Clothes For The Awkward Male

February 2, 2012 2:00 PM


There’s nothing I hate more than shopping for clothes. Being the colorblind, style-less geek that I am, I’ve always depended on others to dress me. Not literally, I still put on my own pants in the morning, one leg at a time like a true American. I didn’t necessarily pick those pants out though, or, if I did, I had a lot of help.

Well, not anymore! Recently, I ventured out into the world of shopping all by my lonesome. I went to Topshop, a relatively new addition to Chicago, with the intention of dressing myself. Yes, like a full fledged grown-up.

pants Clothes For The Awkward Male


What The Heck Are Chinos?

I think I may have previously heard whispering of these mystical “chinos” amongst groups of huddled, young peoples far better dressed than me. I didn’t know what the word meant though. Was it some sort of voodoo curse? Racial slur? A new indie rock band?

Pants. They’re pants.

My first mission in Topshop was to find a pair of pants I could wear at work that wouldn’t look too dorky if I happened to go out afterward without having to change. Eventually, I found chinos. They kind of looked like khakis at first, with a different shape to them. When you’re skinny as a stick like I am, anything that looks remotely baggy, looks extremely baggy. Dress pants always look weird on my chicken-legs. So chinos, with their thinner, straighter shape, seemed like a good idea.

I did notice that most of the pants here were labeled “skinny” or “thin” or some other adjective that’s synonymous. Skinny jeans and pants tend to make me feel awkward, so I bought chinos a size bigger in the waste than I usually would, which gave me a little extra room in the thighs. If you’re not the biggest fan of super tight pants, this might not be your first stop for jeans.

I hate spending any money on clothes, so was happy to find chinos in the sale section for $30. Cheaper is nice, but that’s not exactly breaking the bank.

plaid Clothes For The Awkward Male


Lumberjacks Wear Plaid

And therefore, plaid is manly. This must be the reason plaid shirts are so cool: skinny and plump losers alike want to be cool … like lumberjacks.

I’m a skinny loser who wants to be manlier, so I also picked up a decent looking plaid shirt while I was at Topshop. My intention here was to get something I could wear on a casual day at work, but also on the weekends. I think I accomplished that goal.

At $60 buckeroos, I think this may be the most I’ve ever spent on a shirt. Even dress shirts. (I’m really, really cheap.) And although I’ll never be certain of the colors on this shirt (again, I’m colorblind), I think I’ll be happy with this buy.

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That’s a word I just made up! It’s like respectable, except with more letters, and it’s meaningless. Maybe it’s a simile?

I did want to find a shirt that was a little more respectable for work though. Thankfully, I found this simple, light-blue, dress-like shirt in the sale section.

It’s nice and simple, which is what I like. You can’t screw up nice and simple, right? It’s also something that’ll go with plenty of my old clothes. My pairs of old dress pants and khakis I wear to work every day will all match this shirt. That makes it versatile, and versatile is great.

Plus, being in the sale section, it was on sale. $30 instead of $60!

So there you have it! We survived it! Our solo shopping trip! Yes, the whole ordeal was anxiety-ridden. Sure, the hip music, which I couldn’t name, playing over the speakers made me feel like I wasn’t cool. And yeah, I was paranoid the well-dressed employees were staring at me behind my back. And that super-cool looking guy in the bowtie? He was definitely judging me. But, you know, I don’t care. I don’t care what that guy or the employees or the pretentious music (especially) think of me. All I care about is clothes. I wanted some, I went to the store, I bought some.

Mission accomplished.

Now get out there and buy some of your own.

Mason Johnson, CBS Chicago

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