For as long as I can remember, Bub has had a very specific sense of style...that style has changed through the years (from cowboy boots with everything from sweats to swimwear to the hobo/orphan look to his current look, which I would describe as extremely-conservative-but-casual-bible-belt-older-gentleman), but it has always been extremely SPECIFIC. (Read: PICKY.)
Until this spring, Bub attended a private school with a uniform, which gave me a little bit of a break from his stringent sense of style (sure, he'd only wear THREE colors of polo, but since he HAD to wear polos, at least the style of shirt never had to be hyper-analyzed). But, transferring to public school opened up whole new style options...and a whole new set of rules regarding what he would and would not wear. And, let me warn you, this is the guy who has been known to say, "I just don't like white that much..."
Open up another tab as you read, and go to any moderately trendy site that sells men's clothing so you can follow along. (Just for reference, I'll be on American Eagle.) Did you do it? Because, if you aren't looking at men's clothing, you might not be able to adequately feel my pain, here, so...DO IT. Ready? Let the shopping adventure begin! (And, by "adventure," I mean "nightmare.")
Let's start with shirts. First, and foremost, Bub will NOT wear a tank top of any variety. I pointed one out to him the other day (just to test the waters). "I like that shirt..." (stoic silence from Bub) "That looks like Logan, to me." (You should know that Logan is, like, the second coolest teenager I know! Before you judge me for my attempts to manipulate my kid, read on!) "I bet Logan would wear that!" To which I was, finally, rewarded with a response, "Yeah. I bet LOGAN would..." We scrolled down further and Bub systematically rejected: shirts with patterns, v-necks, shirts with a contrasting pocket, shirts with contrasting sleeves, shirts that are "stripey," solid color shirts without graphics, shirts with attention grabbing graphics, long sleeved shirts, sleeveless shirts, button down the front shirts, hoodies, sweaters of any kind, and sweatshirts. He "might" wear a polo...as long as it doesn't have stripes. He won't wear shirts that are: red, pink, purple, any color green except army green, navy blue, light blue, royal blue, yellow, white, or burgundy (which, apparently, is disqualified based on its redness). As far as shirts go, that leaves us with t-shirts that are orange (but NOT bright orange), turquoise (but NOT bright turquoise), grey, black, army green, or brown and have a small logo or subtle graphic whose message Bub doesn't mind being associated with. (BTW, California...Bub has poo-pooed you. No California or surfer graphics for him!) He WILL wear performance fabric t-shirts, but only in the previously mentioned approved colors...which seems doable, until you think about performance wear. Because, as a rule, it's ALL brightly colored.
Moving on to jeans...Bub is not going to be caught DEAD in skinny, slim, or tapered jeans! He also shuns straight, regular fit, and boot cut jeans because he can't stand the way they feel on his thighs. His German engineered legs are too restricted by anything but "loose" or "relaxed" fit jeans. In addition, he won't wear "destroyed" jeans. You know, the cool ones with all of the manufactured holes and flaws? Those are disqualified! He'll wear jeans only in certain colors, as well. Thumbs up for medium or dark wash jeans...but NOT "extra dark" wash, light, black, destroyed, or vintage wash jeans.
As for shorts, my son will wear athletic shorts around the house, to mow, or to do athletics, but he isn't going to wear those babies to school! He won't wear denim shorts or plaid shorts. Add to the rejects list: twill, embroidered, flat front, striped, or cuffed...and all of the shirt color rules apply! To make a long story short (pun intended), Bub will wear khaki or (green) camo cargo shorts. And that's all.
Even shoe shopping for my guy is quite a challenge. He doesn't wear sandals or flip flops or cowboy boots (sigh...I miss the cowboy boots & underwear stage...). He wears tennis shoes & hiking boots. His hiking boots have to be brown and mid-cuff (not low top OR high top). His tennis shoes cannot have BRIGHT colors (please refer to the short list of approved colors). Of course, to athletic shoe manufacturers, the brighter the better, so finding tennis shoes with subdued colors on the approved list is next to impossible. Good thing my picky kid doesn't have weirdly shaped, hard to fit feet or anything...oh, wait.
Shopping for Bub is kind of like finding a needle in a field full of haystacks. But, when exasperation threatens to get the best of me, I think back to the orphan/hobo stage when he refused to wear anything that DIDN'T look like it had first been caught in the greasy gears of some great machine and then drug cross country from the undercarriage of a semi...and then I grit my teeth and keep shopping. He may be a pain to clothe, but, darn it...he looks good!