In another of those lovely idle moments of which I used to think I had too many—the result, perhaps, of growing up in an industriously capitalist nation with Calvinist underpinnings (Calvinist underpinnings—oh yes—picture petticoats crafted from paper money!) or maybe from being schooled in an educational system that emphasized time-on-task and correctly filling in bubbles on answer sheets. Or possibly the culprit is simply a warped sense of ethics acquired somewhere, somehow, along The Long and Sometimes Bumpy Road of Life. Or maybe I missed the lesson about the sources of creativity—how good ideas arise when the mind is free to roam and play . . .
But I digress. During a pleasantly, even if inappropriately, idle moment, what floated into mind were songs about clothes. Just goes to show, I thought, how important clothes are to us: We not only collect them, love them, and sometimes pay big bucks for them, we also sing about them.
A few favorites: “I Love My Shirt” by Donovan, a British troubadour from the 1970s. With its easy, happy swing, it captures a key part of the fashion ethos from those years: The older, softer, simpler, and cheaper, the better.
I love my shirt,
I love my shirt,
My shirt is so comfortably lovely.
I don’t even care
If it starts to fade;
That only makes it
And just for mildly subversive fun that could easily turn into an ear worm, how about the camp song, “Black Socks”:
Black socks, they never get dirty,
The longer you wear them the stronger they get!
Sometimes I think I should wash them
But something keeps telling me
No, no, not yet, not yet, not yet!
Someone’s also done up excellent verses about knee socks and white socks.
But of course if I had to pick one favorite, it would be “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes” by one of my major heroes, Paul Simon:
People say she’s crazy;
she’s got diamonds on the soles of her shoes.
Well, that’s one way we lose these walking blues.
Diamonds on the soles of our shoes.
And that’s what fashion and style ought to be all about. Sing your heart out, kiddo.