Clothes may make the man, but I also believe they can be fun and make a statement.
I’m all in favor of dressing appropriately for work and, as the product of 12 years of Catholic schools, I have felt compelled to wear a tie to work every day for nearly my entire career.
But it doesn’t mean the ties all have to be boring.
They can be a way to convey my mood or subtly send a message.
For instance, I have a tie given to me by one of my sisters of Edvard Munch’s famous painting “The Scream.”
I tend to wear it the newsroom on election nights because those nights are filled with torment and chaos. (More accurately, the nights are filled with hours of the tedium of waiting for results followed by a few minutes of stark terror to make deadline.)
For the openings of each of the new “Star Wars” movies, I wear a distinctive “Star Wars” tie featuring Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader and Princess Leia.
And when I feel playful or want to channel my inner child, I have ties featuring Winnie the Pooh, Mickey Mouse and even Crayola crayons.
My most expressive clothing however is in my collection of T-shirts, or what my dad would refer to as my “knock-around clothes.”
I have three shirts with Dunkin’ Donuts themes, all in the same font and orange and pink lettering of my favorite coffee chain.
One reads “Dungeons and Dragons,” another says “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drink Starbucks” and another says “Drunkin’ Grownups.”
As someone who pretends to be a grown-up, I like wearing these. I often get laughs or nods of approval from passers-by who appreciate the play on words.
Also coffee-themed is a T-shirt with a sign that says “Out of Coffee” with the caption “Life Is Crap.”
Some T-shirts reflect my inner silliness, allowing me to fly my freak flag.
Take for example the ones that say: “Plays well with self,” “I’m smiling because they haven’t found the bodies yet” and one that says “Problem Child” with “Child” crossed out and written over it in red is “Adult.”
And then there are those that are, for me, irresistible, like the one of a black bear holding a potted flower with the caption “Hairy Potter.” (Yes, I know, grrrrroooan!)
I’ve recently discovered that socks are another way I can send secret sartorial signals.
Instead of the monochromatic socks I customarily wear, I’ve discovered some with very specific messages.
One set of socks, given to me by my older son, you can bet will be worn a lot.
The socks depict a man furiously chopping at a tree with an ax and the caption, which I will loosely translate, rhymes with “Duck this sit!”
Hmmmm…maybe that message is not so subtle after all!