Whatever business you are in, it’s important to be properly dressed. Lawyers need suits. If you are a doctor, you need scrubs. A chef? You gotta have those white jackets and puffy hats.
We woodworkers need work clothes. I’m not talking about overalls with little gorilla faces on them. I’m talking about good quality, plain and simple, durable clothing.
Clothes like that seem to be getting harder and harder to find. Clothing stores, more and more, are offering jeans that are already worn out or at least look it; shoes that look like race cars, covered with bizarre graphics in day glow colors; T-shirts that seem to be made of such thin fabric that they could not stand up to more than a few washings and that, invariably, have something printed on them. Even the old standbys like Eddie Bauer and Orvis have declined in quality to the point where the clothing simply does not hold up to daily shop wear.
Last week, for reasons I will not go into here, I needed a safety vest. So I did a search in my area and the first thing that came up was a place called Work World. I had visions of rack of scrubs, polyester uniforms, overalls and clunky looking nurse’s shoes, and they did actually have all of those things. But they also had all of the old standbys: Redwing boots, boot-cut jeans that actually looked new, practical shirts that were conspicuously lacking designer badges. You know, clothes.
I felt like there should have been a warning sign on the front door: “Fashionistas do not enter here.”
I’m sure there are still stores like this in every city in America but they are not to be found in the malls and factory outlet clusters that seem to have taken over the world. You gotta look for them. But it’s worth it if for no other reason that it’s reassuring to know that you can still buy “real” clothes.