Clothes Wish List

I read Tom Ford said dressing well is a form of good manners. I really can’t see that myself. Good manners are about offering respect, dressing well is about commanding respect. Dressing appropriately I would agree comes under good manners. But everything after that is conceit. Getting the basics down, buying them in multiples, then never giving that shite another thought is a goal of mine. I think this is a very nice outfit:


Great though it is, it’s too slick, with the white trainers and the shirt buttoned to the top. That said, if you take those wide-boy elements away, you might be looking at something slightly oddball-ish. Whatever the case, nicely fitting dark-wash jeans and a coat that looks well on me are priorities. Once that’s sorted I’ll give some thought to people falling from the landing gear of commercial planes frozen to death and being trafficked into unending sex slavery and the like.


Gym clothes

When I had my first spell of going to the gym in late 2000 I wore a heavy navy collared ‘le coq sportif’ t-shirt. It had three raised red lines down the sleeves, which came down to just above my elbows. It had previously been the top I wore to my nights out as a 14 year old- the monthly disco where you wondered around in the dark inquiring of groups of girls ‘would they see your mate’? yelling over chart dance music. When I first got it I had laid it out on my bed and just stood over it taking it in, buzzing with excitement at owning such a cool top. I possibly was also doing some ocd-ish little stroking actions on the top and quiet ‘yeah!’-type noises to kind of get a better grip on the whole phenomenon before me, as was my wont at the time. With the top I wore navy and white shorts and thick rugby-type socks which I wore scrunched down at the ankle in an attempt to create the illusion of thicker legs. I still had puppy fat on me at that point so my legs weren’t terribly skinny in any case.

At another point in this period I wore navy tracksuit bottoms and an oversize white t-shirt with a faded fosters beer logo on it. I felt that this t-shirt hung nicely on me but it was too long. I wasn’t totally comfortable with doing it but I tucked it into my tracksuit bottoms and pulled it out a bit so it looked loosely tucked in. Like a handyman.

Next I remember wearing shorts with a busy check pattern of oranges and reds. I wore them with a plain black t-shirt. I had wanted and felt justified in having a ‘put together’ gym outfit. It was unquestionably awful though. Just poor taste. Hopefully poor taste isn’t for life. Maybe it is, but I think I’ve become better at myself over the years. I’m at least not interested in trying to make a big obvious impact with my clothes anymore. I’ve adapted to the disability of poor taste perhaps.

For the periods when I went to the gym at university I wore navy tracksuit bottoms and a pale blue t-shirt in a fine material. And my casual trainers- ‘tiger’s’- rather than proper trainers which I hadn’t got round to buying. The outfit was in contrast to the type of clothes worn by the Indian guys who dominated the place. They wore big cargo shorts and huge t-shirts which were filled out with unhealthy looking bulk. I knew that I was quite visible as ‘that little cock’ and frequently got slightly scornful reactions when I asked to have a turn on a machine or that kind of thing. I didn’t realise just how unhappy I had made the big dudes though. They were incensed. I was one of many students stood outside the library one afternoon and could see a group of them sitting in their car parked up the hill slightly. I was talking to my housemate when they started blaring the horn on the car and screaming at the top of their voices ‘SEXY BILLY FROM THE GYM!’. They just kept screaming that and blaring the horn without pause. I think my flatmate knew it was aimed at me but didn’t want to embarrass me by bringing it up. He just said ‘I wish they’d fucking stop that’. They kept it up at the same pitch at least until I had walked back into the library with my flatmate. I felt intense hatred towards those bastards and still do.

I think I had emerged from the period of wanting to look just so for stuff like the gym by the time of my next gym outfit which was a white t-shirt and black Nike shorts. I did worry about my socks with this one. White t-shirt with black shorts is OK but with white socks I’m then conspicuously not wearing any colour. From this I moved on to grey no brand shorts and a navy t-shirt. I wore this for a while with thick brown socks and then with no socks showing in that kind of athletic looking way, which my body doesn’t actually justify. I achieved the no socks effect initially by rolling my black socks down below the tongue of my running shoes and then finally after weeks or possibly months I got round to buying ankle socks. I felt self-conscious rolling down my socks in the changing rooms. But my desire to not be a person wearing black socks with his gym clothes was stronger than my desire to not do that/ not be seen doing that.

I returned to the black Nike shorts after that and wore them with a navy collared h and m t-shirt and thick brown socks. Then back to the grey shorts with an nicely fitting white t-shirt I found (advertising beer again).

And for the last year I’ve been wearing navy tracksuit bottoms and a plain brown t-shirt. The sleeves are long enough to cover my arms down to my elbows and the material and cut seems to mask my chest a bit.

My haircut

Went for a haircut today. Reasonable job. Guy younger than me with an emo-punk look seemed to own and run the place. He advised me to try clippers on the side, that he wasn’t trying to tell me what to do but that he knew I was in a comfort zone with scissors and if I was to try this I might discover something. I was stiff with fright as he took the clippers to my sides, so far from my comfort zone. Actually I was a little worried. I think shorn sides and a bit longer on top looks class, but I can imagine if you don’t commit to it and tend to it once its done it’s mental patient stuff, like Morrissey today.


I don’t think I would tend to it correctly, I’ve never had a ‘haircut’ and I think that’s for the best. The bit of worry was for nothing in the end as the effect of the clippers was completely indistinguishable from scissors. The guy did tell me this would make the haircut last longer, which I’m grateful for. “I’ll be back” I said, like a dickhead, as I took my change.

