Wednesday, May 14, 2014

This is why I don't shop for clothes

I have worked in radio for over twenty years and have dressed in thrift shop duds for years. Why spend the money? My weight fluctuates and nobody is going to see me anyway.

I have a couple of suits, cheap but passable. I was saving one for my wake. May  as well look as good as possible when you're dead. You don't want the relatives bitching. I came home one day to find my suit gone. It had gone to Goodwill. "You're being cremated", I was told.

The other day we went off to the local outlet store mall. They have a large Brooks Brothers outlet there so I thought what-the-hell. It's an outlet, meaning it'll be cheap. And it's Brooks Brothers. I'm an old fashioned snob. To me, Brooks Brothers was the Kennedys and the flagship store in Back Bay. Not that I had ever set foot in said emporium in my life. The only Kennedys I've seen have been at 12 step meetings and they weren't dressed fancy.

Nevertheless,  I could use a dark suit (for my funeral) I'm called on to do a lot of public speaking. A new suit wouldn't hurt.  Likewise I needed some dress shirts. The thrift store had kept me in 75 cent cast offs for a good while. But hell, what could it hurt to be a brand new dress shirt, from a designer label no less-my first in 25 years.                                                                                                                                              

I don't know from J. Crew or anyone else's crew. There was an outlet store for Tommy Hilfiger. Do I really want to buy a shirt from someone named Tommy? I walked through the Polo-Ralph Lauren shop: Shirts in colors I never thought possible,  all with that little guy on the horse logo. I was beginning to feel like the hapless schmuck who asked for Orange Juice at Starbuck's. Don't do that. "We have banana-papaya we have tangerine-grape we have lemongrass-cantaloupe, we have the detoxing papaya citrus with cinnamon apple and we have the cleansing prune whip." When I repeated a request for OJ I got a panicked stare from the counter. What do I call them now? Waitperson; Waitstaff; Barrista ---if its a guy wouldn't it be Barristo?  Are we in Barcelona or  Rte. 315 in Columbus, Ohio?

I digress.

Several stores, pretty names. No dark suits. No white shirts. No solid ties.

Then there's Brooks Brothers.

The first thing I see is a large window display for Brook s Brothers Nursing Bras. Say what? In my day, BB was a men's store. Still, with all this genome testing  you never now. Did I miss that men need nursing bras? Sure enough I walked in and found a beautiful well kept store with a large sections for Women's Apparel. That, boys and girls is how long its been since I've shopped for clothes. In my day BB was a men's store.

Still, there were lovely colors, a nice ambiance and a zaftig manager named Carol. She and I were the only zaftig people in the place. And she as the boss. Carol very graciously showed me the generous selection of men's shirts. Nice pastel colors,  but I don't want to be laid out in lime green or orangeade, thank you very much. Lots of purple. Lilac, or Concord grape, you name it they got it. I'm not interested in purple They had nothing in the way of a gray flannel or dark suit. Yes, I know its coming on summer but this is the outlet store.

I digress again: Back in the day I would just for shit and giggles wander into Bloomingdale's or Macy's.  Every sales person in those stores weighed 29 pounds and would spray you with perfume. You left craving doughnuts and smelling like a gardenia masking your grandmother's rosewater. At more than one such person I would yell "Eat something!!"

Tangerine, said Carol. No.
Lime green, yet.

Back to Brooks Bros. I did find some nice shirts. I figure hell, I'll drop thirty bucks a piece on a BB shirt. Think again (And you don't have to laugh. Remember I said radio...over twenty years...) The shirts were marked $69.00 At the OUTLET store. Carol assured me, we knock off another thirty percent. Thirty percent for taffy apple stripes, or 'sand'? (They call off white shirts sand) So its about fifty bucks per. As opposed to 75 cents at the Thrift, ok, kick in a few bucks for dry cleaning and I don't wander about in shirtsleeves anyway. In addition to a profession where  by definition I'm not seen, I have all my life run to avoirdupois. Oh, fuck it, I'm fat. Sometimes partly  lean, as befits a man of my age. Sometimes fat. Sometimes, now moving in the wrong direction from lean to fat again . I am also what was once kindly called "Chesty". Man boobs have long been a problem that the costliest shirt doesn't mask. So if they're gonna float around anyway, I may as well go cheap, know what I'm saying?

Clothes shopping didn't work for me. The day was redeemed by the BOSE outlet and a nice payment plan enabling me to bring home a bread box sized terrific sound system. The better to play my operas full blast while contemplating the raft of white dress shirts I picked up for $2.50  in toto.

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