Try to see the big picture: Clothes don’t always make the man

Try to see the big picture: Clothes don’t always make the man

Posted: Saturday, September 18, 2010 8:52 am

The Messenger 09.17.10

“Hey, I’ve got these extra-extra large sweaters and nobody in my family can wear them,” the female friend said. “Why don’t you take them? They should fit you.”
One will suffice, thank you.
The next weekend, I received a similar offer.
“Do you want this double-extra-large sweatshirt?” my friend asked. “I’m wearing ‘larges’ now so it’s way too big for me.”
I get it. I’m big.
OK, OK… I’m really big.
I could see that in my nephew’s wedding photos a couple of months ago (as if I didn’t already know it).
In the family photo, it looked like a big, bloated tick standing in the back.
After that, I committed to losing 30 pounds before my niece’s wedding, which is still a month away. Oops! It looks like I may have to remove an appendage to get down to my target weight — hopefully not a leg. Maybe a forearm will do.
Then again, maybe I’ll just do some fatboy shopping in the big-and-tall department for a triple-extra-large suit that will make it look like I’ve lost weight.
Speaking of new clothing, apparently some would rather offer me fashion tips instead of jumbo sweaters and sweatshirts.
During the last couple of months, some well-meaning friends have encouraged me to try a new line of clothing. Some have been rather insistent.
“So what’s the problem?” I asked. “What’s wrong with khakis and a button-down shirt or a golf shirt (even though I’m reminded often I can’t golf)?”
“It’s time you moved into the 21st Century,” said some, including my wife.
“But what I wear is timeless,” I responded. “It never goes out of style.”
That comment was met with a grin from my wife.
I’ve worn Levi’s jeans since I was in high school, which was 30 years ago, and I can still get them for around $25 and they last for years. I guess because I’ve gotten them at Homestead, Rural King and Tractor Supply they are not considered fashionable.
I don’t see the point in buying high-dollar jeans with the holes already worn into them and some fancy stitching — all for $100 or more, which to me translates into another couple of pairs of Levi’s.
My wife recently decided she was going to find me one of the presently-fashionable long-sleeved shirts with some stripes and cuffs with colorful designs visible only if they’re rolled up. Part of the acceptable 21st Century look is to have the shirt-tail out, which always gives me the feeling of wearing a carnival tent.
As if that weren’t enough, she told me I couldn’t wear my T-shirt with it, which made it feel even more strange.
Finally, I donned the attire (per her instructions) and, feeling very conspicuous, went to dinner, where I received several compliments. I suspect the praise was bribed from the people who offered it, but nonetheless, I forced an appreciative “thank you” in return.
When it was over, I quickly removed the attire, thinking that someone within a couple of years of 50 shouldn’t be worried about “stylin’ and profilin’” as professional wrestler Ric Flair used to say.
Besides, what if these fancy-schmantzy jeans and shirts turn out to be the leisure suits of this decade?
I still have the evidence from one of those purchases a few decades ago in the form of a burnt-orange leisure suit bought by a family member. I’ll have to say, it’s been worth years of laughter, but it, too, was once considered fashionable.
So with that, I say, “Get me my Levi’s, a golf shirt and, while you’re at it, super size it.”
As the old saying goes, “You can’t make a silk purse out of sow’s ear.”
David Critchlow Jr. may be contacted by e-mail at

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