Match Your Leathers
For the last year or so I’ve made a conscious decision to step up my game in certain settings. I now own a black tie, have embraced the sweater vest and realize the importance of having a few higher priced key pieces that I can mix and match rather than trying to load up on Kohl’s specials. I’ve been questioned a number of times by buddies on why I now regularly wear a tie and/or jacket to worship service and my answer always seems to come back to, “I’m an adult, I just figured I should probably start dressing like one.”
Like many things, my belief is that great style comes with great responsibility. Simple concepts like ironing your shirt and wearing your pants on your waist are a must. I’d go a step further to offer up suggestions like learning how to tie a decent knot in your tie – I’m a Half-Windsor guy due to the final size in proportion to my neck – and grasping the idea that black pants, blue socks and brown shoes don’t match are both important lessons as well.
Sadly, one of the easiest concepts to grasp – match your leathers – is one of the most often abused rules. Men, please stop pairing your black belt with your brown shoes. I believe it’s almost as equally important to try and get the shades as close as possible, especially dealing with browns. Menswear makers have attempted and grossly fallen short in their effort to relieve you of the stress in this matter. Their answer lies with the result of one of my biggest pet peeves, the reversible belt.
I have no idea of the exact origins of this offensive accessory but I do have strong feelings in that I wish it would go away. Nothing says, “I care, but only enough to try and fool you” like this faux-leather catastrophe. When I see it worn, I can’t decipher whether it’s the fact that you’re too cheap to own two belts or just too lazy. I’d hate that it’s the former being that decent belts can be purchased at off-the-rack stores for a fair price, but I’d sincerely hate the latter and probably offer up the suggestion that you just move on to sweat pants.
I don’t want to come off sounding brash about this sartorial tragedy but while I have a heavy dislike for it, I feel like it could be a metaphor for other things in your life.
I believe Jesus is pretty clear in his direction to John in writing the church in Laodicea about his thoughts on them sitting on the fence:
“15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm‚Äìneither hot nor cold‚ÄìI am about to spit you out of my mouth.” – Revelations 3
He wasn’t excited about it. In a sense, they were reversible belt guys and he definitely preferred those who were single-purpose belt people. In fact, he’d have even preferred that they be a brown belt/black shoes type of person instead of a reversible belt because at least they stood for something, albeit wrong.
Which leads me to the question of: so what? So what that I don’t care for a particular styling of a buckled leather strap? Most sartorial decisions are just opinion anyways, why does it really matter?
Though I dislike reversible belts, I really find issue when we become the reversible belt of life. Whether you’re a freelancer, employee, student or ministry worker; how often do you become lukewarm in what you do? Do your clients or fellow employees see you as the reversible belt guy?
I can admit that sometimes the work gets mundane, the designs get chopped up/committee‚Äôd to death, the clients ask dumb questions and then fail to listen to your answers, your co-workers ride your nerves and your boss is a total moron; but do any of these letdowns give you the right to offer anything less than the best you can give? They do not.
You’ve got great responsibility in what you’ve been asked to do. Whether by clients, your spouse, your instructors or your boss, you’ve been given the task to never become the reversible belt. Pick a side – either side – and run with it. Hopefully, before long, it becomes easy to learn how to match your leathers.
The preceding is for a series in a writing experiment that I am participating in called Project52. If you liked it, feel free to follow along and read other #p52 articles – or even better, subscribe to all of my writings by RSS or Email.
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