Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Shirts

Leaving the glasses hanging. No pockets and the cheapest white plastic buttons available. 70 bucks.

A no-pocket trivial shirt.

Max-style. Sailing to wedding in a coat and hat. Bonus points for flipped tie and emergency gear.

Holding a hairy dog while wearing wedding dress: Good form!

Happily dressed for marriage.

Chris Johnson and I were right here after sleeping overnight in the same clothes we wear anywhere teaching or downtown.

If it can't be accessorized with a classic rifle or dead mammal, beware!

North Face. Can't go wrong. Presidents 100 at Camp Perry, 2007.

Out looking for antlered things to kill in Swiss Army coveralls. Gunshow or ebay. 20.00.

Too late by now. Most of them are packaged and placed like ready-to-detonate IEDs under Christmas trees all over what we used to call the Republic. I still have to comment.

Katie bought me a shirt to wear at our wedding in Maine. Like any good husband, I agreed to wear whatever she bought. What she bought was a white linen shirt with an indeciperable ornamental embroidered display running up the left side of it. And the clincher: No pocket.

Only a woman would buy a shirt for a man like this. First of all.....embroidery? For men? No man has intentionally worn embroidery in the history of history. Luckily the coat she bought covered it. And the coat had some pockets. So I could conceal a sharp object, suffer through and cope. I'm a cooperative spouse.

She followed it up buying a shirt for a Christmas party last weekend. A polo shirt. A expensive polo shirt with no pockets. Nice lines. Cheap white plastic buttons. Little man on a horse. that cute or what?

So what is this embroidered no-pocket shirtness all about? It can be explained in one or two words: Gay designers. They don't want to ruin the LINE of the DESIGN by the bulge of something stuffed in a pocket. Distorts the little horse and rider. Gay designers are wonderful....for women. They don't understand lifting, carrying or killing. Concealing a weapon? Are you craaaaazzzzy? Guns=republicans!

Contrast the designers at Ralph Lauren, (Is he Ralph or is he Lauren?), with the designers at 511 or Patagonia. 511 has your pockets. Not just ornamental pockets, like at Abercrombie..(setting aside the issue of buying a shirt in a store famous for models shirts).....WORKING pockets. Real pockets to put real stuff in so that when you need the real stuff it will be in reach. Hidden pockets should be USEFUL hidden pockets. Mens clothing shouldn't be designed with "lines" in mind. Men are supposed to wear clothing thats ready for when they pick things up and carry them around.

A few years ago Chris Johnson and I climbed the front shoulder of Half Dome to a spot where Ansel shot his famous "Monolith" image. When we got there at 8000 feet in the Sierras, I noticed that we were both wearing the same thing we were wearing when we had dinner at a swanky Indian restaurant in Oakland two nights before. Same shirts, same shoes, same pants. Now THAT'S some damn manly clothing for you, right there. Restaurant. Sierras. Glasses and pen in the same pockets as always.

Just had breakfast at Cafe Tazza. Well-off guy walks in with two teenagers, one of whom is carrying a 1500.00 purse and the keys to a new red BMW parked outside. He has on Lucky jeans and an ugly nylonish-looking brown shirt with a design that wraps around his torso like the stuff you see on the women's plus size aisle at Walmart. No pocket. You could put this same shirt on any female of any race on the planet and they could walk in the mosque without an iman batting an eye. It's estrogen-based wear. What's he doing in it? Answer: a woman is buying his clothing.

All fall I've worn one of my favorite pieces of clothing. It's a Swiss Army zip-up coverall in fall camo. Lotta pockets, all well located. My cell phone goes in one. Cards for the cam in another. Slash pockets for hands. Thigh pockets for gloves and cam batteries. Knife here, rope there. Zippers at the feet and cuffs to help get you in and out. There is even a zipper between the shoulderblades that opens to reveal a loop of webbing sewn all the way down the back of the legs. No lie: it's a handle to drag a body back into cover. This is a great and functional piece of clothing. Leave no man behind.

So for Christmas or anytime, here's the rules for men's shirts.

1. No designs wrapped around part of it to show off the "line of the body." Men aren't art objects like Elle MacPherson. They aren't Mexican drug lords. They aren't leisure humans. They freaking lift, carry and work for a living.

2. Pockets. Two pockets best. Flaps even better. Don't be fooled by fake pockets i.e. Abercrombie faux-mil tattered beach wear. If it doesn't have a pocket it needs to be useable as a restraint or sea-anchor. Ask yourself: Can he conceal a weapon and carry extra ammo in this? No? Next item, please.

3. One fabric=one shirt. If you can't get blood or oil on it, can't lift objects or force doors wearing it, cut tourniquets or bag deer loins or liver in it its probably the wrong fabric.

4. If it's a "holiday themed" shirt it needs to be flame retardant, at the very least.

5. Is it an advertisement or a piece of clothing? No logos over one half inch. No fake ball teams, bars, events, etc. Don't debase yourself.

6. Can it be accessorized with a firearm or dead mammal? Look OK with rappel rope over the shoulder or life preserver worn on top? No? Pass by, oh traveler, pass by.

7. Will it still look good with a hole torn in it?

8. If an asteroid hit the planet, or zombies rose from the grave, would you have to change to something else? If so: Ride on.

Update: To breakfast brunch, then into the stone-lined creek outside to cut wild saplings and vines growing through the rockwork in the same shirt: A red flannel Patagonia mens medium made in Portugal in about 1977. Color still good. No rips or tears or worn edges. Good flap pockets. Underneath a blue lightweight Patagonia capiline snap neck top from about the same decade. Clothes older than my daughter. The 10-year old rubber boots I deer hunt in. You just can't go wrong with Patagonia, Royal Robbins, 511, Northface.


Old NFO said...

Nice pics of the wedding, and AGREED on the clothing!

Alan said...

Excellent advice.

Mr.B said...


What he said.

I got shirts that old too.

and I wear 'em a lot.

Len said...

You should try LLBean.
Plenty of pockets and GREAT prices on very durable clothes.

mi corazon feliz said...

You did look good in the shirt, whether it was functional or not.

George said...

This is priceless. I still have my snap neck Patagonia shirt too. Wish I could still buy a replacement.

Anonymous said...

The ones I really miss are some snap-button one collar two-pocketed long sleeved shirts they made for a couple of years. I think I had three white ones, one gray and one green. The green and gray are still with me. Mosquito proof, sun-proof and very dashing. Metal snaps. Patagonia.

Anonymous said...

One negative comment. No Patagonia. they contribute big $$ to the enviro-climate-greenie fringe.
Lazarus Long