• William Knight

Do you fear your own clothes?

Are you anxious about the clothing you put on? When faced with a rack of trouser choices, do you wibble and run? Do you worry that your everyday attire says secret things to others that you’re not aware of? If so, you might be suffering from Bastard Clothing Syndrome (BCS).

Before we go on, I want to make something utterly clear; I am not about to promote going about naked. No. Not me. I’ll leave that to those more adventurous naturists that don’t mind a cool breeze on sensitive equipment or sunburn on the bum. I like nakedness, in the correct place -- you know, the shower or bed. But for everyday practicality, I am a fan of clothes.

Yet it’s important we talk about the anxiety clothing choice can bring. A three pound t-shirt might sound like a good idea, but it’s impact goes far beyond the abused workers or environmental impact, it goes to the heart of who we are and what we project onto the world. And once it’s in the wardrobe, it presents another avenue for fear should you think it might be suitable to actually wear out.

So what’s at the bottom of this anxiety? We try to pretend otherwise, but we secretly know that clothing says an awful lot about us that we’d probably like to keep secret. And, of course, we all judge others by what they look like, so we naturally worry that we’re being judged in the same way. And we are.

When I pick out my space invaders t-shirt to wear to work, I’m hoping to say so much. I’m saying that I’m a cool middle-aged gent that knows about digital culture. I’m alternative, because I’m not wearing a collar. I’m probably a tech worker and I’m ironic because I know that nobody plays space invaders anymore and I’m living life on the risky edge.

The world will sees me differently, of course. Just a fat old tosser that hasn’t brought a t-shirt in thirty years and is so out of touch he’s never heard of Fortnight.

And let’s not start on the dad-jeans. The best I can hope is that they show an intention to do some gardening.

It’s worse if you do try and buy something vaguely modern, though. The clothes might look okay, but the receding hairline, grey flecks and furrows to time give it away… mutton and lamb! And anyway, have you tried those calf-strangling hipster trousers. The legs can feel firm and cosy, but higher up it’s like putting your testicles in a rubber balloon and sucking out all the air.

These problems are why BCS has become such a problem. I envy people in the military for their singular choice each day, and I am desperate to return to the days of shirt, tie and suit when I didn’t have to think about my clothing every morning. I love the idea of those post-revolution days in China when everybody wore the same four-pocketed tunics. Heaven.

But BCS makes wearing a suit to work, or donning a Mao jacket impossible. I am cursed to fear getting dressed every morning and be laughed at whenever I go out. Bastard Clothing Syndrome is real, perhaps those naturists have a point.

#clothinganxiety #anxiety #satire

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