Day: December 5, 2023

Tues. Dec. 5, 2023 – and I’m off…

Cool and clear today. Should be a nice day. It was very nice yesterday but I’m not feeling like doing anything outdoors when my head is draining through my nose. Today I’ve got no choice.

Spent most of yesterday doing auction things. I really wanted to get a bunch of stuff in an auction before Christmas. I also spent some time fixing some stuff. I did get to my auctioneer and dropped off about 6 tubs of stuff. A drop in the bucket, but the mightiest river is nothing but drops, right??

Made some slow cooker carnitas for dinner, portioned and vac sealed the other 6 pounds of pork shoulder for later, did a load of laundry, picked up both kids from school, and cleaned parts of the house. I’m a regular domestic terror…

Today I’ve got to get D2 to her orthodontist, then I’m headed to my client’s house to do some minor stuff. I’m hoping to get out of there before the end of the day and get some shopping in. I’ve still got stuff to get together for the non-prepping hobby Christmas party I’m co-hosting this weekend. Don’t want to leave that to the last minute.

At some point I need to figure out a Christmas gift for my wife too.

… don’t falter…

The question for the day is “how do you dress?” Not in the traditional tailor way, but in the “what do you wear when you leave the house way”.

I’d bet money that most of the people here are wearing the same stuff, sometimes literally, they’ve been wearing for the last 20 or more years. I’d bet that you are pretty set in your routines, have a closet full of clothes, and mostly wear the same few outfits. You might have “work” vs “home” vs “dressed up” but I bet the range is pretty narrow.

I realized I don’t have any blue jeans. NO jeans in any color in fact. I might have mentioned that here recently because I picked up a couple of pairs at the Goodwill. Why would I do that if I haven’t worn any in over 20 years? Well, I’ve been giving it some thought lately.

For a long time I’ve treated clothes as a uniform, or more accurately as a costume to be worn to match what I was doing. Working in a corporate environment? Tan or black Dockers, logo’d golf shirt. Doing construction work in that environment? Cargo pants, collared shirt over t-shirt. Corporate training or live event outdoors? Tan shorts, logo’d golf shirt… No t shirts. “We do not wear T shirts, because we are not T shirt guys, and don’t want to be paid like T shirt guys.” That was a lesson from one of the first bosses I had doing all sorts of temporary labor in the entertainment field. It’s a variation of “dress for the job you want,not the job you have.” It served me well over the years.

Since I no longer run in the rat race, I dress only for me. And yet… I dress pretty consistently. Cargo shorts or pants, so I can carry a bunch of stuff. T shirt under a casual collared shirt to hide my EDC. Shirt must have a collar and a pocket for my glasses… which give an excuse for the shirt, which is really there as a “cover garment” as the trainers say. Clip knife front pocket strong hand side, FLASHLIGHT rear pocket weak hand side, decent shoes, sturdy watch…

The main difference between what I’m wearing and the tacktical tommy is I’m wearing Wrangler cargo pants and not high speed tactical pants, my watch is simpler, and my beard isn’t as glorious… but I still have the look. Less so now that my mustache is growing, and my beard (goatee really) isn’t very ‘operator’, and definitely less so when I’ve got my old man hat on, but still, the ‘tells’ are there. My bearing is also noticeable, not as twitchy as a cop or operator, but still pretty alert compared to most people. Head up and looking around, certainly. I tell myself this is by design, to be open to meeting other like minded individuals, and to fit in with that culture, but it’s really because I’m comfortable dressing this way.

Given all that, I’ve been advocating that people might want to build out their wardrobe a bit. And I have over time.

You might want some oversized clothes. They will disguise your relative health and robustness when you go to the .gov food line for your handouts. They can cover a vest, or a second layer of clothing, or some contraband if things get really sporty… they can disguise the gender of your loved ones, who will be particularly vulnerable as rule of law, and social norms collapse.

You might want some clothes in patterns that will work as camo without being actual camo. There are usually a TON of suitable shirts at my local Goodwill store. It’s more about a pattern and combination of colors than WHAT the pattern is composed of. You might even want a set or two of clothes that are smaller than your normal size if you expect to get lean when the lean times come- although I’d guess that most of us already have clothes we no longer fit, but could again after a certain amount of ‘austerity.’

You will want your clothes to look well worn, but you might have occasion to dress up or down. Looking shabby can help you fit in better in some places, while the khakis and golf shirt are like a ghillie suit in other environments. Fitting in and NOT drawing attention are your normal goals. Grey man isn’t about the color, it’s about not standing out. Some places that will mean camo, and lots of it. Not .mil or surplus anymore, but faded realtree is pretty common outside of big cities. Carhart jackets, ball caps from different companies (I’d avoid teams unless you are really a fan, and the local gangs don’t use the colors or logos), and maybe even T shirts might be the uniform of the day in other places.

Depending on your goals and plans, you might want to take it even further. There are many costumes available in thrift stores. Most of the time, all you need are tan or black pants, and the right logo’d golf shirt. Delivery companies, local utilities, counter and wait staff for local and national food chains or retail stores, all have signature looks and they all end up on the racks at the thrifts… don’t forget footwear, most of the time black sneakers will work. People tend to see the uniform and not the person, which can certainly be a plus in some circumstances. You might just want styles or colors you don’t normally wear, for those occasions that you don’t want to wear something that will go back into your closet when you are done doing whatever you do… I’m sure there are people who went to a rally or event and wish they’d worn some clothes that they don’t normally wear, and maybe a hat and a face mask…

You might want a high visibility safety vest and a hard hat. Don’t forget your clipboard, gloves clipped to your belt, and even better, a walkie talkie… that outfit will let you walk into almost anywhere…

And for a pro level tip, sometimes you WANT to stand out with a clothing choice. When I’m working an event, I often wear a distinctive hat or shirt. People that need to find me can be told to “look for the guy in the bright yellow shirt” or “the guy wearing the hat with bunny ears” (this was a community Easter egg hunt)… or conversely you might want to get people to focus on and remember an easily changed item of clothing, so that someone else might be looking for “the guy in the Cubs hat and white hoodie”, long after you’ve left them in the trash. Current security cameras and VMS or Video Management Systems recognize and tag images so that it’s possible to find all the video around the office building of “a man wearing a red hat” so use the strategy best suited for your activity.

It all comes down to having two goals when thinking of your wardrobe as a costume. You want to fit in with the other people around you most of the time. That takes observation, and mimicry. Other times you might want to project a certain image, looking like someone you are not. That is mostly having the right visual cues, and an appropriate demeanor. Both goals take a bit of preparation and observation, and I’d say a certain amount of practice too. This is a great time to start, when the stakes are not as high as they might be later. But even if things don’t get worse, not standing out can save you from becoming a victim of crime, can easy your way through life, and can even save you money and time.

So, why did I buy some jeans? Because I realized I didn’t have any pants that weren’t “me”. I didn’t have anything that was out of character for my everyday persona, that people are familiar with and recognize. I thought it might be prudent and useful to have something that didn’t say “that looks like Nick”. And I bought jeans because they are versatile, common, and ordinary– unlike parachute pants, or tweed dress slacks…

Take a look at your closet. If your circumstances changed, if the world changes, if you had to shop in different places, walk through different areas, ride a bike or a bus, could you dress in a way that didn’t draw attention, that didn’t mark you as an outsider, or a potential victim? If you wanted to be out and about but still remain (relatively) anonymous, could you? If not, get busy. You have some shopping to do.


(and stacking)

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