It took me long enough, but I finally got it. It seems like for years, my dad had been trying to get me into sharing the same fashion taste as he; and, for whatever reason, I just didn’t want to get with the program.
Suffice to say, he’s smooth. I don’t believe that I can remember a time where I’ve seen him in jeans, sweats, or gym shoes. Before LL Cool J, I ascribed the Kangol brand with him. My mind still recalls all the exotic dress shoes, suit bags, and hat boxes that lined the corner of his closet; makeshift or otherwise. He taught me how to perfect a Windsor knot, the purpose of cuff links and a tie bar. A three-piece suit was tantamount to a three course meal. (And he liked Italian a lot.)
Unfortunately… As previously stated, I was just not into getting gussied up unless it was for a special event; and even then it was begrudgingly. However, it seemed as if when I crossed over the 30-year-old mark, there was a change within me. Maybe it was due, in part, to the change in careers; the fact that as a parent I would be going to more parent/teacher conferences in light of the little one entering pre-K; my wife would want me to look half-way decent as I accompanied her on social gatherings. In any event, like a light bulb, I got switched on.
Now, I can’t go past a Bachrach without peeking inside; and I finally caved and got one of those subscription clothing memberships. I have the three basic suits every dude should have, and I want more. I know how to tie a bow tie. A bow tie! My dad couldn’t be happier. He now passes along to me shirts that he accidentally bought “a size or two too big” knowing that I wasn’t just going to throw it in some closet and forget about it.
It has made me feel good (and look good, incidentally) walking around in a starched collared button-down, creased slacks, a fresh pair of K-Swiss, and spritzed with a non-familiar fragrance; this is contrary to the belief that I would somehow appear as some stiff, old man. I guess in some way I was also admitting to getting older but not simply old.
It irritated me, even as a younger man, when I saw guys in their 30’s, 40’s, and so forth, dressing like they were still in high school. Conversely, it also looked weird when I saw a guy in jeans, silken dress shirt, and dress shoes with no socks. Neither of those had to be me. And furthermore, neither did having to denounce ever wearing gym shoes and sweats.
I’d mentioned that my dad was smooth. It was partially rooted in his dress, sure. But being “smooth” is more of a personality trait than it is descriptive. This embodiment of his would’ve made him so in tee shirt and jeans (although it would’ve looked weird to me after all this time). So, it wasn’t necessarily a fashion sense that finally clicked with me; it was something more… intrinsic. And it’s all thanks to my dad.