From The Essential Man:
On the Art of Wearing Clothes
When my first serious girlfriend in New York and I were together, we decided to have a date night at this little restaurant in the West Village. I did the usual, checked to see if we still had reservations, re-pressed my new Thom Browne button up shirt and did a last minute check on the weather.
“40% chance of rain.” I told her, “Should we bring an umbrella just in case?”
She assured me it wasn’t necessary and we left.
After dinner the inevitable happened. It rained. Noah’s Ark type rain. And luck would have it that I decided to wear a leather jacket that night as well.
One thing you will learn about the West Village is that not only are the streets a maze to navigate, but there are absolutely no taxis within a 10-mile radius.
We ran through the streets, her covering herself with her coat. Me, desperately looking for an awning to protect my new, extremely expensive outfit.
By the end of the night, we were both soaked and I was carrying her on my back, gentlemanly allowing myself to ruin my dress shoes by stepping through the vast pools of water until we finally flagged down a taxi.
When we got back to my apartment in Noho I took off my jacket to find that I was now covered in gray blobs. My leather jacket had bled, bled all over my new $300.00 dress shirt. I rushed to the bathroom to try and salvage it but every home remedy in the book proved useless.
I was upset. We argued. I blamed her for convincing me we didn’t need an umbrella. She offered to buy me a new shirt, but in the end I proclaimed it was alright and the now tie-dyed number was laid to rest in the darkest part of my closet.
In retrospect, I did a silly, stupid, but not uncommon thing.
When I recall this memory, no longer is it a beautiful image of me in love, running through the streets of New York in the rain with a beautiful girl. The memory is now of us, in my apartment, arguing over clothes. And when I pulled that shirt out from my closet for the last time after we had broken up, I didn’t see that image of her riding piggyback as I navigated over puddles, but of me hunched over my bathroom sink, pouring copious amounts of Oxyclean on the stains.
I can’t speak for previous generations for obvious reasons, but when I hear stories today about grown men getting into fist fights because one man stepped on another man’s brand new sneakers, I can’t help but think.
In 20, 30 years, if your son were to find those same pair of shoes in your closet, is a story of you fighting another man because he happened to put his foot on your foot in passing something you would be proud to tell?
In these economic times I can certainly understand wanting to take care of possessions you spend money on, but I would certainly give all the money in the world to erase that little part of my story if it meant I would one day give my son the stained dress shirt. And tell him the story of how his father was once madly in love in New York.
A man wearing his father’s 35 year old suit (via The Sartorialist)
I’m far from religious, but I do consider myself spiritual. And there’s something magical when you see something like a man wearing his father’s tattered suit. Not only do you want to know about that man, but you want to know about his father and his father’s story of that suit. Wear clothes like you actually live life. Don’t treat them as if you are a curator of a museum.
That’s soul right there.