Sunday, September 11, 2011

Subvestment Investments

We are embarking on yet another project which has been a long time coming.  I am of the school of thought that clothes, largely, make the man in so much as that people believe what they see (including the person wearing the clothes.)  I also feel that a male dressing nicely is a counter-cultural act in this day.  We live in the age of the t-shirt.  I should like to be one vote for a more beautiful world.  I think I reflect that in my interests.  I feel it is high time I attempt to reflect that in my appearance as well.

I've lived for some time now with a scattershot wardrobe.  A good deal of it remains from my college years in which I too was a jeans and t-shirt man.  I have a few articles for more formal occasions as the need has arisen over the past decade.  I have a few articles from my intense working out period in which I needed to buy smaller clothes.  They remain in my closet as a testimony that I do retain some capacity for optimism.

So, a lot of the time I find myself dressed like this:

Which shows a light spirit and isn't quite so Death In Venice as continuing to wear band t-shirts into my mid-30s.  But, as I've said before, Jeeves is my spirit animal and I know what my inner Jeeves thinks when I dress in this manner. 

Ideally, I would like to wear a suit at any time in which I am not in pajamas with possibly a few articles for gardening or hiking.  I would like to unleash my inner dandy.  But how does one get from Comic Con to the Literary Establishment?  How does one get from dress of the students in the ivy covered lecture hall to the dress of they who stand at the lecturn?

I know that throwing piles of cash around is one answer, but I am hardly in a position to effect that outcome.  However, just because one is of limited means is not an excuse for allowing one's surroundings to go to pot.  One can brighten any corner of the world that they are given with a bit of care and attention to loveliness.  My marriage to Laurie has largely broadened me in this way.  Before we were married, I understood this concept, but lived like "the crazy used bookseller" which is to say amidst stacks of books with paths to the kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom.  Laurie and I both value the house beautiful.  Laurie just happens to be the one in our pair with the tools to bring that value into realization. 

I am learning though.

My road to this shift started very young.  There was a high school chum of mine who always wore a suit and tie and I've always thought that there was a wisdom in that.  He had a seriousness without sacrificing the natural rebellion of the adolescent (although he came at it in a very fresh way.)  One can wear a suit anywhere and the idea of being dressed appropriately for any situation appeals to me.  This has been in the back of my mind for decades.

Right on the heels of my discovery of the musical genre known as chap-hop (see example below),

Laurie discovered an online television show which has rather turned my head.  It's called Put This On, with the subheading "A Web Series About Dressing Like A Grownup."  It was not so subtle of a hint, but certainly one which I was completely primed to run with.  I think Laurie's words were "it's time for you to start geeking out on all the right things."

Of course, there has also been the influence of our fashion blog.  I wasn't wired to watch nine hours of Austin Scarlett without coming away with a desire to dress better.  I think our field trip to the designer end of South Coast Plaza this past July also got my sartorial salivary glands watering.

Inspired by the webseries, I went out and got the book Dressing The Man by Alan Flusser, which deals with what he refers to as "permanent fashion."  Mr. Flusser teaches on gaining the look of "seasoned simplicity," the emergence of the peacock in the previous century (beginning with the ubiquitous suits up to the second World War, to the rigid conformity demanded by the era of the grey flannel suit, through the 1960s gift of personal expression in dress, to the modern man of style), by mainly giving instruction on the foundation of understanding proper color and proportion.

Hopefully arming myself with these lessons, I am about to embark on a journey.  I was recently telling Laurie about my spiritual path and the shattered remains thereof.  I told her that it was as if I knew what I was supposed to do, but I wasn't doing it.  Likewise, or perhaps as a reflection of same, I intend to now become the man that I intend to be inside and out.  More on this soon.


  1. I think it must be the influence of Thomas Mann. Currently working on The Magic Mountain and I find myself wishing to be properly apparelled. Perhaps without the tuberculosis, however.

  2. I was looking this book over last night. Every man looks better in a suit, provided the suit suits him properly. Being on the short and, uh, plentiful side, a properly cut suit would be just the thing to maximize my vertical insufficiencies. Rather hard to imagine it, however, given my surroundings and fiscal limitations. I think I'll try in small ways first and dream big for tomorrow.