Imagine yourself as a child, frolicking through your parents’ back yard and digging up worms. Your mother calls you in from the kitchen for dinner and you bound in through the back door, smelling the roast she’s been tending to for the past few hours. At the table your father sits reading the newspaper, your sister fidgeting with a bow in her hair. Before you is the same familiar spread: off-white plates, clear glasses, spotless silverware, uniform serving utensils, and of course, the butter dish. You think nothing of the materials off of which you shovel food into your mouth, moving as quickly as possible to resume your outdoor activities. For hours your mother slaved over the stove to prepare your meal, but that won’t cross your mind until present day when, as an adult, you prepare meals for yourself and maybe even your own children. Now is a time… More…

We see commentary on women’s clothing all the time, but we rarely see much said about men’s clothes outside men’s fashion magazines, which are, let’s face it, an oxymoron. My own tendency has been to pity men for the lack of variety in their apparel. How sad to have to constantly replenish those bland staples: the tie, the trouser, the buttoned shirt. And yet, as someone who knows that a sonnet can be more richly satisfying than free verse, I also recognize that limitation can be a spur to creativity.

 

Which is why, recently, I leveled my gaze at the men’s buttoned shirt in the hope that it might yield insight into the subtle expressiveness of the male wardrobe. Once I began to look, I saw more than I bargained for. In fact, I came away dazzled by… More…