I started wearing black polo neck sweaters 40 years ago. They were fashionable in the 70s. Now I read they're fashionable again. I didn't realise they'd gone out of fashion. I thought they were a classic and classics never go out of fashion. Apparently i was wrong.
There are advantages to not worrying about whether you're fashionable or not. Not having to think about your wardrobe saves a lot of time. This can also be good for your image. It says to people that you are far too busy making important decisions to worry about deciding on frivolous things like your appearance. President Obama, who only wears blue or grey suits, said, "I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make."
Steve Jobs of Apple famously used to wear the same combinations of black turtleneck, blue jeans and New Balance trainers while Facebook's chief exec Mark Zucherberg apparently always wears a grey t-shirt. It's nothing new. Albert Einstein always put on a grey suit.
Wearing the same things can also act as a visual catchphrase, helping people remember you. Johnny Cash wore all black and became 'The Man In Black'. Many comedians wear trademark outfits, from Max Miller's floral suits to Harry Hill's huge shirt collars. The same goes for superheroes. How would it be if Batman were to say 'Today I'm going to wear my Spiderman outfit'?
One of the black polo neck jumpers in my wardrobe is from Gap and is now ten years old. I was only remarking to my wife the other day how well it had ket its shape. "Unlike you," she replied.
Alongside my polo necks, my wardrobe of classics includes Levi 501s, white Nike Air Force 1s when I'm relaxing and, for formal wear, double breasted suits with black Oxford shoes. I don't know which if any are fashionable at the moment and I don't care. It's not because I'm too busy making important decisions or even because I want to make myself memorable. The truth is, I can't keep up with fashion so it's easier to go with classics than make fashion errors.
If the late great fashion designer Alexander McQueen was right when he said, "It's a new era in fashion, there are no rules," then I should be all right.
Of course, I have made concessions, if not to fashion, at least to changing times. I rarely wear a tie these days even to business meetings. When I'm at leisure, I don't tuck my shirt in any more. I usually wear jeans when I go to the theatre. All of which would have been unthinkable a generation ago.
I definitely do not want to be the guy who has got stuck in a particular fashion era, like the ageing Teddy Boys, Hippies, Punks and Saggers you see from time to time. All looking like they used to have a much better time than they are now or maybe just waiting for the fashion to come back.