My original post on this topic was EATED because ecto has…issues. Grrr. Anyway.
I have an Eddie Bauer “Seattle Suede” jacket – like a typical denim jean jacket, but in a weird waterproof suede. I bought it in an outlet mall in a weak moment on the way down to the Holiday Bowl in 2004, although postgame trauma and retrojection mean that I tend to remember it being in use through Christmas that year (the bowl was on Dec. 30). And I’m sort of torn – from a distance it looks pretty good, and the wife likes it, but I think the sleeves are a bit baggy and the weight is a bit much. And up close, the color is sort of weird – dark chocolate but somehow a “warm” brown in a way that looks dated and 70s-ish (it calls to mind nothing so much as the pilot jackets in the original Battlestar Galactica series.
I mention this because I have spent a few weeks idly looking in on assorted work coats, mostly of the Carhartt canvas-duck type. And it just clicked for me today that what I’m looking for is something like the suede jacket, but slightly less ridiculous and more practical. Basically, it’s the Gabriel Hounds* again – something that would look sufficiently timeless and non-fashion to be wearable wherever and whenever. It also occurred to me that my oilcloth engineer’s coat is probably the sort of thing I’m thinking of – only problem is, it’s sort of olive green, and I’m trying to steer clear of the faux-military look that’s taking over everything these days. (In fact, that very feeling is probably what’s kept me from going the Cayce Pollard route and just buying a black MA-1 nylon bomber.**)
I think this all comes back to my need to have the 100% correct one of everything. I don’t know why, but I feel compelled to have absolutely the right pen, the right watch, the right phone, the right…you name it. Instead, as often as not, I wind up with a whole bunch of things that are 80% of the way there, and that’s what caused me to ultimately get to the point where I’ll worry for six months over a $10 Nerf gun (when TBSE doesn’t find one in a park, that is). In fact, the only things I’ve really hit 100% on (in retrospect) are a house, a car, a wife, and Levi’s 501 in original blue.
I don’t know if it’s years of comic books and cartoons, but I think at some level I want to piece together the costume. MY costume. The identifiable look – a hat, a jacket, a pair of kicks, whatever – not some scramble through the closet to see which piece of outwear is appropriate for this 5-degree gradation of weather or whatever. Dammit, I’m gonna make one size fit all.
So this, then, is the list of everything I can think of that I would buy to hit all the 80% marks for this, that and the other.
CLOTHING: A good solid Harris Tweed sportcoat straight off the Orkneys. A solid cotton-duck brown work coat, preferably union-made in the USA, for that Mike CASSSSSSSSidy look. Maybe, MAYBE, one of the lightweight collared nylon flight jackets if I could find a color that worked for me. A seersucker suit (STOP LAUGHING). A San Francisco GAA Irish Football jersey. A whole rack of plain black pique polo shirts with no logo of any kind, and a couple more of the old heavy white Britches of Georgetown button-up casual shirts.
SHOES: An 11-eyelet pair of oxblood Docs, ideally made in Northhampton somewhere. A pair of LL Bean duck boots. Something in between a Chuck Taylor and an Adidas Stan Smith, preferably almost indestructible. (I actually broke down on this front and bought a pair of Palladium Pampas LITE boots – think of them as weaponized Converse canvas hightops; cotton and ripstop nylon with moisture-wicking lining and EVA sole; they weigh practically nothing and should be a nice summer alternative to clunking around in my Docs.)
GADGETS: A Nexus S phone. An iPad (and a Rickshaw messenger to put it in). A Google Chromebook, and a MacBook Air 11″ for when the time comes to use something other than a browser. A proper pair of polarized black Wayfarers and some sort of gold-lensed wraparound thing for strategic football-supporting purposes. And oh what the hell, a Tesla Roadster. And a Smart Fortwo. And a Piaggio MP3.
So…anybody want to give me a Blue Ant corporate card and a special project budget?***
* William Gibson’s Bigend Trilogy probably informs my current sense of style more than anything. This is a Zero History reference, and I would probably wear nothing but Gabriel Hounds if they existed and I could buy them.
** Another Bigend reference, this one to Pattern Recognition – Cayce’s black MA-1 was by Japanese retro-replica manufacturer Buzz Rickson’s, which didn’t even make a black MA-1 until after the book came out and demand exploded.
*** Pretty much all three books…