Saturday, July 23, 2011

Plaids and stripes forever

My wife and I were driving home from running some errand the other day when she suddenly blurted out, "Wow. Lookit that."

She was pointing to an elderly gentleman (at least, I think he was elderly. He could have been wallowing in that appropriately gray area between middle age and elderlyness) on the sidewalk who was wearing stylish plaid shorts, which he had keenly accented with a vertically striped shirt.

In the lexicon of my computer, OMG.

I've got to tread lightly here. My intention is not to make fun of this individual. I don't know his circumstances. I, myself, usually don't go to great lengths to achieve anything resembling Gentlemen's Quarterly. I'm perfectly content to wear my T-shirts untucked. Occasionally, I wear socks (albeit footies) with my Crocs. I can be so uncool.

But, jeez, plaid on stripes? If it's true that clothes make the man, then what man makes that decision in the morning? Is there no partner for him to turn for advice? Good Lord, is there no mirror?

But it got me to thinking — there for the grace of God... I mean, will there be a point in my life when a synapse in my brain misfires and plaid with stripes is suddenly the meaning-of-life answer for which I've been searching?

There's a close derivative to this dress code. If the time comes when plaid or madras shorts makes perfect sense to me, then what color should my knee socks be? White? Black? I guess it all depends on my sandals.

I've actually seen this sartorial statement on my early morning walks. There's a gentleman (there's always a gentleman) on the walking trail who wears baggy black shorts that reach down to the top of his knees. That's complemented by the white knee socks that rise up and leave his only his patellas exposed and not much else.

My question is, what's the point of wearing shorts and knee socks if you're basically covering everything else anyway? Especially on a sweltering summer day. Where is the comfort factor?

I have to hit the pause button here for a moment. The issue of shorts — and buying them — can get me riled. While I enjoy my cache of cargo shorts, I'm finding it more and more difficult to find men's shorts that are cut above the knee. Shorts that drop to mid-calf seem to defeat the purpose, and I'm not really into the gangsta rapper look anyway. Maybe Old Navy is not for me.

I seem to be noticing a phenomenon where men's shorts are getting longer (big issue with me, plus, I'm showing my age) while women's shorts seemingly are getting shorter (no complaint here, plus, that's an ageless expectation).

I blame the men's thing on Michael Jordan. I think the long, baggy shorts date back to his basketball days when he would catch his breath on the foul line and stretching his shorts legs to his knees. Be like Mike took over when I still wanted to be like me. Who saw that coming?

Anyway, I have to wonder if I'm approaching a time in my life when women will point at me and say "Lookit that." I might be the one wearing the plaid shorts with the paisley shirt.

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