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Life Lessons

The One Easy Trick For Adding Color To Your Wardrobe

2:52 PM EST on January 2, 2024

A page from a 1939 mens clothing catalog for Fred Mueller with illustrations of men wearing colorful western-style shirts.
Jim Heimann Collection/Getty Images

This was a barren year for learning, as we ease into the time in life when many forms of learning are more of an imposition than a goal. There are so many new developments in all forms of our culture, and almost all of them have the shelf life of a mango on a space heater, thus the first question that arises when something new appears on the horizon is, "When will this transition into useless knowledge and be left by the side of the cranial road?"

But the attempt is what's important, if only to get people asking "What did you learn this year?" to shut up about what they learned this year, which is what they really want to share. And so this year's attempt was colors.

Not colors per se; those are relatively easy to suss out for most of us. No, it's what color clothes pair well with other clothing. The bride/superior partner is gifted here, or says so anyway. Your typist, on the other hand is not, largely because he believes fashion is just a different way of saying fascism. Fashion decisions are often made by self-appointed tastemakers who weren't elected to office or had to memorize objective standards of what goes with what other things. Instead, these are people who make shit up and then six months later, when there's too much mauve on the shelves, alter the rules of what colors meld well to change the inventory dynamic. They are all detestable and should be dressed magnificently and with great panache when they are dropped into a lava pit.

OK, but that's not learning. What is learning is the art of surrender through ennui. When it's going-out-big-kids dress-up time, She Who Must Be Obeyed (h/t Kilmeny Of The Orchard through Rumpole Of The Bailey) says, "What if I lay out your clothes for you," which used to be greeted with a silent but pointed gesture of passive-aggressive refusal. Now, though, the preferred path is indifference as demonstrated with a muttered "Sure," which is never meant but always adhered to because the original offer wasn't an offer at all but a statement of intent, as in "This is what you're going to wear if you don't want a snide argument in which I will prevail." What's been learned is that there are arguments worth having and arguments worth punting, and this is definitely one of the latter because it's one without a prize for winning. It's taken just over three decades for this skill to be acknowledged and practiced, but there it is. Your author can be trained in the fine art of DGAF; he just needed to learn one other thing.

Have the fight ahead of time in your own head, win decisively and decide the war has already been won before it has actually been engaged. It's make-believe, but the pain of reality only lasts until you leave the house, while fantasy triumphs can last forever.

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