A Nurse with a Gun

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Xavier on Fashion

I went out to do some clothes shopping yesterday. At one time in my life, when people were still doing the Hustle and digital media was a dream, I was a clothes horse. I would scan GQ and buy the latest styles. I do credit the Capezio shoes with helping me dance better, but the square bottom knit sock ties were bore patches waiting to happen. Times changed. I got older, wiser, I found less time for fashion frivolity. Over time, I simply began to become more discriminating with my time, and clothes shopping became a burden to be endured every three years or so. I would avoid it all together and let my wife buy my clothes, but I learned that was a bad idea. The first time I crawled under the car in a $70 T-shirt she bought for me, I regretted it. Classic styles stay in style. Classic styles mean I do not have to go back see the local suit peddler until I gain weight or the one I have is threadbare.

I learned it's easy to pack a gun under a sports coat. I have a small collection of sports coats for that purpose, actually. I try to find a Chaps by Ralph Lauren sports coat in a weave I can tolerate and a size I can fit into. They hide a pistol nicely. I wear a 50 Long. Not an easy find there...... But when you think about it, even the brand name is pretentious... Chaps.... by Rrrralph Llllauren.... These aren't chaps dude. Why the hell are you calling your brand "Chaps?" Lifestyle marketing at it's finest. The item I selected was a single breasted two button tropical weight Navy blazer. There ain't many cowboys wearing this jacket at the rodeo.....

I detest the squirrley young salesmen in the men's department too. They saunter up and introduce themselves, sticking their hand out in a businesslike way as though they were an executive. I'm sorry......I'm not stupid. I was that age once too, and I just can't help but picture them clocking out, stripping off the silk tie and the stylish store haberdashery, then putting on a T shirt and saggy pants with a ball cap on crooked, and getting into their fluorescent green rice burner and cruising my neighborhood with their rumble thumping rap noise beating on my walls. At their age I was liberating countries, quelling insurrections, converting virgins, and sailing the globe like a giant among men. I'm not impressed by a head full of grease and an overpriced tie around your neck. Nothing against a young man trying to make an honest living, but damn kid, have some respect and leave the pretentious bullshit at the barn when dealing with an old man. You will sell more and your customers will come back. Yeah, this sports coat I am wearing was custom tailored by Mr. Son in Hong Kong. I don't think your off the rack stuff can match it, but I don't have the inclination to return to Kowloon to have another one made. At any rate, I managed to find a tropical weight Navy blazer in my size that will hide a pistol while making me look decent. Navy blazers are great. They will work with a T shirt and jeans, khakis or slacks.

Shoes, I found to be a whole 'nuther matter in 2008. For casual wear, I prefer the Sperry Top Sider look. Lets face it. I was a sailor. I still think nautical. I like the ability to slip my bare feet into a boat shoe and still look some what respectable. Boat shoes can go with shorts, jeans or khakis. When I actively sailed, I would wear flight deck boots on deck, or neoprene dive boots on the deck of sail or motor boats, but I digress...... I don't really like the Sperry brand, because their razor cut siping eventually splits the sole of the shoe right at the ball of the foot. I want something durable so I won't have to go back shopping again. Thus, I lean towards the leather Timberland brand. Other types of shoes that I will wear include loafers, (but I leave the tassels to the attorneys) single color oxfords or wingtips, and hiking boots. Sports shoes are relegated to when I am participating in sports. It's just the way I was raised, I guess.

It is depressing to find that there are few classic styles among men's casual leather shoes today. Everything looks as though it was constructed for a diabetic at risk for amputation or an astronaut. The blending of sports attire and casual attire has resulted in men's shoes that are laughably ugly. Maybe I'm just being old fashioned, but I just want something on my feet that will last a couple of years, keep me from landing on my ass if I slip, and will not make me look stupid. In other words, I want the blue blazer of shoes, and it has gone into hiding.

Finally, with Little Darling's prodding, I relented and purchased three pairs of shoes. One is a moccasin style loafer with a segmented sole that reminds me of the pads on a dog's foot. Totally weird. Next, I decided on a pair of Timberland shoes that looked to be a cross between a sports shoe and a brogan. Finally, to ease the pit in my stomach, I bought some khaki canvas Top Siders. Then I grabbed Little Darling's hand and escaped the clutches of consumerism. Hopefully, I will not have to make another foray for a few years........

I'm going shootin'.



Anonymous Travlin said...

Have you checked out Land's End? They have classic durable clothes, a good web site, and excellent service. Once you settle on what you like you never have to "go shopping" again.

11:54 AM  
Blogger BobG said...

"Why the hell are you calling your brand "Chaps?""

Maybe they're advertising for this place. LOL

1:42 PM  
Blogger Ed Skinner said...

Oh geeze, I had to follow bobg's link -- now I'm blind!

5:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Land's End is good, so is LL Bean. I used to buy Chaps but the quality dropped a bit after Ralph Lauren sold the brand.

6:53 PM  
Anonymous Alex said...


My favorite shoe manufacturer has stopped making the classic model I like! I can't find them anywhere. Next time I find a pair of leather shoes I like, I'm buying two extra pairs just so I won't have to go shoe shopping again for another few years.

7:38 PM  
Blogger Will said...

"Style counts, fashion discounts."

As a vintage (1930-1950s) clothing enthusiast, collector and wearer I know exactly what you mean. They don't make clothing like they use to.

You might be interested in that site, X, as well as my style blog.


10:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Xavier, try the sperry gold cups. they have a much better and tougher sole on them that doesn't have those weak points to split.

1:36 AM  
Anonymous beth said...


6:26 AM  
Anonymous Perry said...

Got all my favorite famous brands in shoes, cosmetics & clothes from Boscovs.

7:09 AM  
Blogger Jonathan said...

Shoees: Rockports have always worked for me. A classic Rockport oxford shoe is very comfy.

2:51 PM  
Anonymous Pitter said...

Thanks for sharing!! Well, your choice about shoes are excellent.

5:42 AM  
Anonymous Gun Blobber said...

I know that most people cannot get away with this, but my nearly 100% "shoe" is a Teva flip-flop style sandal in dark brown leather (so they look relatively dressy, for flip-flops). I have had three pairs, and each has lasted me slightly over a year. I honestly probably wear them 330 days out of the year. I don't really have a problem with my feet getting cold, so I will often wear them down to about 30 degrees Fahrenheit. They are extremely comfortable, even when walking long distances. Also, when wearing them my feet don't get sweaty and stinky. My feet can create quite a stench when trapped in stuffy shoes with moisture-absorbing socks. In the flip-flops, my feet never smell. At the end of the day I can try to smell them, and they simply do not smell. Furthermore, the soft leather pampers my feet and gradually molds to fit them. Blisters, callouses, etc. are never a problem. The bottoms of my feet are softer than anybody's that I have seen. Softer than my mom's, my girlfriend's, my sister's.... Further benefit: I seldom have to wash socks! As I said, I know that not many working people can get away with wearing flip flops every day, but I can, and I love it.

IMO the "Chaps" label is referring to the British usage, i.e. "How are you doing, old chap?" Kind of snooty.

5:44 PM  

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