If I could access the numbers, I would love to know what the American population spends on designer clothing per year. My best guess is that it’s in the high millions or billions. Having never been a part of that elite sector, my reflection on it is without bias but with substantial input.
The best way to understand the significance or relevance of clothing is to watch a playground full of kids. Until you examine the representatives of fourth grade or younger, you can’t really understand the purpose of clothing. These are the children who universally consider their clothing to be restrictions, inconveniences or simply facts of life.
When I observe the clothes that my students wear to school, I automatically realize that many of their households may be financial disadvantaged. As a result, it’s common to see clothes that are worn thin or look as if they had belonged to older brothers and sisters. In other cases, clothes are often last-minute decisions that pair stripes with patterns and colors nowhere in the same range.
We have much to learn from these young people. If you are part of the public that spends egregious amounts of money on clothing, keep in mind that cheaper (less expensive?) clothing performs the same functions. They keep you cool or warm, they prevent you from exposing body parts unworthy of exposure and keep spilled food from landing on your chest.
Beyond that, I’m beginning to believe in the idea of the more functional, the better. While I was the one who owned forty-plus pairs of shoes that were largely determined by fashion, my priorities are now comfort and durability. Whether or not that’s a result of age, I can’t decide. But I see kids most of the weekdays of my life and they have much to teach about fashion.
Give us zippers that zip, shirts that look okay untucked and shoes without laces. On any given day, I estimate that 80% of my shoe-laced kids operate with untied shoes. We also need jackets that are neither too heavy nor too light, tops that can be worn several times per week and pants that will stay at the waist without benefit of belt.
Jewelry is seldom seen; when it is present, it’s a cherished memento. The scarf is only for keeping warm and gloves may or may not match. This all makes perfect sense. Our young people demonstrate some very good rules of usefulness and efficiency. If they often look messy or haphazard, that’s okay too. Shalom.
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