Lockdown Clothing: Gordon’s story

Today’s interview in the ‘Lockdown Clothing’ project is with Gordon McLean. Gordon is a sarcastic Scottish geek who has been blogging for far too long at gordonmclean.co.uk and posts photos on Instagram as @gmclean.

1) Can you describe what your personal style was like before lockdown – what did you wear most often?

My ‘style’ can easily be split into two modes; work and play.

Work wise, working in (the office of) a bank it was mostly suits and shirts for the first couple of years, but recently they relaxed the code so now it’s firmly in the smart casual world of jeans and a polo shirt. My previous experience was all in the software world which was largely jeans and t-shirt dominated for the first part of my career and as my seniority (both in age and job title) changed I dressed a little smarter, so the jeans and a polo shirt has probably been my ‘uniform’ for the past 10 years. Shoes tended to be smarter, from a brown pair of brogues, to ‘fashion’ leather trainers (not sure how best to describe those!).

Play wise, I rarely dress up. Being a bit larger I tend to feel uncomfortable wearing shirts (that button gape, ugh) so t-shirts are my go to (I own far far too many of these, it’s a little embarrassing to be honest), coupled with shorts whenever it’s barely warm enough, and lightweight trousers if needs must. Trainers rule, and my recent Star Wars Adidas purchase ranks as a favourite!

Of course if the occasion demands I’ll happily scrub up in a shirt and suit, or full kilt if the occasion warrants, but those are the exceptions for sure. Social situations were mostly casual meetings with friends, the odd restaurant night and an occasional formal party here and there. So most of the time it was jeans/t-shirt/trainers for cafe/pub visits, maybe a short-sleeved shirt, trousers and smarter shoes for the restaurants, and full suit/kilt for the last to formal parties (both of which were weddings).

2) Has your approach to clothes changed as a result of the current situation?

My approach to clothes has always been more function than form so if anything, with even less pressure to conform/fit in, I find I care even less about what I look like.

I do now think more about my clothes, how many articles I have, where they came from, and other sustainable/ethical concerns; something I definitely should’ve been more mindful of in the past that is more and more on my mind as my thoughts turn to how I want to be when we get out back to whatever semblance of normal the future holds. I think that focus is true for other things in my life, spending ALL your time around ALL your possessions is an interesting experience!

3) Thinking back through what you have worn since you’ve been staying at home, what has been your favourite item of clothing and why?

For Christmas my sister got me a pack of colourful, silly, monkey themed, socks. They are probably my favourite item as they remind me of the family I can’t see so much of at the moment.

4) What’s your shoe situation at home? And how does this affect your sense of self?

Mostly trainers to go with the more casual wardrobe that I have, but still not that many. I veer towards colourful and different whenever I can, but comfort usual wins out. I have two pairs of hillwalking shoes which tend to end up on my feet for dog walks. Of all my wardrobe purchases I’d say shoes are my most expensive, as I am happy to pay for higher quality items for my feet, they carry a lot of weight on them, and I guess it comes from that old ‘judge a man by his shoes’ thinking?

And, of course, these days ‘sneakers’ are fashion so I find myself casting around for something that is away from the trends of the day, although I did baulk at paying 200 for a re-issue of a pair of Air Jordan Vs recently (my first pair when they were first issue and still a favourite).

5) Has your self-perception changed in isolation? How so?

As I hinted at earlier on, I think I have a sense of tailoring how I dress to the situation I’m going to be in. It’s easy on very formal occasions of course, but even meeting friends for brunch, or a wee night out, finds me puzzling over what to wear. Is a shirt required? Can I wear converse with these trousers and top? I’m hoping that once this isolation is over I’ll care less what other people think and dress how I please. I’m never going to be the type of person who is flamboyant in an effort to stand out, but I do love wearing colours (don’t get me started on the typical muted colour palettes most high street clothing comes in; would you like that in blue, grey, black or dark brown?).

If you’d like to take part in the project yourself, you can find all the information you need in the blog post entitled ‘Lockdown Clothing: a project documenting how we dress at home‘ dated 17th May 2020.

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