Copyright 2009 Elliott Joseph
My friend Phil has loosened fashion's grip on me.
And not a moment too soon as I consider the frightening prospect of having to replace any part of my wardrobe.
He walked in the other day, looking like a million. He was wearing a smart, single breasted gray glen plaid suit, white cotton dress shirt with spread collar, deep red silk tie with tiny black dots and a pair of shining, wingtip black oxfords.
"New outfit?" I asked.
"Not on your life!" he said, smiling. "I got these clothes right out of my closet. The suit is Jacques Roy, Paris. Bought it at Barney's New York in 1986. The shirt is nine years old. The tie ten. And the shoes sixteen. That's years, man, years."
"Some of my trousers are tapered below the knee," I said. " Some are flared."
"And some. I'll bet, are straight," he said, laughing mischievously.
It was an exhilarating moment as I thought I might be able to wear those great clothes that I've cherished over the years. But it all weighed heavily on my mind. Could I stop believing that the day of my old clothing had passed?
Phil must have understood my dilemma.
"I say to those who feel they have to dress down. 'Go ahead if you feel you must dress to conform and forget who you really are.' Guys like you and me should dress for ourselves. You wear your Marty Sullivan. And I'll wear my Jacques Roy. We'll stay trim so we can fit into them, and we'll knock each other dead in the process.
"The alternative," he went on as he made for the door, "is to go out today and pay eight hundred and seventy-five dollars for an off-the-rack two-piece wool and synthetic blend suit, sixty-four dollars and fifty cents for a shirt that doesn't even have your exact sleeve length, forty-five for a tie and ninety-five dollars for a pair of shoes! Or worse, drop your self respect and get a pair of jeans and a tee shirt. Uhg!"
Flushed with excitement after Phil left, I wondered what it will be like when I come out with my old but in great shape Marty Sullivan suit , my old still crisp Ascot Chang custom shirt, the foulard I got years ago in Los Angeles and my brown English loafers, class of eighty-nine.
Will my age be showing?
So be it!
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