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Shoes, bags, and shopping for accessories - Chronarchy

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March 11th, 2008


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12:47 pm - Shoes, bags, and shopping for accessories
It has been a full couple of days. Yesterday was full of win, for instance. Today is looking up, but I'm still riding high from yesterday.

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. . .
Current Location: Southeast of Disorder
Current Mood: amusedamused
Current Music: "Defying Gravity", -JB

(21 comments Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:tesinth
Date:March 11th, 2008 05:19 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, before I started this gig I always had a uniform and hence didn't have to worry about dress clothes, just kept jeans for after-work wear. Now I get the worst of both worlds, I have to dress business (very) casual (slacks and polo or short sleeve button-up shirt usually), but my job still requires me to get dirty and as such I tend to ruin my clothes very fast, just the other day I ruined pretty much a brand new $35 shirt after squeezing through an access panel, well actually between a pipe and unfishished brick wall in the pipe chase...
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:March 11th, 2008 05:25 pm (UTC)
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I'm fortunate not to go through clothes very quickly, though I appear to be running through pants a lot faster than I used to. I attribute that to the crap quality of what I've gotten, though: they look good for a few wears, but they're not designed for the kind of punishment I put on clothes.

I had to buy some new kakhis last night, because I'm down to about four pairs and I can't do nearly enough laundry to keep up with that on this schedule. I'm currently wearing a pair of dressy work pants that have been holding up alright, though. Problem is, they're just not dressy enough.

I can't complain, though: it's always been a dream of mine to have a job where I could wear a suit every day.

I'm getting there.
[User Picture]
From:tesinth
Date:March 11th, 2008 05:30 pm (UTC)
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I certainly wouldn't mind wearing a suit everyday, although it might be a bit impractical at my current gig, delivering packages and fixing equipment in a suit tends to draw attention. Hell, people comment when I wear a long sleaved shirt in.

BTW, this has got to be the most masculine conversation ever, even though we haven't talked about clashing colors or what hue of white goes best with our skin tone... :)
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:March 11th, 2008 05:43 pm (UTC)
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Well, I figured on a 50/50 chance that you'd either make fun of me for posting about clothing and accessories, or you'd go with the above-type response. :)

You free tonight? I think we need to find someplace that cooks bacon and have a manly dinner.
[User Picture]
From:tesinth
Date:March 11th, 2008 05:48 pm (UTC)
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Hey, if bacon is involved, I can always be free, until I get a girlfriend that is, and even then...
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:March 11th, 2008 05:53 pm (UTC)
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*nods* Bacon comes on cheeseburgers, right? At least there, we can make it happen. I'm trying to think of anywhere else that might have it, aside from Bob Evans.
[User Picture]
From:tesinth
Date:March 11th, 2008 06:03 pm (UTC)
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I'll put on the ol' thinking cap, saw a place on the travel channel (down south, surprise, surprise) that served "Bacon Steaks", about a two-inch cut of pork belly (w/ the length of regular bacon), looked SO good!, instant heart attack, but looked damn good... We could always buy a few pounds and cook her up at home, then you get that bonus bacon smell lurking around the house for a few days, sure your vegan roommate would love that. Want to just swing by my place after you get off? Hopefully nothing will keep me here tonight.
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:March 11th, 2008 06:11 pm (UTC)
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Sure. I have no idea what time I'll be headed out (I'm remarkably busy today), but I'll call before I swing by.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]
From:rfunk
Date:March 11th, 2008 05:48 pm (UTC)
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Working at home FTW!
[User Picture]
From:tesinth
Date:March 11th, 2008 06:05 pm (UTC)
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Hell, if I were working from home, why would I bother with clothes at all? Granted, when tele-conferencing gets more main stream I might have to start wearing a shirt, but until then... (sorry, know you don't need any visuals, as I don't need any visions of you working at home au natural).
[User Picture]
From:rfunk
Date:March 11th, 2008 07:12 pm (UTC)
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I actually end up wearing at home pretty much what I'd wear to the office, or maybe a bit more casual depending on the weather. (My idea of business-casual may be a little more casual than some people's.) But it's hard to think about work when I don't feel dressed for work.
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:March 11th, 2008 05:54 pm (UTC)
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I used to wear jeans and t-shirts. I stopped that a while ago, though, in an effort to move up. My wardrobe has been slowly evolving over time, so I expect to start wearing a jacket regularly at some point this summer, and then adding a tie perhaps this autumn.

