Wednesday, April 01, 2009


Over the weekend The Flatmate and I both decided that we needed some new clothes, so we drove over to Harbour Town to get some pairs of jeans and, in my case, some new shoes.

I rather like clothes. I like the fact that you can communicate different things about yourself simply by changing your jacket or wearing a different pair of pants. One of my ex-The Flatmates was a keen sartorialist, and he gave me a lot of his wardrobe whenever he got bored with (or too fat for) it. Through him I developed my taste for good suits, well-cut shirts and wearing the right socks.

For the current The Flatmate, however, any effort is too much effort when it comes to clothes. He regards fashion as some sort of vast, insidious conspiracy that has taken over the world, and his attitude to all clothing-related matters tends to be one of passive resistance: he'll wear clothes, but he won't make it easy for them. Clothes to him should be simply acquired; a mixture of hand-me-downs, free polo shirts from work with corporate logos on them, and random items that blow off the neighbour's washing line into one’s yard. The fact that he has to make a point of buying them is an imposition, to be handled with considerably less engagement than buying groceries or unpacking the dishwasher.

Suffice to say that The Flatmate and I were coming at this whole clothes lark from different angles. But once we got to Harbour Town we both agreed that it wasn't the most satisfying way to spend a Sunday afternoon. There were a number of reasons for this:

1. It was crowded, being one of the few centres in the backward city that is allowed to open on a Sunday. Some people may enjoy jostling with others over a big pile of discounted cargo pants, but none of those people are men.

2. Most men feel put upon when they shop for clothes. There's a distinct gender inequity. If a girl walks into a shop and buys a guy's shirt with the obvious intention of wearing it, it's absolutely unremarkable. If a guy walks into a shop and buys a girl's shirt with the obvious intention of wearing it, he's either a clueless idiot or some sort of freak. As such, we men are painfully afraid of turning the wrong way in the clothing shop, lest we accidentally start flicking through a rack of girls' shirts and incur the ridicule of everybody present.

Don’t laugh. It could totally happen.

3. Then there's the business of Trying Things On. We men are not great triers on of things. I suspect that this is because we don't like to think that we don't know what we want. While it may delight a girl to try on six pairs of jeans to find the best ones, it just makes a man feel indecisive. After all, if we can't immediately tell what sort of jeans we want, what hope do we have when it comes to decisions that actually mean something?

In the end I got my shoes and jeans, and The Flatmate got his jeans and a shirt, and neither of us particularly enjoyed the experience. The only good thing to come out of it was that I now know that, thanks to the last three months of strenuous dieting, I’m back to buying normal jeans... as opposed to those lesser trousers that must make tailored allowances for the shortcomings of their owners, if you know what I mean.

Unfortunately, buying some new clothes has made me realise that entropy has been accelerating in my wardrobe. My daily suit is frayed around the cuffs, and there's a tear in the lining. One of my business shirts is noticeably faded on the front compared to the back. And last night I was brushing some dust off my shirt when I snagged my little finger in the breast pocket and tore a hole in the aged cotton. Pair all that with the fact that a good percentage of my clothes are now too big for me, and the wardrobe starts to look like what a real estate agent might call a “fixer upper”.

It seems that I’ll need to go to Harbour Town again. Dammit.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You'll be jostling with all those who have benefitted from Kevin Rudd's largesse! Jaymez

4:01 PM  
Blogger Blandwagon said...


I thought they were all supposed to be at Harvey Norman buying plasma televisions?

4:35 PM  
Blogger TimT said...

I always assume that trying things on is a bit rude, since it leaves your odour all over these nice fresh clothes that other people have to buy.

I've acquired a few hats and ties (bow or normal) over the past few years, but yeah. A lot of the time, I just get them given to me. From Mum or my aunt. I'm happy to remain their clothes horse, it saves time and trouble.

6:02 AM  
Anonymous TroyG said...

Since '99 the only clothes I buy new are shoes, socks and daks. Anything else I buy secondhand - or get HMDs (hand-me-downs).

In fact I've become so used to having no money that I sometimes won't buy clothes _from a secondhand store_ if they aren't on sale.

Yes, that's right. I might not buy a pair of jeans at $8 because I've come to think of $8 as expensive. Maybe next week, if they have a half-price special on certain items, I'll buy the jeans. Now, I can't spare the money.

12:18 PM  

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