I Love My Shirt

         There is that old chestnut, "Clothes make the man (or woman)."  What we wear, frequently says a lot about our personality, whether casual clothing or work attire.  Do you dress for success, acutely aware of the image you project?  Or do you just dress, throwing on any old thing to protect you from the elements or because wearing clothes is a social norm.  In either case, there are probably certain pieces of clothing that have a special place in your heart; that foster a sense of well being when worn or looked at.

          In the stone age, Gronk probably had a mastodon skin shirt that he liked better than the saber tooth jacket that his wife Hunga made for him. Of course if you only owned two or three pieces of clothing, picking your favorite was simple enough. However if you were Louis XIV, it might be a little harder to pick a favorite shirt out of the hundreds that had been made for you. So much to wear, so little time as you paraded down the hall of mirrors at Versailles.

          Favorite clothes don't usually involve items that constrict or restrain. The ladies expressed great relief when the winds of fashion deep sixed corsets and layers of petticoats.  Men were glad when three piece suits and starched collars where no longer de rigueur for business transactions. Most kids hated school uniforms because it stifled their individuality (precisely the point).  Clothes that are meaningful to us have to engender that personal connection.

          I like to dress comfortably and wear things that match, but I have never been a fashion maven.  My one indulgence is vests. That's right vests. In my hippie days I started out with a top hat and two discarded blue suit vests which I got at a Goodwill in Berkeley. Over the years I have acquired many more vests and am now pushing thirty.  Blue ones, black ones, tan, brown, white and maroon. I wore vests regularly during my teaching career (Why does Mr. Matte wear so many vests?), and they still pop up regularly at Sunday church services. While vests as a group are my favorite clothes, other individual items make the greatest hits list.

          I have this sweatshirt from college. It has the University of Florida logo on it and is faded out and full of holes. I probably haven't worn it in thirty years, but it hangs in my closet in case I ever want to put it on, reliving forgotten youth.  The Eagles are one of my favorite musical groups. Visiting Winslow, Arizona, I found a t-shirt featuring the line, "standing on a corner" from the song "Take It Easy." I love that t-shirt. Should have bought more than one. There is this brown leather bomber jacket that has a name patch with infantry insignia that commemorates my Army days.  The way it crinkles when I move... 

          The point is that favorite clothes often help us remember a time, place or event that has real meaning, no matter how ephemeral the moment. Life may seem like it's in the crapper, but if I can go in the closet and put on my favorite jeans, that special shirt and a pair of well worn boots, topped off by a sweat stained ball cap; maybe things aren't so bad after all.