My family will soon take advantage of our state’s tax-free weekend for clothing and school supplies, but none of our hard-earned money will go for distressed clothing.
Coincidentally, none of the money we spend at the food court will purchase pre-chewed burritos. Call us rebels.
Silly me, I had assumed that America’s fascination with faded/torn/threadbare clothing would be a passing fad; but it seems to have settled in as the New Abnormal, along with backwards baseball caps, droopy pants and calling an inaccurate weathercaster “literally Hitler.”
Sure, I save worn-out jeans and sneakers for lawnmowing purposes and respect hand-me-downs as a time-honored tradition; but I refuse to slobber over intentionally imperfect merchandise. Not even for the patriotic aspects: “America: where anyone can grow up to look like a ragamuffin.”
When I was 14 years old and working at my uncle’s junkyard, my clothing often sustained holes from battery acid. During my 18 years working in a warehouse, my garments underwent every indignity known to man. These were regrettable mishaps, but they were also badges of honor.
Perhaps you remember the 1980s Smith Barney investment firm commercial with distinguished actor John Houseman declaring, “Smith Barney: They make money the old-fashioned way. They earn it.”
Most of the people “keepin’ it real” by pretending to be hoboes haven’t earned it. Sorry if I sound like a grumpy old man, but it’s frustrating to think that I may someday find myself explaining to the police, “No, officer, I swear I didn’t sic my dog on the kids who wouldn’t get off my lawn. They already looked like that.”
I sometimes discover too late that one of my favorite garments has a frayed collar or conspicuous ink spot, but some distressed garments on the market go above and beyond the call of duty. They’ve been sliced, diced and experienced Robert Oppenheimer detonating something on them.
A vintage bargain from Goodwill is understandable, but the prices on some coveted garments make me think “relaxed fit.” No, not as in “relaxed fit waistband.” I mean “relaxed fit cranium.” These people’s brains have “done fell out.”
I realize rebellious consumers feel that purchasing distressed clothing is a way of Sticking It to the Man. The abundant rips certainly make it easy to tell The Man from The Woman.
The tattered look helps lonely people identify with rockstars, except for the part about rockstars getting royalty checks instead of daddy subsidizing a minimum-wage job.
The disheveled style helps compassionate elitists identify with the working man – or at least the working seven-year-old Asian orphan who stains the fabric.
People cruising around for distressed garments have more than too much time on their hands. They also have money burning a hole in their pocket. (“Yay! The money burned a hole in the pocket! Now let’s see if it will burn a hole in the crotch, too!”)
Many people customize/accessorize their distressed garments (and I have a grudging admiration for their creativity), but there are also fashion professionals who consider themselves to be Designers. Just realize they set a low bar. A ferret in a burlap bag could be a designer in these instances.
*Sigh* I just hope the frontload-your-problems mentality remains confined to clothing. We don’t need healthy individuals telling a doctor, “I want a second opinion, Doc! That quack refused to give me crows’ feet, osteoporosis and receding gums!”
Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at email@example.com and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.”