Friday, August 3, 2012

Does This Cap Go With My Shirt?

I’m never, ever, ever wearing black socks with sandals. I may be old but I’m not that old.
          Of course my lovely wife would say, “Oh, don’t bet on it.”
          I will admit though one of aging’s perks is worrying less about fashion. Ellen hasn’t arrived there yet. She still worries … about me … and my fashion statements … in public.
          Back in early June, I had a book signing at our local library. Twenty folks came down the stairs to the basement conference room to hear me speak about a writer’s life in general and about writing Dark Eyes, Deep Eyes in particular.
          Ellen didn’t attend because she was doing her children’s librarian thing. That didn’t keep her from checking up on what was happening.
She walked into the room, looked at me, turned to the audience, and said, “I didn’t dress him.”
She offers that disclaimer often … at the library … at church … while visiting friends … to strangers at Walmart.
And I offer no apology.
After all, I’m old.
And I don’t care.
Now I’m not saying I don’t care a spit about what I wear.
I do.
But my worries deal almost exclusively with cap selection. I would never wear a red cap with an orange shirt. Or a New York Giant cap with … anything!
Here are some things I’ve learned about fashion for the elderly.
Goodwill works for you. Some of my favorite shirts (including the one I’m wearing now as I write this) had their start in big name, fancy clothing stores. But I discovered them in the men’s clothing aisle of Goodwill.
Go bolder as you get older. I’d say this holds true for me but then I look at what I wore in the sixties and seventies (Can we say, “Leisure suits and Nehru jackets?”) and know I’m only returning to my early fashion roots. Nonetheless I find myself attracted to a colorful Hawaiian shirt or two.
Comfort is your priority. Shorts and sandals to church? You betcha. Black socks and tennis shoes? Why not?
But note sandals with shorts and black socks with tennis shoes. I’m not about to wear black socks with sandals.
After all …
I’m still not that old.

T. Neal Tarver, a native Texan living in Wisconsin, has served churches in Texas and Wisconsin. He, his wife Ellen, and son Daniel lived and worked for three years as missionaries in the Russian Far East. Tom speaks enough Russian to both converse and confuse.
In 2011, Tom was selected as a semi-finalist in the American Christian Fiction Writers’ Genesis contest. He’s also been a two-time winner of MBT’s “Make Every Word Count Flash Fiction” contest. His debut novel, Dark Eyes, Deep Eyes, is available through WestBow Press, Amazon, BARNES & NOBLE, and other retail outlets.
He currently writes from his home in Richland Center, Wisconsin, or from wherever his travels take him. He posts articles weekly at A Curious Band of Others.
Tom has spoken in churches across America, and in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.


Linda Rondeau said...

Hilarious Tom

JoAnn S. said...

Great post, Tom. I wear black socks with sandals sometimes. But then my sandals are beige--somewhere I read black and beige go together. I recycle my clothes a lot. If they hang in the closet long enough, they come back in style.

Diane Dean White said...

Good one, Tom. I can well relate. We live in FL, so not too many black socks, but hubby wears white socks with sandals, and I just pretend I don't know him! Intersted in your time in Russia. Our son and his wife are back for a second three year term. This time in Sochi, I think they'll enjoy it better than Moscow!
Wonder if you COULD find a leisure
suit in a thrift shop now-a-days!

tomynate said...

Interesting post. Okay, I'm 70. I refuse to wear a coat and tie unless it's a wedding or a funeral. I never comb my hair. I put some gel on it and mess it up. I was a professional most of my life and had to dress the part with every hair in place. I burned out in 1995 and rebelled against professional attire. It feels good to be a renegade.


Tom Blubaugh, Author
Night of the Cossack

TNeal said...

Sandals are the next best thing to barefoot so why mess with a good thing, JoAnn? But you're welcome to go where I daren't go. :-)

Diane, I've been to Florida so it surprises me to hear not too many black socks and sandals there. Perhaps in my next post I can write about Russia. I'd love to hear your son's experiences as well.

And, Tom, absolutely goes without saying. No ties! I'm grateful that my profession (pastor turned writer) hasn't always demanded a suit and tie.

Marilyn said...

Great post,Tom. I think we've earned the right to wear what we want and laugh at ourselves while we're at it. Age gives me a courage I didn't have when I was young, and it feels good to express more of the me that's inside. Thank you for your wonderful post.


Liz Flaherty said...


Carol McClain said...

Tom, you are funny! You better not wear that Hawaiian shirt on our "dinner date" at conference. Henry & I have a reputation to uphold.LOL.

I LOVE your sense of humor.

TNeal said...

So, Carol, you're basically waving the proverbial red flag in front of the bull. Well, oh-lay!

TNeal said...

Appreciate the kind words from all of you. Marylin, you use a great word to describe the freedom we have as we age--courage.