I have always liked to dress. I don’t know what “dressing up” means except to put on a costume. In a sense, changing our look with clothes is like putting on a costume. I guess it depends on the context. When I say I like to dress, I mean I like to wear nice clothes that have a certain polish to them. For the longest time, I wore suits, jackets, and ties. Even in high school, I enjoyed the more formal or dressier look.
As I look back on some pictures and talk with my friends, I laugh at the absurdity of some of the things we thought looked good in fashion. 80’s hair, mullets, tight rolled jeans, MC Hammer pants, and double-breasted suits. We were a “fly” bunch of folks in those days. But at the time, we felt houte couture and no one could tell us otherwise.
In our local mall, there was a suit shop that sold tuxedos (I had two) and semi-formal wear including newer fashions that were outside the ordinary plain men’s suit. I was browsing through one day and noticed a sweet grey suit, baggy in style with a double-breasted jacket. I could say that it would have been the perfect outfit if I were appearing at the Arsenio Hall show. After trying it on and getting assistance with a matching shirt and tie, I went home, got out the Singer, and make my alterations to the pants putting my cuff at full break.
Did I mention that I am color blind?
Yes, I am color blind. I see most blends of greys, hews of blue, and shades in that end toward green and white as grey. Purple also looks grey and mustard green can often just be pale yellow. The next day at school I was dressed to audition for the next clown crew, not looking sharp and fly.
My suit was pure purple. My shirt was mustard. My tie didn’t matter because no one could see it in the clownery of my getup. I was dead inside long before it became a meme.
Needless to say, I was carpet-bombed with jokes, jeers, and stares. I took off the jacket and tie and put on a windbreaker. The purple pants held their own. While it was embarrassing, it wasn’t really that bad. I held my own as an upperclassman at 6’1″ and had a reputation for being serious yet comedic. So, it was all in good nature. But, I never wore that outfit again.
It’s interesting to think about 33 years later how serious something like this was back then. For some people, that kind of thing could have been terrifying. My friend Joel once wore a classic pair of vintage bell bottom jeans that belonged to his dad from the 60’s. They were classic. He was mocked so badly that he “tight rolled” them making it worse.
Isn’t it odd how our view of something can be completely destroyed by other people? I mean, if that suit was grey and I liked it, people could have laughed all they wanted and I would have worn it the next day just to prove a point. But, once it became purple in my mind, I hated it. Joel loved those vintage jeans, but when our peers made fun of him, it was over. Our joy and perspective change drastically based on what other people think and as that takes place, our behavior can be manipulated.
Moments like these should give us a good laugh. We need to learn to laugh at ourselves more than we loathe experiences.
Do you have an experience like this where other people’s actions changed your own passions? How did you manage it? What did you learn?
Let’s talk more about how we should understand life and relate to others. I’d love to hear from you, put your thoughts in the comments below.