“Where did you get those shorts?” my wife asked as we were walking into a restaurant.
“At a store originally, but more recently from my dresser,” I replied, “why do you ask?”
“They’re just a little long,” she volleyed back, “like shorts your son would wear.”
Where had that critique been before we left the house? I know we got dressed that morning in the same room, even at approximately the same time.
Unfortunately it seemed that the most of the fashion based feedback that I received came after the point of no return. Take for instance the weekend of the Avenger’s release. My son had what can only be described as a comic character collage tee that I decided to wear to fit in with the group.
“Where did you get that shirt,” my daughter sighed as we stood in line for popcorn, “it looks like Stan Lee puked on your chest?”
Was there some sort of cloak of invisibility that enshrouded me until I was in public? Had this always been the case?
Thinking back I had an art teacher in middle school who was always critical of my choice of pants.
“Pajama pants again today Mr. Sheehan,” he would say in a cruel and yet cool tone, “you know in fifth grade you are supposed to start wearing pants to school.”
Granted he didn’t have the chance to let me know before I left the house but the public ridicule was equally appreciated. It was an awkward time in my development. Regular pants didn’t fit right, not even the husky ones, sweat pants were comfortable. I’m not sure what triggered his loath for my baggy happiness but maybe my mother should have given me the heads up. Possibly a gentle shove out of the elastic waistband nest I was clinging to might have been in order.
It appeared she shared the same blinders that my current loved ones have, the spring of 1983 proves that clearly. Michael Jackson was everywhere you turned and Thriller fever had made it all the way to a small town in Missouri. Not only did she stand by while her pleasantly plump little man donned penny loafers, jeans and a white tee shirt, she even had my grandmother fashion a sequined glove at my request. Mentally I can still see myself all Michealed out and I can assure you it is an image only a mother could love or for that matter, refrain from laughing at. Yet she let me out into the world dressed like that.
Quite possibly a mother’s love was the root of all future fashion indiscretions. Once I had been able to wear a hand sewn sparkling jacket, yes I had one of those too, in my mind I could pull off just about anything. In hindsight I am pretty sure I looked like a disco ball with stubby legs.
It also makes sense that current loved ones shared the habit of turning a blind eye until we were in the midst of public scrutiny. After seeing me in my “lounge wear” around the house for a number of years they probably didn’t pay attention to what I was wearing at all.
Understanding the root cause of the issue was great but how could I avoid future wardrobe malfunctions? What I need is honest feedback, like the Wicked Witch gets in Snow White, ‘Mirror, mirror on the wall, please tell me if this is a fashion faux pas.’ Or maybe there is an App for that called I-look-K? That would also be great for when I go clothes shopping with the wife…. but that is another story entirely.


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