I've never been a clothes horse, never knew the ins and outs of what to wear, and I've certainly never been able to keep up with the vagarities of high fashion, nor understand it, and especially not afford it. My ideal of high fashion is a loose-fitting T-shirt and a pair of Levi's 550 jeans.
It all started this morning with a new pair of slacks for work. You see, I'm used to working in the Polo Shirt and Chinos Brigade. I seem to have entered the job market just about the time that polos and khaki pants had become the standard uniform for sales and office personnel, so I never thought twice about them. They're a little coarse, and they lose their colour and shape pretty fast, and show wrinkles pretty quickly if you sit for more than half an hour. And since they're fairly cheap I've gotten quite accustomed to wearing whichever brand happens to be on sale at the time. I guess that's why I don't know much about dress pants, and why this morning's find struck me as so earth-shattering.
I had found the satin lining.
I didn't know that men's dress slacks are lined. And no, I'm not referring to pinstripes, I'm talking about...well, sort of a sewed-in piece of extravagance. I never realised that men's slacks have a pant's leg inside their pant's leg. I know that sport and suit coats are lined with satin, I always just assumed that it was there to keep the material from hanging up on your shirt sleeves and such, and to hide the stitchwork and all the goings-on when you're reaching for your wallet to pay the waiter. Men's fedoras and better hats are lined with satin; again, I always figured it was because no-one wants to see raw felt on the inside of their $100 C-crown fedora from Milano, and it gives the manufacturer somewhere discreet to put their logo. But honestly, who is going to see the inside of your pant's leg?
Yeah, I know. Within certain circumstances.
I used to hate dressing up. I think all men do, at least at first. There's something deep inside us that rebels against looking nice. I've never been one to dress up a great deal, but when I do I've come to expect the clothing to feel different. Nicer. More on par with what you've spent for that nice suit. The material is more than just plain old cotton, so it feels different, right? So when I first sat down at my desk this morning and felt a seam or something in my pant's leg, I started cursing Wal-Mart. Thought for sure I had been had, that there was a bit of string, a missed series of stitches or something in my pant leg that had come loose and I had simply not noticed it before. But no, it seems that certain, well, shall we say "less expensive" slacks simply aren't lined all the way to the cuff, just long enough to cover the majority of the leg, and I was feeling the mid-length hem in the satin.
Satin lining. Who would have thought it? Not just a neat sort of satiny trim along the inside where the pockets are, not just an extra button and catch arrangement to keep the waist band from bunching up, making sure the front of your slacks don't wad up or strain in odd directions when you're carrying a few more pounds than you should. No, there's a lovely long bit of satin lining that keeps everything moving smoothly, keeps your pants draped nicely when you sit and when you walk.
Yeah, I know, I'm a freak. I just never realised it before. Not the freak bit, I knew that. I simply never knew there was a clothier's trick to making nice pants, er, nicer. But upon sober reflection I realised that chinos and khakis and such have just plain cloth for the pockets, and in the inside you can see the hems and stitching. Not so on slacks. They've got STYLE. They have a sort of Saville-Row broad striped satin lining along the waistband and such, and the pockets are made of the same satin material. Elegance. Sophistication. A satin lining.
So how long have garment makers been hiding this from us? Or am I just now waking to the Good Life? No wonder bankers and lawyers and the better class of mob enforcers wear nice slacks and suits. They've got satin on under that J C Penny's suit! They're wearing Man Slips.
I'm going to have to get out more.