No longer making a fashion statement

I’ve got to go get some new shoes. I hate to, the ones I have now are really comfortable, sure the sole flaps a little when I walk, but they feel so good. I know The Queen of our castle will like it if I do because of a reference or two about looking homeless. I think I’m in luck though and may be able to replace them with a new pair of the same kind. They are kayak shoes, made of webbing with holes in the bottom to let water drain out. They are nice and airy and function fine for everyday wear as long as you remember not to step in puddles since the holes in the bottoms let water in as well as out. They have served me well for two years and I hate to see them go. I do know where they came from so that’ll help with their replacement.

I hate going into a shoe store cold. I get lost in the maze of special purpose shoes, you know, the ones that used to be called sneakers. They still look like sneakers but there are special ones for walking, running, soccer, football, yoga, skateboarding, boating, golf, hiking and cross training (does anybody know what cross training is?). There are thousands of choices in dozens of shapes and colors. Having a shoe size just slightly smaller than the average canoe does help limit the selections somewhat but there are still just too many. I long for the past days of my far away youth when the only athletic shoe was the black high top Converse All-Star! They are still considered a fashion statement, they just cost 20 times more than they used to.

Fashion dies shortly after your AARP card arrives. My daily outfits focus almost entirely on comfort. The older a garment, the better it is. A T-shirt or sweatshirt that has gone through the wash cycle a couple of hundred times will mold its self softly to the unique bumps and bulges that age adds to a formerly youthful body. Shoes as they are worn, lose their style and take on the shape of the foot that’s jammed into it daily, becoming less fashionable but more body friendly. Jeans lose their ability to shrink or return to their original shape and eventually stay stretched where they should be stretched and fade into worn old friends that know your body better than you do.

I used to design my sport coats and have them hand tailored. I had ties made to match, pocket handkerchiefs and sometimes even socks that coordinated with the rest of the outfit. I now wear a tie only on special hatching, matching and dispatching occasions. I see no reason for anything to match, if most of my major body parts are covered in a way that is socially acceptable, I’m happy. I no longer find myself in the Men’s Department of fine clothing stores. I do most of my clothing shopping in The Salvation Army store. The clothing is cheaper than anywhere else and has the advantage of having been pre-worn. Someone else has done the hard part and worn the new off. I’m not the only one either, Wednesday is Senior Day and the place is jumping. A few are there for economic reasons but I’m convinced that the comfort factor brings in a whole bunch of us. Last time I was there, I got a great pair of suspenders for a buck! I used to laugh at old timers who wore suspenders when I was a callow youth, not realizing that as you age and your belly becomes bigger than your butt, a belt no longer serves a useful purpose.

The other advantage to shopping used clothing stores is you can find clothes that you like that you’d never find in Old Navy or The Gap. Just try finding a good polyester leisure suit in either!

Thought for the week — If the shoe fits, get another one just like it!

Until next week, may you and yours be happy and well.

Reach Dick Brooks at

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1


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