Wednesday, July 18, 2012

My Dad on Clothes

JD and I looked at each other quizzically. “Bullseye, when did you start wearing cargo shorts?” I asked. My dad had been wearing jean shorts up until three days ago. Yes, I said three, not three-thousand.

“I saw this and another pair at Walmart last week on sale for $15 each. You know, boys, these cargos are real comfortable!”

My brother and I had suggested Bullseye wear cargo shorts last decade. That fashion trend has since faded, and I expect he’ll adopt my slender above-knee shorts when he’s in his upper 90s.

Wearing cargo shorts long after they were in-style
After the initial shock we looked closer at his cargos. “Bullseye, it looks like you’re wearing an umbrella!” I could fit my entire body in the leg opening. He turned to examine his great purchase from all angles, muttering that JD and I didn’t know anything. Then we saw that his shorts folded on itself at the waist. “Bullseye…did you try those on first?”

“Of course not. I figured that after losing 30 pounds I’m probably down to a size 34. They fit.”

“What happens if you take off your belt?” JD said.

“I don’t know, let’s see.” My dad loosened his belt buckle and let go. His pants fell down.

“Bullseye, you need to exchange those for size 31s. Those are at least three sizes too big,” I said. Or convert them into a blanket, I thought.

Looping a belt because pants are too big“I’m not exchanging anything. All I have to do is tighten my belt.” JD and I now focused on his belt, which was so long that my dad looped it back towards the buckle. “So long as I have a nail and hammer, my belt will always fit.”

“How many extra holes have you added to that belt?” I asked.

He unbuckled his belt to investigate, and grabbed his shorts before they fell down again. “This is the fourth hole I’ve made. I’m like MacGyver!”

Bullseye very rarely buys new clothes. He prefers hand-me-downs from my uncle or brother. He does not believe that losing 30 pounds or any other amount necessitates a new wardrobe. Our discussion occurred while on vacation at the beach. Before joining Bullseye in the ocean I confirmed that his principle did not extend to swim trunks.

We later discussed office apparel. “I never wear ties at my new client site,” I remarked.

“Me neither,” JD said. “Bullseye, do you have to wear ties at the office?”

“I guess I don’t have to, but I do. It’s the only way to keep my shirt from falling down around my neck!” His belt-looping and pants-folding are also not limited to casual wear. “Coworkers don’t say anything, so what do I care.”

My dad’s clothing selection is not confined to used, large and outdated. During a very warm day in April I was surprised to see him wearing shorts. “The shorts season officially begins in May, but it’s hot so I broke the ‘April-pants’ rule today,” he had said.

Wearing a college forma's shirt to the beachMy dad wears specific clothes for each day of the week, like his “Sunday shirt,” for example. This leads to him saving clothes. He first wore his Cal Ripken, Jr., consecutive games streak t-shirt a decade later. “Cal still owns the record!” he had proclaimed. He also designates clothes for certain occasions, like his beach shirt which he wears at all times when he’s not in the water, for protection from the sun’s rays. The shirt’s neck is stretched enough to, again, accommodate my entire body. It also happens to be a saved shirt: a hand-me-down fraternity formals shirt from my brother from 1999.

“Which fraternity is that on your shirt,” a vacationer asked him after seeing the shirt.

“Heck if I know,” my dad said. “I don’t speak Greek.”

My aunt bought my dad an expensive navy striped suit for his 65th birthday, which he adores and has donned once in the past two years. He saves it for special occasions or until his other suit from the 1970s wears out.

Sometimes my dad is a fashion trendsetter, at least he claims, like how flannel became popular after he wore it. Really, he wore flannel as a boy and never stopped, and the fabric spiked in popularity in the 90s and again a couple years ago. He’ll claim the same thing if looped belts ever take off.


Catherine said...

This post is awesome - as are those khaki shorts :) Your dad has brightened my day. Thanks for sharing!

Benjamin Rubenstein said...

Thanks, Catherine. My dad appreciates your enthusiasm for his style. Stay tuned for more "My Dad on..." stories.