Oct 11, 2017–Why are clothes so uncomfortable?

I was coming home from a board meeting and thinking how I couldn’t wait to get out of my belt, button-down, and boots.

It struck me–what is this insanity, that in order to be perceived as successful, requires us to wear clothes that bind, itch, constrict, and irritate?

Let’s take the typical man’s suit. Start with the tie. What executioner started that fashion? We are essentially taking a short length of gaudy fabric and tying a noose around our necks. Perhaps a metaphor?

The shirt? A starched, white, long-sleeved strait jacket. All wrong. Starched to feel like cardboard. When did society deem a shirt’s natural state–wrinkled–wrong?

White. The most stain revealing, spaghetti sauce attracting, perspiration extracting color ever invented.

Long sleeve. In Texas? In summer?

The jacket. I know, said some sadist fashion designer. Let’s throw on another layer. But make this one dark and wool, so it traps more of the sun’s rays, creating our own mobile greenhouse effect between the jacket, the sleeves, and our skin. You could grow tomatoes in there.

Shoes. Always uncomfortable. Thick leather wrapped around black socks wrapped around the part of the human body with the most sweat glands per square inch. Scientists couldn’t design a more suitable incubator for bacteria and fungus.

Stifling as men’s fashion might be, women have had it worse throughout history. High heels? Walking on tippy toe all day? No thanks.

Corsets? Girdles? Nylons and garters? Undergarments laden with wires and whalebones? Or that new constrictive torture fabric called Spanx?

The finishing touch is pore-clogging makeup for the face and acrylic paint to hermetically seal the nails.

It struck me as funny that movies about the future always show both men and women in formfitting jump suits, from Bananas to any Star Trek episode. Yet that future never arrives. The only time I wore a jump suit was when I worked in a turkey hatchery in high school. Come to think of it, it was very comfortable. And overalls. Every Iowa farmer I knew growing up lived in overalls, which are a type of jumpsuit, except offering a shirt option.

Now, I admit I like the look of my bank vice presidents and middle school principals in starched white suits and ties, and my red carpet movie stars in high heels and strategically placed sequins. We all yearn to aspire to an ideal that inspires us. After all, the men’s suit has been a mainstay since the first U.S. president posed for a portrait.

But here’s a revolutionary idea. Answer this: what do you wear around the house when no one is watching? I’ll bet it involves some of the following:

  • Sweatpants
  • Loose T-shirts
  • Crocs or flip flops
  • Minimum number of undergarments

There. Why can’t that be our business suit?

Maybe this movement can start right here. Next meeting, who’s with me? Who will show up in sweat pants, t-shirt, and crocs?

That’s what I thought.