18 November 2011

Personal style

One of the great things about growing up is settling into a style. Once you know what you like and looks good on you, you can simplify, simplify, simplify and stop effing around with stuff that you have, but aren't really committed to: I'm wearing this but I haven't really thought about it. Levi's 30 x 30 slim straight jeans, well-cut dress shirts (oxfords, preferably, but not required), small slim sweaters, and brown shoes. That's all I need day-to-day. Add a suit, a pair of khakis, and two or three blazers? And I'm done.

And it's an exactitude too: a category of style that (to me) says young, stylish intellectual. PhD, not MA. Clean shaven, not bearded. Slim straight, not skinny. Tailored, not slim. European cut, not American. Levis, not H&M. Classic, not fashionable. 77 kgs, not 72.Vintage, not thrift store. Shure studio headphones, not Dre Beats. Pragmatism, not idealism.

I proudly showed Yoko my wardrobe (British closet) the other day. I can wear all of this. She wasn't really impressed, but to me it was a proud moment of self realisation. And now I can acquire things that I want to keep for a lifetime and avoid things that I will keep for a short amount of time. Like the Saddleback Leather bag which I continue to obsess about. I'll get it and use it for the rest of my life. Or a good pair of headphones instead of an iPhone. These, not those. I couldn't say that at 22.

This is a metaphor for growing up. The better you get at saying this and not that. I know now.

I had a moment of sheer panic the other day when I heard about someone being held up for a visa based on claiming a public benefit (one that I claim) that they shouldn't apparently have been claiming. The benefit office had checked their documents and ruled that they should have received the benefit, but the border agency had a different opinion. Disagreement between government agencies, and the applicant is held responsible. Anyway, I did my best to confirm that their situation was different than ours and we should, in fact, be receiving the benefit that we are receiving: we are, something about Japanese/US citizenship, but the border agency could have a different opinion, particularly as they are looking for ANY reason to reduce immigration. Makes me nervous and terribly, terribly apprehensive about making an application. At the same time, at least I know to send more supporting documents when we apply next year.