I have a date

I have a date.

On one of my two spectacular nights out in my favourite outfit I walked up to a girl and started talking to her. She looked vaguely like the only girl I’ve ever (I think) loved which is why I talked to her. Asked her what she did, did she come here often etc. Then left it to return to my two friends. She sort of came over and milled by me with her friend a while after that so I spoke to her again and asked her for her number.

So, I think it’s fair to say that entering into a new relationship is a life changing event, at least temporarily. You do far more stuff, you interact far more, you have new priorities, there’s a whole host of new social pressures. Presumably you grow and it’s all very healthy. And if this does happen it will all have been brought about by my taking pains over my clothes.

So I should maybe not be ashamed of putting so much energy into this stuff if it has these kind of results. Ideally I would get a girlfriend without needing just the right clothes but over the years and especially recently the evidence speaks for itself. Given who I am, I have to give my clothes and to a lesser extent my hair, my teeth and my body careful consideration if I want to have any fun.

My next problem is that I don’t have the right practical clothes, clothes for getting on with stuff and not apparently there to make the wearer look good. There is still clearly a right and wrong way to do these clothes. I notice thirty-something guys in relaxed, faded but not shoddy looking jeans, thin fleece top or jumper in a dark colour and sturdy shoes, usually clarks-style shoes or rambling style trainers.

I only have my plimsoll style shoes which I actually wore right through the winter as I couldn’t see sturdy shoes that didn’t make me feel like I had huge clown feet. I need study shoes, that’s a fact. I wouldn’t feel right to be in clarks- style shoes. My brother wears them and it looks fine but his jeans and in fact his whole look is more relaxed than mine. They just wouldn’t look right with the rest of my clothes. I’m always aiming a little bit at ‘cool’, I can’t help it. So in fact this smart adult down at b + q look might be asking too much of me. Ideally I would work to overcome the ‘hip’ thing. It’s something that could become laughable. But overcoming that is too challenging, if it’s even possible. I have to work with it.

The answer I would guess with regards to practical shoes is trainers. That or non-chunky casual shoes from somewhere like aldo that are quietly cool. Easier said than done though. Colour seems often to be a problem when paired with my jeans too. Browns and blacks don’t seem to go. White is a statement. I find green sort of goes but there aren’t too many options in green.

For the top, I do have a fleece top, a black craghoppers one, but it’s a thick winter one which probably marks me out as a weak specimen if worn in the summer. I have an old jumper of my brothers which I quite like. It’s just a round neck jumper, very pale green colour with quiet stitching detail round the neck, cuffs and waist. It’s tasteful as fuck. Stylish in a very understated way. Looks like I strolled into Dunnes and located the most superb top in the place because I’m just tuned in like that. In fact it’s ‘Farah’, a brand they sell in urban outfitters and probably cost more than £60. I think if I tried to buy items like that at that price I’d feel like a cynical dickhead wearing them. Maybe not though. My other good top is a gray zipless hoodie. A few buttons down the chest opening out into the hood. It’s a little dressy though- it fits well. And in combination with the new neater jeans I’m wearing I think it’s too much. Like all the outfits I can put together they’d be OK for a barbequeue but silly for the supermarket.

I could go on. But I’ll conclude by saying what I need. A light jacket (anorak style most likely) or a thin fleece/jumper that calls absolutely no attention to itself. And sturdy shoes. Plus I don’t want to wear my good jeans with everything and sometimes the tracksuits bottoms I have and love aren’t appropriate. Plus tracksuit bottoms wouldn’t go with a woolen jumper. (Actually wearing a round neck jumper about might be shit, on me anyway) So workaday jeans. I may be able to get my older Lees modified to take out the flare at the shins which I hate and they would do me for workaday.

My main concern at the moment

My main concern at the minute is that I’ve found an outfit that I can wear to really any bar and feel confident. It’s a flawless outfit. A cool looking cloth shirt in a faded, muted colour with a small check pattern that opens out from the middle of my chest. I wear it over a thin-ish white t-shirt. A grey hoodie on top. Mid-wash blue Lee Jeans with a 33 inch waist that are fitting but not at all too fitting. I had them taken in from the knee down to not flare out at the shin as they were doing. The woman did an amazing job and they sit perfectly on my plimsoll-style shoes.

I’ve worn it twice and was just fantastically well-received by both guys and girls on both occasions. But now I’m worried that I’ll be recognised for wearing it repeatedly if I go out in it again. But I don’t think I can go back to wearing my other stuff. It doesn’t cut the mustard by comparison and in fact that gets me to thinking that it didn’t cut the mustard to begin with. That seed is planted and I won’t be confident if I have to go back to the other (limited) options I have. I can get fucked up and there’ll be no issue that way, but no girl will have me like that.

[I might discover that I do actually feel confident in one of the two other options I have, once I put it on]

Maybe no-one cares too much to see a guy wearing the same outfit out repeatedly. But if I did it I know for sure the feeling of being pathetic would be overwhelming- this guy in his sad little best every Friday trying to impress. But I do think of clothes as armor on some level, get into your suit of armor. Dressed in your best. Why should it be necessary to have several bests?

And other things I don’t have the energy to work through now- guys throwing on one of many t-shirts (in my imagination), a guy I know who heads out a lot, is well-liked and does in fact wear the same thing repeatedly (But exactly the same thing?)