Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Fashion Plate?

I never was much of a fashion plate--from boyhood on. My school pictures during those years are evidence enough. The photo at the head of this is from 8th grade. From the classy style of my haircut to my coordination of solids and plaids, it's clear I don't know what the hell I'm doing.

Once I became a "professional" (a teacher), I had to present something more ... presentable. But I didn't really. In the early years of my career, kind of impoverished, I pretty much wore the same thing every day--an old blue suit, necktie. I just didn't have much else.

Later on, as styles and protocols for teachers softened, I morphed into a different look: chinos, polo shirts, a look to which I adhered the final decade or so of my public-school career. (I retired in Jan., 1997.) The shirts were invariably black or dark blue: I carry an insidious Dyer gene that causes me to perspire whenever I breathe, so dark colors helped; lighter ones were a disaster.

When I returned to teaching at Western Reserve Academy (fall 2001-spring 2011), I had to go out and buy a bunch of blazers and what-not: The school had/has a conservative dress code, and I had to look ... professional when I was on the campus. (Since I retired five years ago, I have put on a blazer-and-tie only a few times--almost all of them occasioned by a talk I was giving at WRA.)

My post-retirement garb is (seasonally) unvarying: cold weather = boots, bluejeans, sweater; warm weather = sandals, shorts, polo shirt, light-weight pullover (except in the very hottest weather.

The colors are almost always dour. Black, brown, Navy blue. Shorts are solid color, usually dark (though I have gone crazy and worn some khaki ones). Our son teases me about my "look" from time to time. So do my brothers. (But that's what brothers are for, right?) (For Father's Day, Joyce, who knows me so, so well, gave me a stack of new polo shirts; one was a bit light-colored, but I like it--just can't wear it in really hot weather.)

And so this is strange: Earlier this week Joyce and I headed out to the Office Depot in Stow-Kent: I needed some hanging files. (Boring, I know.)

Kohl's is right next door, so I thought I'd walk around inside a bit--hadn't been there in a while. In my dotage I've been mostly interested in cooking and baking stuff, not in much of anything else. (I know, I know.)

On my way back to the entrance/exit (empty-handed), I saw some madras shorts. My size. Only my size, actually. Impulse. Bought them.

Joyce was, shall we say "shocked"?

In fact, the first day I wore them (the very next day after the purchase) she took a picture of me slumped in the easy chair in her study. She promptly texted it our son, who replied almost immediately ...

Who ARE you?

Good question.


BTW #1: The term fashion plate dates back to the 1850s and refers to a plate (photograph or drawing) one might see in a magazine (remember them?).

BTW #2: Much of my boyhood insouciance about style was due to the financial situation in our family--i.e., little $$. Also, my parents and Osborn grandparents (who lived near us until I was nearly 12) were very religious, conservative in dress and manner. Flashy clothes were unthinkable.

BTW #3: If I seem to have a snotty smirk on my face in the photo below, it's all due to Joyce's insistence that I smile. I tried not to, but she was laughing so hard, I couldn't help it.

BTW #4: I have no idea where I got that bruise on my left leg. (Such is post-70 life!)

BTW #5: It's very odd that the spell-checker on this site does not recognize texted.

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