. . . I wasn’t expecting to become a fashion influencer.
I hate shopping for clothes. Hate, hate, hate it. This is because I don’t look good in them. (That doesn’t mean I look good out of clothes, mind you, and sorry for the visual.) But I’m oddly constructed. In addition to being a really big guy to start with, nearly all my height is in my torso. Seriously — I’m 6′ 4″, with a 32-inch inseam. I believe the technical term for this is “gerbil legs.” Add to that a general talent for schlubbiness, and as my father said, “[Mondo], you could get everything bespoke from Savile Row, and you’re still gonna look like Joe Shit the Rag Man.” (On the other hand, my brother was something of a clothes horse in years gone by. That’s no longer relevant to him, I guess, but there’s more to life than nattiness.)
So anyway, since I realized a long time back that I was gonna look like JStRM regardless of what I did, and since I realized that clothes for people my size cost money I could be spending on books and music, I decided that my wardrobe choices were going to be driven by my own comfort and/or amusement. I have a sport coat, a dress shirt (short sleeved — like I said, schlub) and a couple of ties. In point of fact, I probably need a new sport coat — I was much heavier when I bought the old one — but that would involve shopping for clothes, about which see above.
Apart from that, my wardrobe generally consists of neutral-colored chinos or shorts (I live in a warm climate) and T-shirts, with the occasional polo/golf shirt as a change of pace. Fortunately, I’m a) an academic and b) at my career ceiling, which allows me room for a degree of eccentricity. (Okay, I was eccentric well before I was an academic, but now it’s expected.)
Today, though, I’m talking about the T-shirts. My T-shirt collection is long on some of the stranger recesses of popular culture, including pre-Code comic book art, pulp fiction (the genre, not the movie), exploitation cinema, and music, to go along with more standard gear showing my support for various college athletic programs. In any case, I’m comfortable in them, and if they contribute to that ethos of eccentricity I mentioned earlier, well, that’s okay too.
But an interesting thing that’s happened in the past couple of weeks is that on a few occasions, students have approached me before or after class, or in the hallways or around campus, telling me they like my shirts and in some cases asking where they can find those or similar designs. Apparently graphic T-shirts have become hip of late, but my more outré selections offer a certain je ne sais quoi that some of the students are digging.