Wanting, needing to be fashionably correct. Taking the time to make sure everything is pressed, accessorized just so with his clothing.
Yup. My older by ten years eldest brother Stephen is a clotheshorse. The fashion bug, the being “in”. Leading the trends in what to wear started back in the halls of a Maine high school.
As a little shaver wearing red PF Flyers, Jumping Jacks sneakers or whatever brand the Boston Shoe Store peddled, I remember my brother Stephen getting ready.Running an ironing board for the next day what to wear. Mom did a fine job with the four boys on all scores. Keeping the clothing department in our rooms clean, mended, ironed and tidy. But Stephen had above and beyond exacting standards to meet. To keep and make sure those creases and pleats were razor sharp perfectly pressed.
The loafers spit polished as if a large surly drill sargeant with a chip on his shoulder was stationed in our Maine farm house just outside of town.
That was battle ready to pounce. Going to shout drop for fifty soldier if “I can’t see my pretty self in the reflection of your highly polished shoes private”.
The hair on the top of his head always combed, arranged just so. Ready for action. Looking his best as if coiffed by an on location full time trained stylist. Ready, willing, waiting in the dressing set trailer. Who’s only job was to maintain “the look” for the “action, quiet on the set people”. The crack of the electronic scene clapper time recorder. “Roll ’em. Now throw yourself into the parts, the characters with feeling. We have sound”.
Girls in high school were the sport for a healthy Maine teenage boy.
He liked to be the target, in the cross hair scope of their affections, attention, flirtations. Knowing Monday if he had the family car for a date this weekend was priority one to establish early on. And if the answer was not the affirmative, tension in the house happened. He needed to know what to plan for, schedule at the end of the week. The parental tone of “it depends on what kind of week you have Stephen” car key dangling tease did not pacify. Did zip to help calm or appease the situation. As I ate my meat and potato, chop suey, whatever farm supper with three brothers. Observed, heard, felt the back and forth conversation that could get over heated and cause ear steam pretty quickly.
The enjoyment from looking dapper has not dropped away, ebbed in my oldest brother’s life today. Working in a Bangor Maine office setting in a management capacity. He sports an impressive, deep arsenal of clothing horsepower. Still the clotheshorse but not outdated with what just what worked a few decades back either. That qualified as today’s look for the time.
When I spend the night, am watching a movie in the guest room before the Sandman arrives, I notice a closet with not a handful of dress shirts.
I share the room with racks and stacks of clothes. We are talking every color, all neatly pressed and hung at attention. Waiting to be put into service. The extra racks like stores use with rows to hold more dress clothes selection.
Ties, I guess there are ties. For every conceivable color and patterned combination. All the holidays to compliment the rest of what he girds himself with to hit the day running. Looking spiffy neat and pressed and “with it” like a fashion plate.
Conservatively thirty men could outfit themselves handsomely with a divide the spoils approach to the stock pile of clothing inventory. To the wardrobe “Uncle Stephen” to my kids has amassed. It’s that deep and expansive. If clothes were a heart’s card game, you could say he took, had all the tricks in succession. Shot the moon and back several times.
Walk-in closets would love my brother Stephen.
They would feel like one of the most useful areas of his home. Very necessary and ten hut ready to be put into action. An integral part of the Maine household.
Today the ironing board is stilled used a lot, preparations the night before are exercised to be boy scout prepared. Mom would be proud of the clotheshorse that still practices the craft in the Queen City. Who has more blazers, slacks, sweaters, cowboy boats, dress shoes, tires, shirts than most mortal men. He played in several local Maine music bands over the years too. So the wardrobe is not just for the office boardroom meetings. But is way way broader than that. With an upscale country western twang flair showing. That allow the snake skin boat collection to mosey into the day to day in the cross fire of what to wear back and forth applications.
I like clothes too. But not quite bitten as deeply, to the bone by the needle and fabric thread bug. Recently cruising through the local Marden’s found a real bargain (Pronounced with a Downeast drawl “BAR-ginnn”) that was under 8 bucks.
Wool blend, extremely well tailor made with all the extra pockets, silk stitched lining. A matching dress suit of brown fine herring bone that fits like a glove. Mainers like a good trade to put a spring in their step. To free up hard earned money for other things in their life. To have left over for savings for those rainy days, fun activities, luxuries like groceries, kid’s braces and prom dresses.