Having a body type over-looked by fashion is not purely the domain of the female.
I have a body only David Cronenberg could love and have had coat hangers thrown at me by Jean-Paul Gaultier (okay, i made that last bit up, but if Jean-Paul frequented the same garage sales that i do, it would surely happen).
Being long of body, thin of frame, slight of depth and generally freaking weird everywhere else, i have always had trouble finding clothes that fit.
And they think they have it tough in the middle east.
As a teen, most of my clothes were hand-me-downs which should have been throw-me-outs, passed down from the malformed hands of deformed uncles and a brother whose styling’s leaned toward ‘hobo chic’ without the chic or ‘ham-burglar’ without the ham.
When I first came to Australia at the age of 12 i was growing out a shaved head inspired by my brother and his quasi-skinhead friends in the UK. Arriving to a sea of tanned, blonde, healthy looking freaks that my Australian contemporaries were, i was shocked and immediately, in the pre-teen stupor in which i dwelt knew that i did not fit in. This was reinforced by the daily beatings i received from those who obviously understood fashion better than I and eventually i succumbed to the pressure and knew that changes needed to be made, lest i die.
My poor parents, obviously sensing my imminent death by fashion mustered what little spare change we had and bought me the requisite uniform of board shorts, generic surfer t-shirt and humongous tongued basketball runners. Being an anemic, unathletic skinny kid from the frigid climates of South Wales, the irony of my new day-glo appearance was not lost on me. But lo and behold, i received an invitation by a young contemporary of mine to attend a movie on the weekend and i managed to giddily accept before rushing away to vomit from sheer excitement and nervousness.
Upon arriving in my outfit which resembled a vomiting contest in a sherbet factory i saw that my ‘date’ had brought friends. In fact he had brought about twelve of his cousins, every single one of them dressed in black jeans, black leather jackets, with black hair and black, black expressions on their faces.
“Who the fuck invited Jason Donovan?” One of them said and they all laughed.
There are pits in Calcutta which would not have been deep enough to bury my shame. They walked in ahead of me to see the movie (the high brow and sophisticated, Beverley Hills Cop, i believe) and the second the film ended they all left, me still trembling in my cinema seat, sick to my stomach and confused beyond reason.
I had made a terrible mistake; i had tried to fit in. For others, this act allows them a way in, an avenue with which they can gain similar ground with those around them. For me, it made me look like a jerk.
In my later teens, my love of Tom Waits and Nick Cave, Brendan Behan and William Burroughs offered me slight reprieve and lead me to adopt a new uniform, that of the second hand op-shop suit. With this i was able to attain a look somewhere between comfort, sophistication and that of an alcoholic who had not slept in a week. The aesthetic was not too far from the truth and for a time, i was truly comfortable in my second hand skin.
This, unfortunately did not last as a growing and misplaced sense of needing to appear mature erroneously prompted towards the shirt and jean look, which is universally accepted among those far more mature than myself. This look matched my change in status as my name became increasingly synonymous with that of being a ‘husband’ and a ‘father’ and an all round responsible human being of little to no interest.
At one point, desperate to try and regain some sense of youthful colour, i bought some Alice In Wonderland t-shirts based on the Tim Burton movie. The haunting laughter of my loved ones upon wearing these travesties as i tried to act like it ‘ain’t no thing’ still haunts me to this day. they were promptly returned. By my wife. I couldn’t face the shame.
Since then i have searched with little hope of finding my true uniform, of finding a single piece of clothing which might fit upon my spurned frame like it belonged, like i was worthy of being clothed within it.
A few years ago, i found a shirt.
It fit beautifully and i prayed that a window had been opened through which other, beautifully tailored apparel might appear.
So here is sit, broken hearted, wardrobe broken, never started.
I still pray to the fashion gods nightly, that they might, just once consider my slight arse, that my goat legs might become a factor in their spring line and that one day, just one day i might find myself in an ensemble that fits as well as the idea of myself does.