The first time I ever met Sean, he was wearing a Yoda t-shirt. I remember this really clearly---the t-shirt was black and Yoda, of course, was green---and even though I have probably the least amount of interest in Star Wars that it's legally possible to have, I think back very fondly on this t-shirt. I think back more fondly on it than Sean, even, who has tried to donate it to Goodwill on at least three Major Closet Clearout Occasions. Each time, I rescue it back from the pile of discards.
"You can't give this away!" I say.
"But I haven't worn it since Clinton was President," says Sean. "I haven't worn it since my hair was down to my shoulders. I haven't worn it since before I was old enough to drink."
"But you might," I say. "Well, actually, you probably won't. On second thought, please don't. But keep it anyway, won't you? It means something to me. It's sentimental."
In the end, we compromised and I kept it. I stuffed it into my pajama drawer, and I don't think I've taken it out for at least a couple of years. But I like to know it's there.
I do not consider myself an expert on men's fashion---or on women's fashion for that matter---but I like to think I've at least got the basics down. And I've been thinking about the way men dress---I don't mean men like Clinton Kelly (did you know he's on Twitter, by the way? Best discovery ever!) but real men, actual men, men who get their shirts at the Gap instead of Gucci. To my mind, there are five things every man should have in his wardrobe---aside from a sentimental Yoda t-shirt his wife won't let him throw out despite the fact that it's almost as old as she is---and this is what they are.
A plaid shirt
Look, I promise I will stop with the plaid already one day, but you have to understand: I am a child of the 90s. Or rather, I was a teenager of the 90s. All teenage boys in the 90s wore plaid shirts and thus, when I was starting to notice boys, this is what they were wearing. If I had grown up in the 50s, I'd probably have a penchant for boys in, like, winklepickers or something. (Isn't winklepickers a great word? Hey, someone start wearing winklepickers again. Pointy shoes for boys!)
If you are a man and you have friends, at some point, you will be invited to a wedding. I'm sure there are exceptions, but in my mind, the only thing for a man to wear to a wedding is a suit. Men have it easy because they can move about on the formality scale merely by adding or subtracting a tie: if you arrive in a suit and you are overdressed, whip off the tie and stuff it in your pocket. Hell, take off the suit jacket too: now you're just wearing a shirt and pants like everyone else! Women cannot do this, unfortunately: if you arrive in a prom dress you are stuck in a prom dress. Embrace the suit, men: if you're like Sean, you only get to wear it once or twice a year. You should make this count.
A pair of Converse
What is there not to like about a pair of Converse? Unless you're sporting a fluroscent green pair of hi-tops, I mean, which probably aren't as, shall we say, timely as a good solid black pair. In fact, I would be willing to bet that studies have been done that show the number one overlapping item in most couples' closets is a pair of Converse. (Confession: mine are the fake Payless kind though. The real ones make my feet look like long skinny boats.)
Jeans and flipflops
If jeans are good and flipflops are good, you know what's even better? Jeans paired with flipflops. I'm sorry, you can't argue with that. It's science.
I'm a sucker for a man in pink. It has to be subtle though: I'm not talking head-to-toe Pepto-Bismol, but you can't go wrong with a pink striped tie, in my opinion, or a very pale pink button down shirt. I fear I may be in the minority here though, regarding my penchant for men in pink. Do you agree?