Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Miscellaneous Feature: Sartorial Maturity

Warning: Article Contains Strong Language

Today, I felt ready to enter the world of 'Men's' clothing and peruse the sartorial offerings of John Lewis. If you are a man who is yet to do this, I implore you to try. Never before have I felt such satisfaction as when my fingers brushed the folds of those elegant and crisp shirts, or when they were lost in the sands of cashmere sweaters, soft beyond measure.

I hadn't set foot inside John Lewis properly since I was a child, and back then it seemed like a maze to me. All too often, the gleaming tiles of the store's pathway would lead me past what I sought (a lightsaber for £200, no doubt) and into a labyrinth of dappled light shining through a forest of a thousand different species of lampshade and chopped up by rotating fans made of hickory and ash. Well, today I walked these department streets with vigour and a sense of purpose. I was conveyed to a spot emblazoned with the words 'Men's Department'. And indeed, it was. I was surrounded by men with chiseled jaws clad in a silvery hue. Suddenly, my beloved Topman, with its pounding and simultaneously obscure yet omnipotent soundtrack became a bizarre and naked thing, something I couldn't countenance. These men didn't need the guidance of corporately approved music; they were too content with the succouring bosom of this Victorian department store, too content with their own notions and opinions of life, to be swayed by a garish, neon playlist. Suddenly, my clothes became like skeletons in my closet and I was gripped with an urge to hurl a lit match into the bowels of my wardrobe and slam the door behind it.

I meandered through sturdy mahogany stands of tastefully displayed shirts until I found a belt rack. A symphony of aroma courted my nostrils. It was a truly arresting smell. The belts hung like snakes nailed to a door. I could imagine a burly, knotted man curing the hide of a cow on a tanning rack with the piss of a Geordie, then cutting it into strips; I was taken with the romance of the process and that wonderfully reassuring scent of Europe and of experience. I walked on towards an important assembly of robust sweaters and jumpers, of turtleneck, and of buttoned, and of stitch-sturdy. I imagined a group of apronned and barbered men tying them together and testing their strength by tug-of-war, and the stalwart, steadfast stitching yielding not one inch. I checked the price of one. It was £120 (fuck that!!!!). Fuck that, for now anyway.

I turned on my heel and left without looking back, for I didn't need to. I would return there someday (next Sunday). The world was different to me now, I had tasted the waters of tailoring-manhood and they tasted good. They nourished me against the ghastly clothing of today. I began to notice the number of ridiculous purchases that had been made by decidedly dehydrated men and fathers all across the city. Men with spiky hair, lined faces and pregnant stomachs steamed passed me in tawdry urban-wear. They pushed buggies laden with bags that had things like 'GIO-GOI' and 'G-STAR RAW' and 'LOCK 'N' LOAD' and 'G-FORCE 120MPH' emblazoned across them. Their children clung on for sweet existence (indeed the baby that rendered the buggy a necessity would cling also, for they'd been moved to accommodate a bag full of baseball caps and Allstar trainers). The arse of their jeans would be branded with much the same, as if they were cattle. Their pudgy wives would lumber behind them, smoke issuing from their mouths as they barked things like: "KIEE-RENN, C'MOWN ISS WAY OR YI WINNA GIT ONY SUPPAAAAR. D'YI HEAR MI?". It was clear to me that, had these men sought refuge in the warm embrace of a starched shirt or the creases of 'Prince of Wales' check from a young age, they would not be married to RAW women yielding sons called Jack Jones. And with that, I thought to myself, when my chiseled jaw is clad in a silvery hue, I hope I am married to her that may give me a John Rocha. Rocha John Rocha, if possible.

by Adam S. McIlroy


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