I went shopping last night, looking for a good brown belt. A man should have a good brown belt, I have always thought, and yet I have not owned one since high school. What I would really like is one with an old D-style buckle, but those appear to be out of fashion. It's like trying to find a good double-breasted suit: you cannot find one anywhere.
The worst thing, though, is that nearly all belts, particularly dress belts, are reversible. There is something inherently wrong with a reversible belt: a sort of crisis of identity and painful realization that the belt will never fully understand what it is or what it was designed to be a part of.
I also found myself looking at a variety of dress shoes. While what I would really like are a pair of brown dress boots, I found myself looking at a number of pairs of brown oxfords. This brought to mind a certain story I have not read yet, but that I love the title of: "The Short Happy Life of the Brown Oxford" by Philip K. Dick. I didn't buy any, but I have an idea of what I'm looking for, and that's what's really important. I suspect I will read the story before I purchase the shoes, because participation in mythic drama makes our lives meaningful.
Anyone who has shopped for dress shoes recently will know that men's dress shoes are now more like jester's shoes: long, pointed toes; or long, blocked toes. All they're missing are the damn bells. There is, perhaps, a reason that I am still relying on suits, shoes and accessories purchased in the late '90's. I have simply been unable to find clothes that I really like.
Not long ago, I replaced my messenger bag with an old World War II gas mask bag. It's a Mark VII, which some of you may recognize. I am pleased with this transition, as the bag is actually pretty good at carrying everything I need, is lighter than the messenger bag, and is very strongly constructed (designed, as it was, to withstand the Blitz). I very much like it. I bought it primarily because I've been working so damn hard, I really needed some sort of reward.
What's all this about? Well, my wardrobe has had to change with new responsibilities: jeans are entirely out, and I keep a suit jacket in my office "just in case." New shirts and pants and ties have all been purchased, as I'm building a wardrobe for an interview I hope to occur sometime in June or July. I even own a new pair of cuff links (the words "men's jewelry" had never appeared on a receipt for anything I had purchased before that: pictures of these most awesome cuff links are forthcoming).
It's amazing how the old adage "you have to spend money to make money" can apply so specifically to what you have to buy to fit in at your job. . .