This morning I received a compliment on my clothes from another teacher as I strolled out to the playground before the morning bell. I thanked him, and immediately deflected the praise, since the person who really takes the responsibility for my sartorial state is my wife. I have been fortunate to be on the pity end of her fashion stick, which sometimes comes with the carefully aimed, "Are you going to wear that?"
The answer, on any given day, would be a shrug and a "why not?" In my previous life, I had uniforms, or even better, when I ran a warehouse, I could wear any of the hundreds of t-shirts that I have collected over the latter half of the twentieth century. South Park and Ramones are not considered appropriate attire for elementary school teachers. Nor are the vast array of sports jerseys that I have stashed away. I know of a number of teachers who have made a career out of their Hawaiian shirt collections, but I prefer to save mine for occasions outside of school. In this way I create only positive associations with my "fun" shirts. We have a new fifth grade teacher who has set a campus record by wearing a tie for each of the first seven days of school. How long will that last? I know that I have worn a tie to school a total of fourteen times in ten years. Clothes are fairly low on my list of priorities, I confess.
To a certain extent, I rely on the popular myth about Albert Einstein wearing an identical suit every day of the week. I have my school clothes, and my play clothes. In my youth, I relied on the magic of Garanimals to confirm my sense of style. Without the aid of matching tags, I am left to sort out combinations from a select number of pants (primarily Dockers) of polite shades, and a slightly larger group of "shirts with collars." Every so often I stop and think about which pants "go" with which shirts, but for the most part, I grab a pair of pants, pull a shirt off a hanger in the early morning light, and off I go. Being well-dressed means that I choose to wear socks that are not white. You know I'm trying to impress when I'm wearing argyles.
So, thanks for noticing, and I'll pass along all the kind words to my fashion consultant. And for those days when it looks like I got dressed in the dark - well, you'd be right.