Plumage

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The cardigan is me. Well, some days it is, some days it isn’t. Today it was, but with variation: a collared shirt underneath. It went well with my Adams Golf hat, because it uses the same color palette. I wear French sunglasses to mimic the look of adult film directors from the 1970s (or is it Fellini, or maybe Roman Polanski?) I wear jeans that fit. Sometimes shorts. Sometimes I wear a graphic T with [something stupid] on the chest. On some days I am a slob. Other days it is linen pants and a Guayabera. Sometimes I think it would be cool to go to the supermarket in the clothes I wear to run.

I assume this quibbling has to do with first impressions, and with which gene pool I will be attempting to attract. How do I sell myself? The golf hat and athletic-fit polo from The Gap sells The Douchebag, or The Frat Boy. So, why adorn myself with the typical elements of those fashion archetypes if I’m anything but? If it is common practice to go out of our way to fit into the conceit of our interests and personality, then why don’t I do it?

How would that even work? I love to write, so maybe a pair of slacks, a collared shirt from a thrift store, and a corduroy sport coat would do the trick. I already have a beard, so that has to count for something, right? I also love to golf, but we covered that. What about being a musician? I record music. I have been in rock bands (we had “a sound”). I listen to very specific music, yet I do not wear black hi-top Chuck Taylors (not always). I feel I am not thin enough to be a hipster. I am short, and I shave my head.

As I write this I have entered into a debate with a friend: what constitutes transformation? We have each given our examples. He says, “transformation is significant change (either aesthetically or conceptually) of any aspect of an object.” I say A must become B – it cannot merely become A. Example: A caterpillar that goes from blue to yellow hasn’t transformed; one that becomes a butterfly has. There is a difference between change and transformation

Without knowing I was writing this, that friend has now paralleled the concept of transformation with fashion choices: the idea of someone deciding to wear all black. It brings up questions. Over time, what would this choice do to our demeanor? In adopting a somber look do we force ourselves to adopt the clichés of the archetype – will we become more introspective and brooding? Will our world-view darken with our dress? Is there such a thing as inner transformation? He claims yes.

He is right. Consider, as a man, the feeling of putting on a perfectly fitting suit (or a fireman in his gear, a soldier in dress blues). If clothes can empower us, then they can make us feel anything within the gamut of human emotion. An inner transformation occurs. We adopt a new role, a new sense of duty, a new sense of self, a new sense of whatever. Within that we are a new person. The next day we may be in boxers and a T, and we would have changed back. This is our luxury. We have the ability to see ourselves, and to change according to needs. We adapt to our environment – even that environment which is immediate and pressed against our skin.

Why do I wear a cardigan one day, and stupid T the next? Why do I sometimes mix the two? The specific answers would take too many words. But, it is clearly connected to our psychology, and if there is any truth to the theory of peacocking, then it has something to do with impressing girls.

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