slimmer, taller, smarter, less obnoxious, more mature and much less likely to go postal when confronted with a floor to ceiling display of men’s jeans all by the virtue of wearing black, there is a maintenance phase that I must now enter into.

If it’s cool with you, I think I will forego hand washing my black clothes in Woolite Dark because I like to keep things simple. Owning multiple laundry detergents runs counter to this concept. Yes, true, I use separate soaps for body and hair, but not always, and partially it’s a shopping thing, as I’d go through an all-in-one faster and have to buy more often. Reducing the amount of shopping in my life (at least for things like soap and shampoo) is the greatest way to keep simple. And several friends have told me my quest to stay simple is successful. They know who they are ..l.,

Black does, when more formal than a torn t-shirt, require a bit of Lint-rollerattention, so with that in mind I picked up some lint rollers. Now, I’d like to claim that I got my cat to coordinate with my new wardrobe. It would sound kind of thorough. Truth is he was black long before this process ever started. He was also a little SOB before this process started. I know what you’re thinking: “Kudos for considering lint rollers for cat hair removal, but black cat hair on black clothing? You’re wasting my time on a blog for this?”

I forgive you.

Oh, my mistake. I should have shown you a close-up photo of my cat. There are a couple features you can’t make out in the photo above. They are more prominent here:


The problem with adding a Satanic Cat to a dollar store lint roller is that I ended up with something like this:


Of course, lint rollers are by their nature sticky. And, inconveniently, white. Also, of course, I was wearing some of my new, dark attire when addressing the newly shredded lint roller.

Suffice to say, it appears my t-shirt has cut itself shaving. Severely. And the other lint roller isn’t doing a thing to help. Nor is the cat. My best solution now might be to cuddle the damned cat until his fur covers the sticky bits of lint roller all over me. Problem solved; black restored.

Anybody want to buy a cat, as-is, no exorcism?

Please; help me see the point of Twitter. Follow me: @shpak60

Published in: on December 13, 2010 at 9:43 am  Comments Off on Rolling Lint  
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A Tip Of The Hat

So, as a Remade Platypus, there are a few changes to my life required to keep up, little things that weren’t mentioned, or if they were they were buried far too deep in the instructions for a man to get to without effort.

james stewartI made mention to Kathryn that I wanted to be at “hat guy” as my maternal grandfather was a life JakeBlueslong “hat guy”. A simple enough wish, but my grandfather wore his with an understated , casual elegance, like Jimmy Stewart, whereas I tend to be more Jake Blues. While we share hairlines, we do not share body types.

So my key is to go for hats that de-emphasize the Polish Roundness of face imparted by paternal grandfather. That’s easy enough and I get it. On to the little things that are something more of a challenge.

It has taken me long enough to get comfortable with keeping track of the various articles necessary to conduct my day. Walletkeyscellphone. It’s mantra-like now. Walletkeyscellphone. Now throw a hat on this. And a scarf. Getting out the door isn’t the issue, it’s a matter of keeping track of this extra paraphernalia through the excursion. I used to chide Famous Director for his tendency to wear scarves in what seemed to be unseasonal scarf weather. I know now it was simply a matter of his walletkeyscellphonescarf mantra.

Heading downtown soon to the Katalyst studio. Looks like it’s a walltetkeyscellphonescarfhat day. Let’s see if I get home in one piece.

Twitter: @shpak60