Shuffling down the hallway in high school, I was behind a fellow student wearing a polo shirt, when I overheard the following exchange
Sweatsuit: Man, why are you so dressed up.
Polo: I have a job interview.
Sweatsuit: Well, you look good.
Me: [Thinking] Dressed up? Sad.
Dressing nicely is something I’ve always enjoyed. Even as a child I was drawn to fedoras, top hats, mirror-shined shoes, vests and ties. I asked for a white suit every Christmas and birthday from ages 6-10. My parents, in their infinite wisdom, knew that my LOVE of fine clothes, did not always directly translate into quality CARE of clothes. So, I never got a white suit. And, I’m really okay with that. These days, I don’t go for the white suits. I still wear a lot of shirts and ties, but mostly I add my flair with cufflinks and pocket squares. When I’m feeling extra dressy, I match my socks to my ties.
I was visiting friends in Maryland and Jeff, a friend of their family came over sporting the Uber-functional look of Vibram FiveFingers™, a minimalist shoe marketed as a more natural alternative for outdoor activities. Visually and functionally the footwear is meant to replicate being barefoot and has flexible soles contoured to the shape of the human foot, with VISIBLE individual sections for the toes. While I love the function, I can’t quite get over the form. So, from the outset, I couldn’t wrap my mind around the idea of wearing those even in the most casual situation.
We chatted a little about the shoes, and then he said the words which will ring in my ears until my dying day. “Yeah, I have two pair. This is my everyday pair. Back home I have my dress pair, for church and stuff.”
I’m pretty sure that the puff in my head was audible, as a tiny part of my brain exploded.
Knowing who I was, Jeff was being a bit tongue-in-cheek, but we both go very much our own separate ways in terms of attire. And, we have a good time doing it.