That's just a guess: I can't call it a set plan :)

(Also, I will need a haircut. . .)
[User Picture]
From:ariansdreams
Date:March 11th, 2008 06:04 pm (UTC)
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I just got a new job, and oddly, I will have to buy more clothes to "dress down" for it! My previous work clothes are too fancy, and my "everyday" clothes are just manky, consisting of mostly ripped jeans and stained sweatshirts, along with t-shirts I got for free. So yeah. Must buy new, nice "casual" clothes. It is kind of fun!
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:March 11th, 2008 06:13 pm (UTC)
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Jobs are interesting things, and the amount of work we put into them outside of their usual domain is very curious to think about. :) I dress up, you dress down. Apparently tesinth wouldn't dress at all if he could get away with it :)
[User Picture]
From:wylde_chylde99
Date:March 11th, 2008 07:01 pm (UTC)
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i love a man in shiny, sexy shoes :)
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:March 12th, 2008 01:16 pm (UTC)
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A good pair of shiny shoes can go a long way. There's something about learning how to shine your shoes that's a sort of rite of passage for young men. It's a dying art, though, and lots of short cuts have made their way into the industry.

But a scuffed shoe still says, "You know, I don't really care about you."

I love shining mine. It's very relaxing.
[User Picture]
From:verginiamus
Date:March 11th, 2008 09:27 pm (UTC)
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Try having size 16 feet, and look for men's dress shoes. My son hates shoe shopping for that reason.

He's 6 foot 7inches. Big. So clothes is a big (pun intended) issue. Somehow, folks assume that tall people come in only one size - long legs. He is equal in trunk and legs. So suit buying is going to the tailor's and getting one made.

I am glad your shopping was more fruitful.

[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:March 12th, 2008 01:19 pm (UTC)
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I'm also an odd size: I'm a "43 extra long athletic-cut" when it comes to suits. That size, though, doesn't exist. Extra longs only start at 44's, which are too large for me, and athletic-cut fits are rare on the shelves.

But I found a couple of suits that fit well and looked good when I was out. I found them at cheaper places like Kohls, though.
[User Picture]
From:verginiamus
Date:March 12th, 2008 03:53 pm (UTC)
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Isn't odd that people need to conform to the sizes of the manufacturers? Since most of us are not a regular anything in our bodies at least clothing wise.
[User Picture]
From:smithing_chick
Date:March 12th, 2008 04:55 am (UTC)
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I need to expand my "office" work clothes wardrobe, but I need to get an office work type job in order to do so. :-P I've got plenty of "studio" work clothes, except for jeans. I *have* jeans, I just don't fit into any of them. :-P

Aside from the metaphysical issues of a reversable belt, they're usually made from bonded leather, which is essentially ground up leather bits mixed with glue & run through a roller to give it a proper "leather grain" surface. Bonded leather is absolute shite. Look for top grain cowhide. Too bad Ed's gone- he had *beautiful* belts. That's an idea, though- look in the Columbus yellow pages for a leather shop. *MUCH* better belts than what you'd find at any mall. Seriously. They'd probably have some with D buckles.

By the way, that bag is really sweet! If only it came in black... ;-D



Edited at 2008-03-12 04:57 am (UTC)
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:March 12th, 2008 01:24 pm (UTC)
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I bought the strap for the bag at a Tandy outlet. They had some D buckles, but most of them had some sort of decoration on them, or were less rounded than I wanted, or were too small or too big. I just want something simple and plain (the hope was to possibly change the buckle out on a commercially purchased belt, or to buy some leather from there and dye it if necessary, as I have all the tools, but since they didn't have a buckle I wanted, it wasn't worth the effort).

Re: the bag's colour: It's cotton; you can dye it :)

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