There are two old photos someplace. One is of a tall black haired young military man in a leisure suit, a gold chain across a tanned and hairy chest, with each arm around two drunk young lookers wearing Mickey Mouse ears. I know someone who doesn’t like this photo.
There’s another photo, the older kind with the rounded corners, of a pretty young woman with that late 70’s hair style smiling into the camera wearing a light blue plaid shirt with the sleeves rolled up and some short-shorts. I never heard any complaints about this one.
These are pictures of my parents taken before they knew each other. Personifications of their times.
Somewhere out there is a photo of a six-year-old boy in shorts and a polo shirt, holding a “Return of the Jedi” lunch box, just before going to his first day of school. The shorts and the polo shirt don’t match and they look uncomfortable. The red lunch box with a picture of R2D2 and an Ewok look fine.
I didn’t smile in that picture. I think the sun was in my eyes and I had PTSD from kindergarten real bad and that time of my life is mostly unpleasant memories. But the lunch box, circa the early 80’s, that was fashion. I guess you could say I have fashion in my blood.
So, somewhere out there is a photo of this punk kid and he is fifteen years old. He’s sneering in a school year book photo he was forced to take, the make-up for the make-up and the only thing vaguely pleasant about the whole mess is his blue and black striped Inter Milan jersey. My younger brother got me the jersey on a trip to Italy and the only other person at the make-up for the make-up was out of school with mononucleosis for two months, not contracted from kissing I am certain (you should have seen her). She smiled though; her year book picture looked really nice.
It was 1993 and everyone I knew in Stuttgart lived and breathed soccer; it was what we did day in and day out. I was occasionally even forced to put my AD&D books away in order to show up for a practice I didn’t give a shit about, I wasn’t very good, so that I might be able to actually speak to a female not related to me by blood. It was a long shot but soccer practice helped.
It was in fashion in ’94 . But so was hyper-color.
Anyway, I made out with Amy a bunch of times before we had to leave Stuttgart and that was worth every humiliating soccer moment I can imagine plus the horrific baseball memories thrown in. It was really, really worth it; we shared a bottle of cranberry juice and made out for hours under some trees in the grass near the fence at the edge of the kaserne.
If someone ever finds a picture of a young Marine on a 96 hour weekend in southern California don’t be surprised by the styled hair or the matching J CREW get up and the brand new VANS. After six months in Okinawa and a lot of working out I had lost about thirty pounds and with the help of my girlfriend at the time, a really sweet Filipina-American girl from San Diego, my look got sort of revamped. Concepts like grooming and styling hair got introduced and the idea that wearing something nice might help me talk to new women. This resulted in me avoiding the good girl and meeting a string of bimbos all over SoCal and generally feeling sexually ferocious and internally vapid. I listened to a lot of Black Flag at the time. A lot of Social distortion and a lot of Johnny Cash. I watched Fight club a lot and generally thought I had shit figured out.
This was, at the time, a very in fashion kind of attitude. You can ask anyone in the Fashion world and they’ll tell you “Times change; so does fashion.”
So did I. So did California. Then so did the world.
I am looking at a picture right now of this hyper cocky, incredibly arrogant looking 27-year-old. He’s living life flying blind on a lightening bolt and is posing for a picture a pretty Japanese girl is taking of him. She’s a fashion photographer working in Milan, home for the holidays, and they are going to sleep together in an hour but before that she takes a picture of this guy, his hair spiked up, just wearing a black wife-beater with his toned arms up around his neck showing off veins and biceps and a tattoo he got in Thailand and his features are sharp and healthy. She takes a few pictures, teasing him like he is one of her models, and then he takes pictures with her expensive camera of her as she undresses. She has an incredible body and after round number two she draws a picture of him in one of his half used sketch books.
I still have that sketch.
Milan is a fashionable place, so is Tokyo. I don’t know that girl anymore but I guess she is doing well. I threw out the wife-beater at some point and I have long hair now and I spend most of my time making out with my wife. We also drink cranberry juice from time to time.
Today I wore a black cotton dress shirt I got from Shirts my way.
Living in Tokyo being 6’2″ with gorilla arms has made fashionable shopping choices tough and, as we can see, I am all about fashion. So, ordering this shirt, simply clicking XL and having it arrive, ready to wear, and actually having it fit well and be really comfortable while looking damn sharp sort of made my day.
Will a shirt from Shirtsmyway change your life? Maybe, maybe not, but it might help you make out with a pretty girl or just make your day a little less shit.
Hard to say no to either of those. It’s fashion, after all.
Check out some really decent dress shirts with free shipping to Japan at Shirtsmyway.
Just keep going:
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Typically tend not to enjoy looking at old pictures, or any pictures, of myself. Typically. As for fashion young before seven was whatever fit I didn’t care. 7 to middle school was neons (especially green). Middle school to marriage was anything black. Early marriage was t-shirts that said things, camo (not much), and hawaiin shirts, and a lot of different colored mo-hawks. Later in the marriage totally different styles based on moods that changed with the wind (even dressed as a pirate and walked around a department store to mess with people), no hair dying and suddenly wearing goggles or tea shades (brown sunglasses) a lot. Now I am sort of rediscovering my clothing tastes and redesigning my look a bit and going for things a bit more … nice, head is shaved (sometimes glossed), and when I am heading to work its torn up blue jeans and work t-shirts… maybe a flannel full of holes and a ball cap or handkerchief on my head.
Eat your heart out Karl Lagerfeld.
I’ve thought about this, but never articulated it like you did here, so thanks for that. I don’t like looking at pictures of myself, so I try to avoid it, but it seems impossible when you’re surrounded by digital cameras everywhere you go. I notice my change in clothes almost like changes in seasons through the images. I’ve been back in Japan for nearly two years now, and have shed 35 or more pounds so all the clothes I brought back with me are gone now. Like you, I’m large – 6’4″, 195 pounds (although I have gorilla legs and somewhat mismatched girlie arms that I need to do something about) so it’s not always easy to find things that fit well in Tokyo. I work at home though, so I find myself wearing less button up shirts, and more t-shirts. But it always sticks in my mind, looking through my closet and the mirror. It’s like those teachers in high school who were in their sixties twenty years ago and somehow settled on the fashion of the seventies and never progressed beyond that point. Flyaway collars and polyester leisure suits in powdered blue along with haircuts that matched. I wonder if when I’m fifty years old I’ll be embarrassing my sixteen year old daughter by still wearing the jeans and skateboard t-shirts I wear now, only with even less hair than I currently have. I hope so.
Embarrassing daughters is a responsibility of fathers. Carry on!