Thoreau meant well, when he warned us in “Walden,” “Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.”
By Tom McDermott
Thoreau meant well, when he warned us in “Walden,” “Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes.” But then, he lived alone, at the edge of a pond, in the middle of you know where, and could have picked his peas and nurtured his lettuces naked, while only being noticed by some nosey birds and lonely squirrels.
I have established what I think is a far more useful saying at home: “Beware of all enterprises requiring old clothes.” This has served well over the years to dispel any lingering thoughts I might have about my abilities as a handyman, gardener, plumber, electrician, etc.
On occasion, someone else in my family momentarily forgets how I cut the main sprinkler line with a pitchfork, or failed several times, over the course of a year, to remove the front porch light -fixture cover to replace a bulb. But, they usually come to their senses before I can change into some vintage ensemble, composed of worn and torn gems, kept in large plastic containers in the cellar.
To err is human, to throw away cherished clothing is bad advice. But even a world-class hoarder must update the spring closet as one should add annual touches to a garden. At least I would, if I ever get a garden.
I offer this update advice to local gentlemen, of course, but also to their wives and daughters, who, let’s face it, often do the lifting when it comes to urging their beloved or dad to elevate sartorially.
Vineyard Vines Slim-Fit Poplin Pants
Honest, these are not so slim that a moderately fit person, this reporter for instance, can’t comfortably wear them. Off the shelf, they fit nearly perfectly, so good, in fact, that I returned to get another, despite the dubious look from the teenage salesman, who pointed me to the more generous “Club Pant.” As if.
When you find clothing you like that fits well and is affordable, always buy two, because every store will change styles and leave you out in the cold. Neutral colors like khaki and stone are great for business casual (but not on the isle called Manhattan). The narrow cut through the leg and at the cuff will add a little bit of “now” to your closet.
J.Crew Vintage Oxford Gingham Shirts
Some people might think that I only own a couple of shirts (Hah!), or seldom launder the ones I do have, since I wear checked or gingham shirts nearly every day. The truth is, I just got got hooked on this style a few years ago.
When something becomes so ubiquitous in your wardrobe or in fashion generally, it could mean that it will soon be going out of fashion. Frankly, I don’t give a cuff.
I’ve campaigned against J.Crew in the past about being the main offender in the march from slim to slimmer to ultra-slimmest. Even model-thin guys from Brooklyn and lower Manhattan who compulsively shop might begin to drop from wearing shirts and pants that cut off all circulation.
Meanwhile, “regular fit” guys have been struggling, trying to wear traditional Brooks Brothers style shirts with jeans or more narrowly-cut suits, along with boxers. There is simply not enough room for all that flag-like cotton no matter how hard we try.
These J.Crew shirts are not part of their pervasive “slim” line. Like Baby Bear’s bed, they’re just right. I recommend the Dark Pacific Blue, which is not really dark, but does look like the Pacific.
And yes, if they fit, get two!