I sit in my current preferred cafe bolthole and the jacket of the person opposite me catches my eye. It’s a slightly faded turquoise, not unlike a jacket I recently got in the sale. Hang on a second, it is the same jacket, maybe slightly older. I zoom out and notice their whole clothing combination is familiar: a stripey top, dark blue jeans, converse, set off with a dark grey panier.
These are the clothes that I wear, or at least I think I wear – only better. I look down at my own sartorial combination and I realise it is a poor approximation to my self image. I start to take notes for self improvement – cream converse, turned up jeans – but then my alter-wardrobe is gone.
I have long been in pursuit of the one outfit to rule them all. There are a few inspirations.
In Walden Pond, Theroux cautions us to be wary of any job that requires us to change our clothing (I think in his mind the ideal clothing is that of the self-sufficient homesteader and that any more sophisticated clothing risks rendering one away from these primary means).
At the 2012 Bauhaus exhibition at the Barbican I saw the practical play clothing the school designed for its children. Why don’t adults have something similar?
I like the low-choice lifestyle, preferring to save brain bandwidth for more important and/or playful stuff (I talk about this more in the Margherita Principle)
And finally, I take inspiration from the clown, who is always in the same clothes, the wrong clothes, and that’s just perfect for being a clown.