I could work out a thesis on clothing based on my thoughts over the years. The best kind of clothing, in my opinion, is the kind for long haul travel. The essentials. You may bring along a few spare t-shirts, but it often comes down to the same trousers and shirt – “the outfit” – you always go out in, especially in cool weather.
For more than a century, Portland-based Pendleton has been known for plaid wool shirts. My go-to is the timeless Board Shirt in black. Big and boxy in all the right ways, it fits great with thermal innerwear underneath. You’re magically warm in the midst of a cold drizzle.
Conceived in the 60’s, the Board Shirt traded chest pocket buttons and a curvy bottom for a square fit. When you’re looking for a go-to outer layer for brisk days but the need for a coat is questionable, that is precisely when the Board Shirt comes in handy, providing warmth without weight. If I was in Europe and on my way to a fine restaurant, I would feel so glad to be sporting the Board Shirt.
The symbolic meaning of leaving home for somewhere is to have an adventure with ourselves. If we were only to bring along a few things with us, surely clothing that fits perfectly – and that we can trust – would top the list. Yet, in life, things with which we can forge such a genuine, trusting connection are few and far between.
If the task of finding that connection proves so difficult, one might as well stop trying. After all, as we reach a certain age, we should have more or less an idea of what we need and how to live life the way we want – enough so we don’t have to fight tooth and nail for it.
It’s evening by the seaside and the wind is gusting. Heading out for a walk, I put on my Board Shirt. The day becomes a grey-blue smolder. A pair of birds fly through that ever-developing canvas, their path a chemtrail of purplish light. I have already forgotten the whole thing about my plaid shirt.