Friday, October 3, 2008

Always a fashion plate

Funny how some things change but stay the same. When I was a kid, I wore shorts and a t-shirt a lot of time and now that I’m retired I wear shorts and a t-shirt most of the time.

In between the time I was a kid and now, my dress certainly changed. I remember when I went to college at Northeastern State in Tahlequah, I wanted to look my very best, so I outfitted myself with a whole new wardrobe. I had a new pair of wingtips shoes and I always wore socks to match my shirt. If I had a light blue shirt, I wore light blue socks. If it was a black shirt, I wore black socks, etc. You know, being fashion-conscious was very important in the mid-1960s.

Hair-style, too. All through high school, I had a flat-top, but in college I let my hair grow out some and stared combing it, with part on the left side.

When I left college and went into the Air Force I usually wore fatigues every day. When I left the Air Force and went back to college I still wore fatigues much of the time. Military clothes, including combat boots, seemed to be the norm by that time.

By then, long sideburns were in. At Altus Air Force Base right before my discharge, I worked nights and I had started growing them, anyway, because no officers or my bosses ever saw me, until one day I had to go in for inspection after I got off work. I, for lack of a better word, failed inspection and had to go right home and shave my sideburns off, and report back for duty, or inspection, as it were.

Back in college, however, I let them grow long again. Plus, I started wearing a mustache, fu man choo-style. Man, I was cool.

Then it was graduation time and time to get out in the real world and begin working. My dress went back to conservative, I got rid of the mustache and had to start acting a little more professional. I did grow a beard in 1976, year of the centennial, but I didn’t keep it long. I never liked the beard look.

For a while, after I moved from the Kilgore News-Herald to the Longview News-Journal, I wore a tie to work every day. Then one day the publisher made it mandatory to wear a tie, and I stopped. Just to be a rebel, I suppose.

Once I left the newspaper and went to work as SID at LeTourneau University, I was back wearing shorts again, at least, from about April to November, or whenever the weather got too cold Now, I’m retired and I wear nothing but shorts, unless it gets too cold.


At October 3, 2008 at 10:47 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep, funny how clothing changes with the job. I never had to wear a coat & tie to work, but when I worked for the publishing company, I did have to wear a tie when I first started there. That didn't last long as people started becoming more casual.

I never have liked to wear shorts out in public that much though. Don't want to make people feel bad by having to look at my bird legs. - Jim Patterson

At October 3, 2008 at 6:16 PM , Blogger Glen Lazalier said...

Clothes are a funny cultural accommodation. Ever wonder why men's shirts have collars? Or why men's clothing buttons differently than women's? Ditto the belts?

When I worked for AT&T Long LInes Division we had to wear a suit, white shirt, tie, and a hat whenever we traveled for the company. Also, we sat in first class because, as my boss explained to me, "that's where our customers sit." For years I wore a tie to my engineering job at the AEDC but gave it up about 30 years ago. Now I wear an open shirt under a sport coat for everything--including church.

At October 4, 2008 at 5:27 PM , Blogger Chuck Hudlow said...

Good one, John. I can relate to all you said, too. When I went to work for the government back in '70 as an air traffic controller, we all had to wear white shirts, black ties, and dark slacks. Everyone looked the same, except for size. It was several years before the dress code was relaxed for us and we could shed the ties...and finally, turn to shirts with color. If you were to visit the same radar control rooms and airport towers today, you would find a stark contrast from those early days. Now controllers get away with wearing shorts, collar-less shirts, shoes without socks, etc. Yet, they want the public to consider them 'professionals'. They do 'dress up', however, if they know there might be a news reporter with a camera coming by.


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