Thursday, September 23, 2010

Waxing Silly

It's Fall, so the fashionistas are really going for it.  When I lived in New York City it always made me laugh to see all the slaves trying to wear the cashmere sweaters in the IT color of the season when it was still very warm outside.  Or when Uggs were the thing - women couldn't stop themselves from wearing shearling boots in the heat of early September.  One year my mother bought me a beautiful leather car coat that was insulated for my birthday, which is in late August.  I'll admit it was very difficult to wait until it was properly cold enough to wear it.  I'm sure I pushed it.
What would be the fun of fashion of one didn't push the limits.  I have suffered much judgment since early high school for my daring to step outside the mainstream.  Living in Portland, one can hardly leave the house in anything but jeans without being accused of dressing up for a fete.  I miss living in NY where people check each other out, but rarely offer any verbal comment.
There's a little company called The Hillside that makes ties, pocket squares and scarves out of chambray and other unlikely fabrics for such items.  I have one of their chambray ties in charcoal.  But, the IT item of the fall amongst the fashion types that I follow on the web (some of their links can be found to the right) seems to be the waxed cotton tie.  There's no way I'm going for it.  I love the idea of waxed cotton, but don't really like clothing made of the stuff.  I don't like the smell when it gets wet nor its stiffness when it's wet or dry.  A necktie is unlikely to get very wet, but the idea of stiff, unforgiving waxed cotton around my neck makes me bristle.
I had a waxed cotton Barbour barn jacket that I got in Scotland several years ago, but I finally gave it away after trying so hard to like it.  Then a couple of years ago I couldn't resist buying a Filson Tin Cloth Logger.  I love the look of it.  And I've worn it during a downpour on the deck of a sailboat and in the Oregon woods without getting wet or cold.  I can't always say the same for gore-tex.  But the Filson is most often unwearable.  Maybe I'm not going about it very well.  I seem to spend more time going out to dinner or coffee on rainy days than sailing or standing around in the woods.  It's super stiff, though not as smelly as my Barbour.  You have to take it off before you get in the car.  In my Bronco or pickup it was okay to sit down, but steering felt way too cumbersome.  I've had it for three years and it's as stiff as the day I bought it.  Lately I've threatened to sell it on eBay.  I don't think that's going to happen.  I just need to get a jacket or coat that I can wear in the rain that isn't a parka made of some sort of modern technical fabric and save the Logger for appropriate occasions that are neither indoors nor sporty. Unlike my fellow Portlanders, I can't bring myself to wear gore-tex or fleece when I'm not engaged in the activities for which they was designed.  An early spring trip up the Columbia on a sailboat - Filson.  Skiing on Mt. Hood in January - North Face. 
Even so, you will not see me wearing a waxed cotton necktie anytime soon.  The tie paired with a white oxford and the Filson logger would make quite a statement.  But it would be very uncomfortable and I don't care how cool some very cool people say it is, if you can't wear clothing effortlessly, you shouldn't wear it.

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