This is the week for spring cleaning at our house which means some rather casual outfits when necessary. Cleaning the yard, garage, windows, pantry, basement etc... all of this calls for something a bit rougher than a silk tie, white socks and a pink university stripe. I think it is important to dress with a sense of order and dignity appropriate for the work week, and of course while what I suggest for general wear at most times may also generally be more formal than what many (not all) would naturally opt for, there are times where decidedly casual is appropriate. Spring cleaning is certainly of those occasions.
This outfit is simple, classic and traditional while being totally appropriate for the occasion. This photo could be from 2022, 2012, 2002, 1992, 1982, 1972 or 1962. The jeans are classic 501 dark stonewash. The button down is an incredible vintage piece I picked up at a thrift store a few years back. It is vintage Polo Ralph Lauren. It is a wild shirt to be made by Polo Ralph Lauren. It is almost canvas, it is crazy thick and heavy. It is short sleeve, has a 6 button front (which is exceedingly rare), two front flap pockets and a camp collar. What a shirt! It feels great, it is hearty and any "damage" that is done to it in the process of living is welcome as it will only help it look better in the way/direction it should. One of the great things about finding a shirt like this used for such a great price is that there is almost never any part of you that is hesitant to really wear it hard because you don't want to damage that which you spent an arm and a leg on. A classic, vintage work shirt for $3.99 helps direct you toward at-ease uncaring real wearing. It clears the way to natural wear.
The Harrington Jacket in this photo is a vintage Lacoste I picked up on eBay years ago for a steal. I love this jacket, it feels so incredibly 80s in a fantastic way. The 1980s experienced a particular kind of prep resurgence, you see this influence in khaki Harrington Jackets all over films from the 1980s. Lacoste also saw a great US popularization in the 1980s. The Lacoste detail on this jacket really brings the 1980s energy home. The khaki makes it a bit of a no-go if you are wearing khaki chinos so this jacket is limited to pants outside the khaki chino standard. With jeans it works absolutely perfect. I have a red Harrington Jacket (thrift store fine) which I wear with chinos, when the time is right.
Thinking about spring cleaning, fresh starts, renewal. We need our fresh starts. Every single day, when we wake up it is a bit of a fresh start. We fall asleep and we are off somewhere else, far away from the world and we wake up rested and new. In Judaism when we wake, when we open our eyes, before we say anything else, the first thing we say is a blessing in which we thank God for returning our soul to us. In Judaism, when we are sleeping we understand it to be a partial form of death, when we wake God through his mercy returns our breath and soul to us.
Apart from the esoteric, the religious - night is a clear demarcation for us. It is our clearest demarcation we ever experience. We are asleep, unaware, un-acting in the world. Night to each one of us becomes a distinction between was and is. Every day contains a new possibility. Every day is a day that will never come again. This is a small little restart that we are all blessed with. We need a sense of restart, fresh start, renewal. We need it in small ways in every morning we wake, we need it in seasonal ways and yearly ways. We need a way to clear away that which is holding us down. Whether it be in our mind, in our body or in our soul. We seek this because we need this. We cannot live another way. We try, but it drives us mad. Atonement and forgiveness, religion helps us with this.
When we do spring cleaning we are clearing away the debris of the winter, the buildup of the cold, dark time of the year. We are readying ourselves for a fresh start of something brighter. It may not seem as connected to the inner world of our soul or our spirit, maybe it isn't clear how it is, but it is in it's own way if you expand your thought a bit. In the most simplest way, to clean our space simply makes us feel better. A clean space is almost always better for one's mind than a messy space. I don't think anyone would dispute this simple reality. In a way that is a bit bigger, this spring cleaning represents in the outer world something we long for in our inner would. In is a connecting of the worlds, a lining up. And as is the case with our soul, our hearts, our lives as is the case with spring cleaning. It gets a bit messier before it gets cleaner, there is a period of clearing away, tearing down and bringing into light that which was in the dark. Everything always gets a bit rougher and a bit messier before it turns brighter.