Many years ago, in the seventies, a young boy growing up in a trailer park in Arkansas had a dream. The dream was to never have to grow old and cut his hair and wear a suit and tie and loafers, but to have the kind of job where one could wear levis and t-shirts and tennies all day, every day.
The boy grew tall, handsome and bright, and he went off to college and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts. He became an Art Director, and worked in advertising agencies for many years. He wooed an imaginary girl on a mythical isle and she became real, and they married, and bought real estate in a fashionable neighborhood, and had sons.
True to his childhood vision, he wore levis and t-shirts and tennies everyday, and his blonde hair was rarely cut above his ears.
Then one day, the boy left corporate advertising and came home to work freelance. He worked very hard, and the enterprise wobbled a while, then prospered. He worked out of an office in the house, during hours of his choosing, and only occasionally did he have to meet with actual live people. The boy loved his work and would eagerly sit down to his Macintosh computer in the mornings, still in his bathrobe and comfy slippers.
Gradually, the bathrobe began to stay on later and later. As time wore on, the faded & baggy levis, the x-large ts (worn untucked), and worn-in converse sneakers began to seem rather formal. One day the boy's wife saw him coming down the street toward her, and commented that he looked rather more like someone going door to door to do yardwork, than someone who worked in the field of design.
The boy rolled his eyes.
The wife was in a bind. She did not care to be a controlling wife who dressed her husband. She respected his desire to be comfortable and "himself", and to expend as little energy as possible into thinking about what to wear. At the same time, she felt that crewneck sweatshirts and jeans with the knees ripped out did not do justice to the brilliant light that was her husband.
To complicate matters, the boy was a southern man, and did not cotton to be told what to do. "For god's sake, grow up," would not work as a call to change. She would have to be crafty.
"Tell you what," she said to the boy one day. "I will start doing your laundry..."
"It's about TIME you did something besides blog all day!," the boy exclaimed joyfully.
"...I will start doing your laundry IF you will agree to culling out your wardrobe drastically, and shopping for some new clothes that are mutually pleasing to us both."
The boy squinted suspiciously.
"Don't panic. I'm not asking you to wear a suit, or even lose the jeans and t-shirt dream. But there have to be wardrobe options out there that are no-brainers for you and will not cause neighbors and potential clients to hand you a rake."
The boy looked bemused. "And YOU'RE the fashion expert?"
"Good god, no!," the girl said. "But I know someone who is..."
Susan, will you play the fairy godmother in this story and help my Prince Charming see that looking presentable and feeling comfortable do not have to be mutually exclusive?
Our hero is 44 years old, about 5'10. While he grows only more handsome and sexy with the years, his midriff is somewhat more convex than it used to be. Which is possibly the reason behind the x-large t-shirts worn untucked. The ripped jeans, I can't explain. Perhaps homage to Cobain, one of his heroes.
Also, please note that I said I'd do his laundry, so easy on the special care and need-ironing garments.
Susan Wagner, Blogher fashion editor, aisledash columnist and all around spiffy person, has posted her excellent solution on Blogher. Thank God, it wasn't too late!