by Evan Stair

First let me say that I am not a fashion expert. As I close in on middle age I notice it less and less. You have to remember that I have seen the “long hair, lamb chop, hip-hugger-bell bottom” era to the current “anything weird goes” phase. I know that what annoys me today will be accepted in my eyes eventually. However quickly after I accept this current fashion trend, the youth of our nation get it into their heads that it is time to shock us once again.

Squeamish Job Interviews
What could be more shocking than a few teenagers getting strange tattoos and piercing body parts (especially the tongue or the navel?) However this is so common place today that I don’t really notice it anymore. I now accept these kids who are defacing their bodies.

Do they know that they are making job interviews more difficult? Then again since most kids are doing this today and they have gained my acceptance I figure the trend will end soon. The look no longer makes me squeamish; I now grin and shake my head in amusement. That pin in the tongue has to hurt.

In the past as a non-conformist I used to rebel against the current fashion craze. For example when men used to shave their sideburns off completely I grew relatively long ones just to the bottom of my ear. When white tennis shoes were the craze I purchased solid black cross training shoes. It was probably a mistake to continue wearing boot cut jeans to into the 1980 as a replacement for Bell Bottoms. Those were quickly replaced by Levi’s 501’s. This was to avoid the “preppie” look.

I have and never will wear a pink Arrow shirt with a fuzzy sweater tied around my waist. I am glad to see the buttoned collar, tie, and suit coat business trend begin to crack. This style has lasted much too long. It can not be healthy to tie a piece of silk around your neck in a business environment.

Styles of Rebellion
The Business Noose always gives me a headache cutting off blood flow to my brain. It may also have something to do with my escalating weight. Although corny, I liked the parody tuxedo black and white tee shirts. That was a good sign of rebellion. I had a boss a couple of years ago that would have turned a darker shade of red if I had worn that one to work. I always wanted to ask him, “Just how will my wearing a tie help me solve a differential equation?” This trend dies hard though.

I am still waiting for the day when I can wear tennis shoes, 501’s, and frayed tee shirt to work but I do appreciate the Dockers and collared shirts which are the trend today. Today my idea of formal wear is to make sure that my jeans are not too faded and a white arrow shirt with those darn black tennis shoes.

Clothing Trends Confusing
Fashion trends confuse me sometimes. Desmond Morris authored a book a few years ago trying to explain why humans do some of the things that they do. The book is titled Bodywatching. His basic premise is that anatomy and clothing evolves to mimic certain body parts. One has to take the book with a grain of salt. It seems to be less of a cerebral analysis than a peek show. However I believe the general premise to be true.

Why am I confused? Well some trends buck Morris’ theory. The Preppie trend seemed to make sissies out of men and even “sissie-er” out of women. Then there is the current loose fitting trend. This is not just to hide body shape. I have not quite figured this one out. When I was in high school the trend was to wear as tight fitting clothes as you could for obvious reasons. Maybe it is just for comfort?

One of the stranger trends that I have seen is the trend for women to wear shoulder pads in their formal suits. This is meant surely to emphasize the broad shoulders of a strong man. It probably does help in hostile business meetings. I wonder if this will always be considered an asset to women in the workplace?

Fashion by Age?
It is always funny to watch older people and their fashions. What draws older men to the jump suit? What draws older women to polyester stretch pants? They are long enduring fashion statements by those over fifty.

Are jeans no longer comfortable? Is it easier to put on a jump suit? I guess I will find out in a couple of decades. Then again I don’t think that tongue rings mix well with gray hair.

Some uniforms are impressive some comical. I miss the image of the railroad conductor with his starched white shirt, navy blue coat, gold buttons molded with the corporate logo, matching pants, and officer cap.

We need more of this in our service industries. I hate the goofy striped shirts, and hats that you see in fast food restaurants. What is more demeaning than serving preprocessed, deep-fat-fried fish in a pirate hat. Fly Southwest Airlines to see a neat clean impressive uniform.

In my perfect fashion world everyone would wear what is comfortable except for railroad conductors who would wear their historic apparel.

Start a trend tomorrow at work. Wear whatever feels good . . . that is unless you are a fashion model.