Yellow university stripe oxford is a tough fabric to find. I've told you about this before. In fact, everyone who had it two months ago seems to be out of it. Nelson Mui of David Chu Design surprised me with this shirt last week while generously offering a venue for my interview with Robert Bryan. I gotta read my horoscope 'cause stuff like this never happens to me.
It's a beauty of a shirt. At 11 ounces (I weigh shirts as well as wear them) it's in the ball park of MTM but shy of the 13 1/2 ounces you get at Mercer & Sons (we'll get to Mercer next week). While the pattern matching yoke to sleeve isn't dead on --it's pretty darned close. That's amazing.
That's the great news. Bad news. It's made in China and you have to go to Dillard's. Whatever that is. Swear to God, never been to one. The shirt comes in a profusion of bright colors like Lime Green but it's still an oxford.
Primary colors. Blue, yellow and red. The Trad hallmark as far as I'm concerned. And it is with this observation that I pass along some advice. Never forget how you look to others. Got that? It may save your life.
I know a lot of you don't give a hoot about what other people think of you. And that's fine. But I'm talking about something else. When you're strolling around in a cardigan sweater, a bow tie and a yellow stripe oxford - you're sending a message. Robert Bryan does a brilliant job defining this in his book. He writes, "Because menswear is so precise, the smallest selections, such as bow tie, work boots, round glasses, or a fedora, can speak volumes about the character of the man who wears them."
I often forget what I'm wearing. Or driving. And that can spell trouble.
There's a lotta baggage that comes with this car. Never mind it's a 2002 model with over 100,000 miles on it and worth less than a Hyundai. I moved to New York City in this car and parked it in a midtown garage for a couple of months. Just before Christmas, the Golf Foxtrot and I headed south on the NJ Turnpike. I pulled into one of the first gas stations and when I got out of the car to fill up a young kid comes running over to me, "Full service, full service!"
I give him a credit card and he swipes it, sticks the hose in my tank and runs off to another car. I'm a quart low of oil (always) and I grab a quart I carry in the car (always), pop the hood and top off my oil. The windows are caked thick in some frozen kind of dirt from the parking garage. I'm looking for a squeegee but all the windshield wiper buckets are dry and there's not a squeegee anywhere.
The attendant comes back again, yanks the hose outta the tank and I ask, "Do you have any squeegees?" "No," he says handing me my credit card and receipt and off he goes. As he's leaving I say, "You call this full fucking service?" He stops and turns and says, "What did you say?" And I say, "You call this full fucking service." And he replies, "Yeah, well fuck you!" And I reply, for lack of any better words, "Fuck you!"
I hear laughing and turn to see the other attendants who appear to be enjoying this immensely. As I walk to the car, my attendant shouts out, "Merry Fucking Christmas!" At which point I try to be more personal and shout back, "Happy Fucking Three Kings! I get in the car and drive off. The Golf Foxtrot, who is not happy with my behaviour, lets me have it. That's another post unto itself. After she stops we ride in silence for two and a half hours.
Why did he go off? I dunno. Maybe the car and the Florida tags could have something to do with it. He was busting his ass in the freezing cold two nights before Christmas and I'm sure I was asshole number 37 that night. The Shaggy Dog Shetland, hi water chinos, pink socks and Bean Moccasins could have also added hi test to the fire. He was Hispanic. I'm Nordic. We both end in 'icks.' I'd probably go off on myself that night given the right circumstances--of which there were many.
Sometimes I forget how I appear to others. I also know I'm not how other people see me. Yet, I can barely see myself which may be part of the problem. So, tread easy in bow ties and cardigans and shirts of primary colors. Just because we're well dressed doesn't mean we have to be assholes about it.