“Clean Shirt,”

“new shoes.  And I don’t know where I am goin’ to.” – ZZ Top

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Spring 1989, by the fireplace in our home in Norman, OK

This is going to be a ridiculous post, so you’ve been warned.  Flee now or read on if you’re so inclined to waste a few minutes on something ridiculous.  Here goes… recently my wife bought me a flat-billed baseball hat when we went to a Needtobreathe concert in Oklahoma City.  I’m warning you again.  This is going to be ridiculous.

Back in October I wrote about this awesome  same-day concert trip to OKC with our friends, the Cherry’s.  My wife and I always try to buy some concert swag whenever we hit these shows.  Well, let’s just say I wasn’t overly thrilled when my wife came back with the hat.  Though I love and have way too many baseball hats (trust me), I now have exactly one flat-billed hat.  In case you didn’t read the concert post, the venue (The Criterion in OKC) is a standing room only venue so you can’t leave your spot (especially if you have a good one like we did) without fear of never getting it back.  So I saved our “spots” while my wife went to the bathroom and made her way by the merch table.  I think my awesome reply when my wife returned with her t-shirt and my new hat was “oh… that’s… cool… um… did you realize it’s a flat bill?”  Not exactly a ringing endorsement dripping with gratitude.

Ever since my younger days I’ve always liked clothes and prided myself on being nicely dressed without being the fanciest.  I wanted to look nice, not overly nice – I didn’t want to invite ridicule and teasing from the guys.  I didn’t want to bring too much attention to myself, but I liked looking nice and color coordinated.  I owe much of that to my mom’s keen style and just the extreme blessing of a family that was able to afford items like nice clothes.  I understood pretty early that not every family could or wanted to spend money on wardrobe like my mom did.  These days my wife will confirm my love of nice clothes and especially baseball hats and shoes.  If I could have an unlimited gift card to Banana Republic and Foot Locker I wouldn’t need to go anywhere else for the rest of my life.

When flat-billed hats first came out I thought “those look stupid.”  After they were out a year or two and baseball teams started embracing them.  I thought “those still look stupid, but some of those guys can pull it off.”  And by “some of those guys” I meant mostly under the age of about 25.  I am a 45 year old banker that considers himself stylish but never really seriously considered buying a flat-billed hat.  Now I have one, and this is the first time I’m wearing it in public.  I’m sitting in Starbucks wearing my flat-billed Needtobreathe hat feeling strangely insecure probably not unlike an 8th grade school girl wearing a new dress to school.

Has anyone noticed?  If so, are they thinking that guy is too old to be wearing that hat?  He looks like a dork!  Does anyone even care?  Hey you sitting over there with your teenage friends pretending to study – look at me!  What do you think?  

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Stupid or stylish?  LOL.  Don’t care now, because I’m sure I’ll continue to wear it occasionally… when I’m feeling young and hip.  By saying “young and hip” I’m proving to myself I have no idea how the actual young and hip say that phrase today. #America

I told you this post was going to be ridiculous, but it just goes to show you’re never too old to feel insecure about your wardrobe.  We care less as we get older.  Ask any gentleman wearing black dress socks and sandals to attest, but part of me is glad that I still do care.  I care enough to feel a little insecure, and that’s not a bad thing.  Heck, it even produced a nearly 1,000 word post.

If nothing else, this post is a dedication to the woman who taught me how to match my clothes, how to look “put together,” and that shoes were an important piece of the wardrobe.  My mom personally helped keep food not only on our table, but on the table of Ralph Lauren through the 80’s and into the 90’s.  She loved that little polo man and I learned to love him too.

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You can barely make the little polo man on my long sleeve plaid shirt at my home in Norman, OK.

I don’t know if anyone noticed or even cared about my hat while I was sitting in Starbucks banging out this post, but my wife cared and noticed as I left the house.  She called me “P Diddy” as I left the house tonight, and then added “you look cute.”  She’s the only one that really matters to me anyway, because I married a woman who loves and appreciates a nice wardrobe more than I do.

“Black shades, white gloves.  Lookin’ sharp, lookin’ for love.”

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Senior prom – May, 1989.

I won’t be confused with the poor sap in today’s song/video, but this hit is a classic from 1983 from guys that were rocking their own form of style.  These guys make the “Duck Dynasty” guys look like baby-faced kids.  With their wonderful, flowing beards, Dusty Hill and Billy Gibbons were the recognizable faces of ZZ Top.  Joined by drummer Frank Beard (ironically the most clean shaven of the group), ZZ Top had quite a bit of success producing numerous hits especially between 1983-1986.  This is one of their most recognizable and famous songs.  If my looks couldn’t draw the girls when I was growing up (which they rarely did), then I always hoped they’d come running just as fast as they can, cause every girl crazy bout a “Sharp Dressed Man.”

As always, thanks for reading and wear your favorite shoes today.

sincerely,

the 80’s

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