Wednesday, February 6, 2008

All Tied Up in Knots . . .

As I've mentioned before - the dress code (or lack of) in my office is very casual and people dress pretty casually accordingly. I've never been a "casual" dresser. Joy often makes fun of me for being a 70 year old man in a 31 year old body for my general fashion sense and, as we thumbed through my childhood photo albums one year, I must say that I have always dressed a little "formally."

I think - no - I KNOW that the reason for this is two fold. First, as a "husky" kid turned fat man, you couldn't exactly get the hottest trends and latest fashions to fit you when you wore clothes designed for people older and more established than you (of couse many trends - like Skidz pants, Z. Cavaricci (in general), parachute pants, etc. etc. etc.). Second, I've always been sort of an old fuddy-duddy at heart anyway.

Instead, I've just worn what today in my "preppy" sense of style I chose to call "classics" for my entire life. Khaki pants. Navy blue. Olive drab. Chocolate brown. White dress shirts. Black shoes. Charcoal Grey suits. Etc. etc. etc. I have - in my LIFE - owned about five items of clothing that had the logo or indicia of the company/designer/maker/campaign on them. I have never worn horizontal stripes. I've never worn diagonal stripes. I've never worn red by choice - I went to a high school that chose red as a school color so my band uniform (oh flattering of allll the fashions) was largely red as were the other mistakes I made supporting high school athletics (we shant discuss my stint as a cheerleader my senior year). I've owned very little yellow and, save for a blaze orange sweatshirt I bought at a hunting/sportsgood store that I owned in college, I've never worn dayglo or "neon" colors either.

Now, I'm not complaining here. It was my own fault that my threads were not always hip and I have never been interested in being trendy or "cool" either so I probably still would have steered clear of most of the stuff the kids my age were wearing. I would dare go so far as to say that it is only in the time that I have known Joy that I have cared at ALL about the clothes I wore. Don't misunderstand - I've always loved clothes and I've always owned LOTS of them but it was never really about the "brand" or anything. It was about a) does it fit and b) is this stain THAT noticable.

So the ONE gripe that I've always had (since the tenth grade) was that my fat body required me to wear extra long ties. And TIES are the one place in my fashion world that I like to be trendy, hip and cool (EXCEPT when that might require the "skinny tie" rebirth of NYC hipsters OR the "knit tie" debacle that rages most winters).

This extra long tie problem was, of course, because my neck was so big and because the curviture of my chest and belly took more length to get to my belt than it would for the straight-lined torso of a skinnier man.

If you've never been tie shopping while fat or bought a tie for a fat man, I should clarify that extra long ties are not easy to find. They aren't carried in MOST stores. Where they are carried, they have less colors and choices than the regular ties and, of course, they are more expensive than regular ties too. This tie challenge has upset and plagued me for 16 years, literally.

I wore ties all the way through high school - almost every day - despite going to a public high school where flannel shirts and jeans were the norm, I wore them quite a bit in college and in my DC days I wore ties until I decided that booze and food were more important to me than my general appearance. I resumed the tie love when I went to work for IBM and I wear them again daily here in Wichita.

Something nifty happened to me on Saturday though. Ava and I went shopping and I bought five ties at a killer sale at Kohl's (my new tie obsession here in Wichita, by the way, is Harold's) and all five of them are regular length.

Between losing 4.5 inches off my neck, 18 inches of my chest and 26 inches off my waist, I have gotten down to a small enough size that regular ties are long enough for me to wear them without looking like a schlub!

I'm wearing one of my new ties today and I just got a compliment on it from one of my least friendly co-workers (so it must look REALLY nice, right? Right?!?). It is a small victory for mankind but a huge win for me.

Welcome back to my life - regular length ties. I've missed you!

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