In Uniformity, Individuality

In Uniformity, Individuality

A suit from Thom Browne’s fall 2006 collection is close to my personal aesthetic, although I draw the line at the high-water pants. (©The Museum at FIT)


I hadn’t really thought about it until I spent a lunch hour at the Museum at FIT’s exhibition, “Uniformity”: I’ve been wearing a uniform all my life. The same uniform. My wardrobe staples are few: blue blazer; blue button-down, long-sleeve shirt; khakis or blue jeans; brown or black lace-ups, although I live in sneakers. A navy two-piece wool suit, if I must. A bow tie, also if I must (I keep one in a jacket pocket, just in case). Boxers, not briefs. Socks to just above the ankle, never beyond. Obviously, I like the color blue and value stability, consistency, practicality, comfort and, yes, sameness. Trends and designer labels are not for me, but Brooks Brothers is (for a man, it’s a cradle-to-grave shop). I also have a fondness for Old Navy’s simple, utilitarian and nicely priced clothing. To this day, I live by my mother’s rule of thumb, several of them actually: “Quality lasts.” “Never wear anything that cuts off the circulation.” “It doesn’t matter what you wear, as long as you and it are clean.” I expect clothes to last forever and wear something until it disintegrates. Elastic is my sworn enemy. I wash every day and do three loads of laundry every week.

All this from a show whose purpose is to examine the influence of uniforms (military, sports, school) on high fashion. Did I feel underdressed as I made the rounds of Coco Chanel, Jean Paul Gaultier, Rudi Gernreich, Tom Ford, Thom Browne and Geoffrey Beene? Hardly. A good exhibition, which this is, always informs, instructs and reveals.

“Uniformity,” on view thru Nov. 19, 2016, Museum at FIT, Seventh Ave. at W. 27th St., 212.217.4558

From a 1920 gridiron to Geoffrey Beene’s 1967 “football jersey” dress, all it takes is imagination and lots and lots of sequins. (©The Museum at FIT)