18 May 2013
Let It Come To You
To put it bluntly, this is a purple shirt, and I don't care for purple. In the now iconic book "Class", Paul Fussell berates all clothing purple as the mark of a prole. "If navy is the upper middle class color, purple is the prole equivalent."-Class, p. 52. Funny, and true. But let's not forget that books like Fussell's "Class" or, God help us, the infamous "Official Preppy Handbook" were never meant to be the hard and fast instruction manuals they seem to be regarded s today. They were meant to point out the foibles of both rich and poor in a way that was instructive in it's tongue in cheek humor. Still, I'm not a purple kind of guy.
Then I find this shirt for next to nothing at a thrift shop. It's my size, it's made of a really nice piece of cloth, and it's from the Andover Shop. I try not to be blinded by brand name, but this is one hell of a shirt...and its not really "purple" so much as its "lavender"....and even our man Paul said "colors are classier the more pastel or faded" ibid. So, even purple is acceptable if its pale, I guess.
So I buy it, take it home, wash it, and iron it. I see it in my closet, and don't know quite how I'll wear it. Then today it's really warm and sunny, and I need away to throw some new life into the Spring uniform that is navy jacket and tan pants. How about that purple shirt?
Immediately, I see that this shirt is a lot more workable than I might have thought at first. Yes, its some kind of purple, but it's very pale, and its very well made. I quickly realize that this shirt will work like a blue shirt, but with a whiff more style. Today, in an outfit that otherwise consisted of navy/white/khaki, it added just the right bit of dandy, and it was something I would never ave considered had I not found it by chance, and cheap.
I often advise that if you want to be successful at thrift shopping, it helps to throw out your expectations. You just can't walk into such a place looking for something as specific as "charcoal flat front flannels size 34". You can start by walking in to see what they have, that day. Then keep coming back. Then learn not to be blinded by brands, then develop a discerning eye, then lastly look at everything and keep an open mind. I would never walk into a retail store looking for a lavender shirt, and I certainly would not pay upwards of $100 for one. But in the end, I'm glad to have one. Certainly, personal style is something that comes from within,but it gets better when you step back a bit and let it come to you.