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Clothes make the man

March 1, 2013
Posted at 3:00 pm

I just wrote a fun scene in "Prodigal" in which Tony is snubbed by the New York gallery owner where he is having his debut. Melody takes him shopping to "make over" his image. The results are funny.

It got me thinking about my own wardrobe. When I was growing up in rural Indiana, my father worked at a now-defunct automobile factory. He wore the equivalent of Carthartt workclothes, matching shirt and pants. (I still have one of his shirts from fifty years ago.) He bought all his clothes at Sears.

On the other hand, all the "successful" people I knew worked in offices. They wore suits and ties. They lived in nice homes that were actually finished (rather than my home that was under construction for twenty-five years until it was condemned and torn down). They drove nice cars rather than playing jumper cable roulette with the six old Studebakers in our yard to see which would start on any given morning.

I decided that I would one day work in an office and wear nice clothes. I did. Even when the standard of dress for computer programmers was something south of torn shorts and t-shirts. I bathed regularly, too.

Now, I'm looking at my changing lifestyle and intent to go on the road. The limited space in my RV (no matter what type I choose) won't allow for my wardrobe. I won't need 150 neckties, twenty sportscoats, nine pair of shoes, ten outdoor jackets, or fifty pair of socks. I can't imagine even needing my six pair of jeans, dozens of t-shirts, and thirty dress and casual shirts.

But what will I take? Who will I be?

I've decided to strip my wardrobe today. I'm choosing the things I genuinely think I will need when I pack my belongings. Don't panic. I'm not getting rid of everything else, but I am boxing it up and putting it in the basement. I figure that after a couple of months living with my new wardrobe, I will know what I actually need--which pieces I've gone to boxes to retrieve.

The results may show me exactly what kind of man I've become.