From Label Whore to Polo Bore

YoungRyanThere was a time in my life when narcissistic sentences would erupt from my mouth like, “I don’t wait in lines.”  Or, “I don’t believe in black licorice.”  Or, “I only shop at Villains-Vault.”  While my hatred of waiting in lines during my 20’s and the taste of black licorice lead to many nights forcing my way into NYC nightclubs and not ordering Flaming Sambucas…I had to eventually stop shopping at Villains-Vault when I moved away from San Francisco.  Some of my favorite articles of clothing and accessories are from there like my handmade hoodie by Paul Frank himself, limited edition Vans, and of course my 1 of 500 white ceramic Nixon watch most people still identify me with.  I was a label whore.  I owned a black Armani suit that fit me perfectly and from that day forward I was convinced that Armani was the only label I would wear for suits…because…duh…it fits me perfectly.  Sunglasses?  Armani.  Jeans?  Armani.  Ties?  Yves Saint Laurent.  Shoes?  Vans.  Tee-Shirts?  RVCA.  Hats?  New Era fitted.  Dress shirts?  I picked out fabric and had them hand-tailored because my arms were so long and my neck and torso so skinny.  I was a 6’4″ 180 pound runway model turned actor, turned filmmaker, turned commercial producer, turned…

…turned into a 30-something father of 2 living in the Midwest with a closet full of stuff that doesn’t fit anymore and a spare tire around the waist.  Polos.  That’s whats in my closet.  Polos.  Lots of polos with logos of golf courses I’ve played like Bandon Dunes, Flint Hills National, and Royal County Down.  So many polos.  I must have over 100 polos in my closet right now.  On Friday my wife and I decided to go out on a date and I realized I barely had anything anymore that didn’t advertise a place I worked for or a place I’d been.  Friggin polos!  I’m wearing a polo right now with a logo on it!  Polos!

Young RyanI can remember sitting on the beach in Hermosa with a buddy about 10 years ago commenting on the odd things our older generation wore.  Powder blue shorts with knee-high socks!  Tie-dye.  Above-the-waist slacks.  I came to the realization that everyone hits a point in their fashion where they say, “This is it…I’m comfortable!”  From that point on they no longer buy new things, keep up with fashion trends, or evolve.  They just replace things in their closet’s inventory as needed.  It made me laugh to think that one day I’d be an old man wearing New Era hats, hoodies, Vans, chain wallets, and dark sunglasses.  Who would be the Wilford Brimley of our generation?  “Hi, this is Ryan Seacrest and I’ve got diabetes!”  Doesn’t sound right without that Wilford Brimley accent.  “Die-a-beet-iss.”

Sherpa DadThe truth is that as we get older we seek clothing that is more comfortable and stop caring so much about what we look like.  I’m married…who am I out to impress?  Seriously…nothing impressive going on here anymore.  Just a bunch of southern facing man breasts, a receding hairline, and a propensity to throw my back out if I stand up too fast.  I like to wear boot-cut jeans these days from Seven For All Mankind along with a pair of Eccos and an untucked polo.  That’s my jam.  After work I like to slide into a pair of basketball shorts and the loosest fitting tee shirt I can find that covers my crumpled paper looking stomach ripples of fat that appear when I lounge on the couch.  Kate and I call this look “fat pants.”  I rock it on the daily.

So as I stand in my closet looking for something to impress and only see labeled polos looking back at me…I find myself saying much less narcissistic things in my 30’s.  Now I say, “I think I’ll swing by Target and see if they have some polos without logos on them.  Maybe I’ll grab a bag of black licorice while I’m waiting in line to check out?”  Whoa!  Take it ease Rhino…take it ease.  The truth is I moved away from NYC, LA, and SF for a life in Wichita, KS.  Why?  Start with the first post on this site and read forward from there.  This is the 400th post and it felt appropriate to reflect back and recapture what So Long Freedom was all about in the beginning:

“So long sleeping in…

So long tennis shoes…

So long freedom.

My journey into fatherhood, corporate America, and responsibility.”

Ryan GlassesFunny that 400 posts ago in 2010 “So long tennis shoes…” was part of the plan for this ongoing article and made it into the tagline.  “Hello polos.”  (The polos say, “Hi.”)  If we still lived in NYC, LA, or SF I bet I would still be wearing RVCA shirts, New Era hats, chain wallets, Vans, and so on…and I’d look pretty funny to current day me in my slacks and polos…because people don’t dress like that here, not people my age.  Actually, most people my age here wear suits or are much less casual than I am and wish they could wear polos.  (The polos are chortling)  So maybe I have to amend my Hermosa Beach hypothesis and include geographic location into the fashion equation.  You wear what is comfortable and indigenous to your area.  For me…I guess that means polos by day and tee-shirts by night.  Maybe its time I switched things up a bit?  Maybe I should rock the short-sleeve button down shirt look?  Not the plaid “hipster” look…but the “guy in his 30’s who likes the sophistication of a button down but doesn’t like to feel sweaty so he wears short sleeves” look.  Yeah.  Maybe that’s my new jam!  Pretty sure Target carries that look.  Its time to reclaim my casual look!  I have great formal wear!  I don’t care what I look like when I’m lounging!  I need a new casual look!  (The polos are giving me the stink-eye)  Don’t make any sudden movements…the polos are getting restless and I think they might be forming an alliance with the khakis to start a rebellion.

Shhhhhhh!  Don’t make the khakis angry.

So…with my 300th post I encourage you to share this site with friends, subscribe if you haven’t already, and join me for 400 more posts:

“So long classic 20’s narcissism…

So long polo shirts…

So long…hmm…<blank>…hello future.

My journey into fatherhood, corporate America, and responsibility continues!”

1781179_10100343056144992_1695578192_o
Wearing what I want at the launch party of Harvester Arts (Co-founder)

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2 thoughts on “From Label Whore to Polo Bore

  1. In my 20s, I cared more about fashion, my clothes, and looking “the part.” But as I had more kids and more responsibilities (and less disposable income), fashion went on the back burner – inexpensive, long-lasting, classic (non-fad) clothing became essential. Hi. I’m Deanna. I’m in my mid-30s and my closet is boring too.

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