Matters of Style

So while I was tying my neck-tie that morning
I suddenly saw myself in the glass:
My hair all gray, my face like a sodden pie. 15
So I cursed and cursed: You damned old thing!

Eugene Carman in Spoon River Anthology by Edgar Lee Masters

One thing that the last forty-seven years of house arrest has done is moved most of us to online shopping. And while thinking about how their algorithms track my purchases, I am fascinated with the ads I see on my social media accounts.

Somehow they know that I’ve shopped for myself, for myself as Santa, for my two adult sons, for my wife.

You can just imagine what kind of ads I get when I order for my son from Pair of Thieves underwear.

And don’t get me started about the costume tights.

I’ve purchased a few items for myself during the lockdown. But not many. Most of what I’ve purchased for myself relate to the business of being Santa. It’s not like I’ve needed to be too concerned about what I have to wear to the office.

If I ever go back to the office.

Still, I get lots of ads.

The most intriguing of late are those for custom business suits, or discount business suits, or ties, or well, you get the idea

I find myself wondering if I’ll ever even wear the ones already hanging in my closet.

I used to wear a suit to work every day.

It started when I was doing campaign work because I would frequently be accompanying the candidate to events.

Then eight years in DC where everyone, at the time, was dressed up.

Even for the first few years of work for the state I was in a suit every day.

We gradually went to business casual, except on the days we were having meetings.

Then the pandemic hit.

We’ve seen all the memes about working at home in our pajamas.

Available in The Write Side Shop (click the pic).

But, be honest. When is the last time you were fully dressed?

If you’re only visible from the waist up, then why bother?

I’ve certainly saved a good deal of money on my dry cleaning bill.

As for ties? I’m fairly certain I’ve not tied a necktie since well before the last fourteen months of our fifteen days to slow the spread.

Well, except that one time when our theater hosted an online murder mystery with a Broadway theme.

I was the host so I wore my tuxedo. Know what I found out?

With my Santa beard no one could see my bowtie. Not even one that I tied myself.

In the span of about twenty years, I’ve gone from wearing a suit and tie every day to a shirt and slacks.

And in the span of the last fourteen months, I’ve gone from the shirt and slacks to “do I need to get dressed today?”

We’re not even going to talk about shower frequency.

So sure, the pandemic has changed a lot of things, but so has the culture.

I used to live in a world where the suit and tie was a uniform.

I remember one campaign event where three candidates, and their three advance men ( of which I was one) all showed up in gray pinstripe suits, white shirts, and red ties. It was not planned.

That happened one other time with the current day job. We were at a meeting in Roanoke. The six or eight men (I’ve lost count) on the staff all showed up in gray herringbone sports coats. Again, it was not planned.

I don’t envision either of those happening again because I’m just not sure that many opportunities will arise for me to wear the coat and tie.

While the number is still higher than I like, my days at the day job are numbered. And there’s a good possibility that I may never go back to my downtown office on a regular basis.

I think the odds are that when an occasion calls for a suit, it will be red and trimmed in white fur.

But I’ll keep some on hand for the occasional wedding or funeral.

I’m also thinking that the culture might have shifted away from business suits. Sure we’ll still see the politicians all dressed up in their designer suits. We’ll see it with some businesses as well.

Judging by the fashions on Star Trek, at some point in the future we do away with the whole coat and tie process.

Maybe the pandemic gave us a head start.

Either way, while I find myself admiring some of the suits I see online, and while I cans sometimes envision how I look, I’m not likely to be entering my credit card number anytime soon.

It’s like Hermione Granger said to Harry at the end of The Goblet of Fire.

“Everything’s going to change now, isn’t it?”


Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash








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The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.

Numbers 6:24-26

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