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About 3 years ago, I walked into the elevator (possibly the world’s slowest moving elevator) and noticed a woman I work with and what she was wearing. I looked over at her, trying to get my brain to absorb what she had on. She noticed me staring at her “slacks”. She said, “It’s Barney, you know, the big purple dinosaur.” She was wearing (I swear to god) a pair of Barney pajama bottoms and a mismatched crew neck sweatshirt. I must have looked a bit shocked but I had to ask, “Where would one find Barney slacks?” She told me they were pjs and it was, after all, casual Friday. I just mentally noted that as long as she was dressed (and, thankfully, completely covered) it was probably all that could be expected of this person. I suppose she didn’t have enough brain cells to really consider that this was not proper attire for the work place. I am just glad she didn’t show up for work wrapped in only clear plastic kitchen wrap, looking like a moldy leftover from the back of the fridge.

I personally am not a real fashion plate. My employer does not have a formal dress code, thanks to the tireless work of the union. However, where I work, any effort to get dressed up is noticed for several reasons. The first being that more people than not share the “Barney pjs” sense of self expression.

Being part of the management team, I have made an effort to hold myself to a higher standard. I figure that if you are part of the labor crew, one of the perks is not having to deal with a dress code. For the first year or so, I always wore ties to work. It was a habit from my previous job in sales. As time went on, I lost the tie but continued to try and dress up a bit with nice shoes, Dockers and nice button down shirts.

The biggest reason for my dress style was that I just wanted to blend in with the rest of the staff. As an extra large guy living in a medium world, this was not really working. But, I did what I could to not stand out in the crowd any more that I already did. I never wore plaids or bold colors. I always wore black Dockers and solid color shirts. I also had several vests that I wore to dress up my look but they were all navy, dark gray or black. My plan was to just fit in and not call attention to myself, or at least, not because of how I was dressed.

One of the crazy things I used to do was cut the tags out of my shirts. I told myself this was due to the scratchy nature of the tags (which is true to some extent. I am not sure, but think they sew some of them in with 40lb test fishing line as an F.U. from the third world sweatshops to the rich Americans). The truth of it was, I didn’t want to face the fact I was wearing a 9XL shirt. It was just a way of hiding the fact I was fat from myself.

As I have lost weight, my sense of fashion has changed. I am wearing bold colors and shirts with big prints. My current favorites have “aggressive embroidery” on them. They do tend to remind me of something that a big time wrestler would be wearing while doing interviews. I draw the line at the printed MMA tee shirts. I don’t think I need anything with a Viking sword on it. Maybe I just don’t feel the need to advertise that I am having a midlife crisis. The next thing you know, I will be one of those 50 year old douche bags from the weight room that cut their tee shirts up to show off the “guns”. Maybe I should just give in, buy the corvette, get my hair permed to cover up my growing bald spot and acquire the asshole attitude. No, not really my style.

I do kind of like the fact I am getting a bit bolder in my style. I have been enjoying the ability to wear what I want and not really worry about fitting in. The good news is, I don’t have to worry about looking going too far; my friends have no problem asking me, what the fuck were you thinking?

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