2008.05.14 Need fashion advice? Don't ask my husband

Written by David Green.


My husband’s been commenting on my clothes the last few days and he’s being none too nice about it.

It’s my own dang fault; I probably shouldn’t have asked his opinion in the first place. But Maddie was out running Friday and Rozee hadn’t arrived home yet, so I had to rely on David for fashion advice. It was a mistake to use him as my mirror.

I put on a black and tan checked jacket with big front pockets over a smoky black long sleeve T-shirt.

“How does this jacket look with this shirt?”

He can’t contain his laughter.

“Where did you get that?”

“I got it at Goodwill.”

“It looks like you got it at Goodwill,” he says.

David doesn’t shop. He doesn’t shop at Goodwill and he doesn’t shop at the mall.  He rarely even shops at the grocery store. (It’s a momentous occasion when he returns home, unbidden, with a grocery bag of bananas, oatmeal and cornmeal—almost as if he’s shot a deer—literally bringing home the bacon.  To actually go out and purchase articles of clothing is rarer yet for him.

He’s no authority on what clothing from Goodwill looks like. I really have no business enlisting his opinion—except I haven’t worn this particular jacket to work before and Maddie is still out running and Rozee is still driving home from Berea.

“You don’t think it looks good with this shirt?”

“Yeah, maybe it’s the shirt,” he says, after considering it for a second. “It’s too black. Then he erupts with laughter again while pointing at my jacket.

He’s laughing so hard he can’t speak.

I try on another recent Goodwill purchase, an all-black suit jacket made of polyester, that fabric I hate, but it doesn’t actually touch my skin and the jacket design is pretty sharp.

“Black on black?” he laughs.

So I try on a thickly woven all-cotton white jacket with gray and white striped trim on the collar, sleeves and pockets. It’s a nice little number I bought when the girls and I were out college shopping for Maddie. I think it was in a really cool shop in Oberlin, Ohio. I’ve worn it several times in the past.

“It looks like you ought to take it off and dry dishes with it,” he says.

I look in the mirror and it doesn’t look so bad to me.

“Were you drunk when you bought that or was it a present?”

I examine it more closely and see that, by jove, he’s right—it does look a bit like a dishtowel.

I opt for my Bali jacket. It’s a pretty safe bet. Interesting pattern, almost batik-like, long enough to cover the bunchy waist and pockets of my weird gray pants, also purchased at that shop in Oberlin. I head for work, making a mental note not to ask David’s opinion on fashion matters.

But Monday evening at dinnertime, I am freezing and put on my “thread” jacket to keep warm. I love this jacket because it’s full of all kinds of colors, woven in a random pattern with threads hanging out here and there.

I make the mistake of asking, “How about this jacket? Think I can wear this to the council meeting?” as I hold up the sleeve which is showing some wear.

“Nobody will notice,” he says. “The whole jacket is in tatters.”

“You don’t like this jacket either?” I am amazed because everybody likes this jacket.

“It’s the one I tried to sell,” he says.

The kids had a yard sale several years ago that David helped man. I remember walking home from work that Saturday and seeing my jacket hanging from a clothing rack, waving in the breeze.

I don’t think he really would have sold it, but you never know what to expect with David.

For Mother’s Day, Maddie gave me a really nice, white, almost dressy sweatshirt. We were getting ready to go to my in-laws house so I said, ”I’m not going to wear it right now because I’ll be eating food.”

“When will you ever wear it?“ David asked, fully implying that all I ever do is eat food.

Hmm, I wonder how long it’ll be before I end up in a straight jacket.

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