Thursday, February 2, 2012


It will be nearly impossible for anyone who has known me during the 666 years I’ve lived here in Phoenix, Airheadzona, to believe this but, in fact, I DO have a personal style when it comes to clothing.

The reason no one who currently knows me “in the flesh” will accept that statement is because no one who knows me now has seen my “style”. And that’s because the majority of the year, Phoenix is hotter’n ‘ell and so I dress purely for comfort, not for style. I have been forced to abandon my style preference solely in order to survive the blasted heat!

I’m fast approaching the 17th anniversary of my move to Phoenix, but much of my life here has been so hellish that it only FEELS like 666 years. When I arrived here in the Summer of ’95, I almost immediately adopted my brother Nappy’s lifelong style of dress, which can be summed up thus: Put on the first T-shirt at the top of the stack in the chest of drawers.

So, unless I’m working “on the clock”, I’m almost always just wearing jeans and a T-shirt. I’d love to re-adopt my “natural” style, but that won’t happen in the foreseeable future. I own a couple of stylish overcoats. One is grey - it was originally owned by my dear friend Martin Brumer and given to me by his Mom after he passed away. The other one, which I purchased for myself in 1988, is either black or navy blue. The fact that I’m not entirely sure which color it is gives you some indication how long it’s been since I’ve seen it.

My own “style” of preference, however, is jeans and a dark vest worn over a light colored long-sleeved shirt (such as white, tan, pale blue, pale yellow, or even a pale pink). I still have the vests, but they usually just hang around together in the closet, gossiping about what a maroon I am.

Before the unfortunate move to Hell, Airheadzona, here’s the way you’d usually find me dressed:

In my twenties, I pretty much lived in that black leather jacket you see in the ‘Statue Of Liberty’ photograph at the top of this blog. As I matured, I gradually gave up the urban “hoodlum” appearance and replaced it with the classier “Western” vest look. And as I said, that (strictly through necessity) eventually degenerated into the T-shirt thang.

I can tell you precisely what I’ll be wearing for the next three days just by going to my chest of drawers and checking which 3 T-shirts are at the top of the stack:

Tomorrow it will be my ‘U.S. Constitution* - *Void Where Prohibited By Law’ T-shirt. On Saturday it will be my T-shirt with the Henry David Thoreau quote printed on the front (“Always you have to contend with the stupidity of men.”); and the following day it’ll be my “Revelation Riders Rodeo” T-shirt. Oh, boy!

The only thing I am very fond of and still get to wear regularly is the blue-‘n’-green checkered, thermal-lined cotton shirt my Sister gave me for Christmas eons ago. Along with my vests and my black leather jacket of old, this has been the most beloved article of clothing in my lifetime. It has been so practical that it’s been almost like a cowboy hat to me.

I have worn this shirt while camping, walking, flying, and driving. I’ve worn it while horribly sober and while pleasantly drunker’n you could possibly imagine! Innumerable are the nights I’ve gone to sleep in it! And almost every evening from December through March, I wear this shirt in my house to fight off the chill. (I’m wearing it right this very moment as I type this sentence!)

So many times I’ve told my Sister that she needs to find and buy me a new one 'cause I almost done-have worn this shirt out! It’s been one of the best Christmas gifts I’ve ever received.

Think I’m exaggerating? Below are photographs I took of this very shirt at about 16:30 this afternoon (that’s 4:30 PM to those of y’all who don’t know Military Time). I realize the shirt looks like a dog has been roughhousing with it for about six years but, take my word for it, no dog has ever had this shirt in its choppers. It was love, and love only, what dun this to the shirt. [Love’ll do this to ya!] :

The label just inside the collar gives the brand name of this shirt as ‘GRAND BANKS Outfitters’ and indicates that it was “Made In Guatemala”.

I’m sure this was a fairly inexpensive article of clothing, most likely found at a Ross Dress-For-Less store or something along those lines. All I know for sure is that . . . I NEEDS ME ANUDDER ONE O’ DEEZE SHIRTS!

This great shirt has outlasted most automobiles, marriages, wines, and fruitcakes. (Well, OK, maybe not fruitcakes – those things last forever!) But, clearly, as proven by the photographs above, this shirt probably has no more than another decade of service to provide before it bites the dust.

Two Qs:

#1) Anyone know where I can get me another one o’ these shirts?

#2) What is your own all-time favorite article of clothing, past or present?

~ Stephen T. McCarthy

YE OLDE COMMENT POLICY: All comments, pro and con, are welcome. However, ad hominem attacks and disrespectful epithets will not be tolerated (read: "posted"). After all, this isn’t, so I don’t have to put up with that kind of bovine excrement.


farawayeyes said...

I can only pray that I am not stepping into another 'wormhole' comment spiral. But, you know me.

Love the vest look. Especially the distress leather of the vest a la L'Amour. I've got the feeling you're really a 'Sharp Dressed Man'. You know the drill - go to you tube - type in ZZ Top, it'll come up. I would link it here for you, but, know me - that ain't gonna happen.

If I was still in Idaho,I could sent you a carton of shirts like your fave, but alas there ain't no such animal in the Caribbean. I know for a fact you can get one at Cal Ranch Store - all over Idaho, maybe Utah too. Google 'em, maybe they're online.

The real reason I'm standing here in your comment box, singing out loud to you is...That'Cowboy Hat Post' from 2009. I love Paul Harvey. That was a beautiful tribute and an even more beautiful post. Thank You.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

I thank you. Glad ya liked it!

Mmmm... nah, I wouldn't really ever have classified myself as "a sharp dressed man". I've always dressed for comfort; hate monkey suits; hate ties (except bolos); rarely even tucked in my shirt, unless I was wearing a vest over it.

I wasn't "sharp", but I did have a "style" - before moving here, of course.

Thanks especially for the shirt recommendation; I will definitely do some Google searching this weekend and see if you're on to something there. Obviously, what I want is a cotton flannel shirt WITH the thermal lining sewn in.

I have both of those things independent of each other, but what made this shirt so great is that it was the two combined in one, and the most comfortable article of clothing I've ever worn.

Sometimes I'd wear it outdoors all night and then SLEEP in it too, come nightfall. Almost hated to take it off.

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

farawayeyes said...

Fasten your seat belt. Friday night and I'm bored. I should be working but...

Anyway, that sharp dressed man thing is in the eye of the beholder, it doesn't necessarily take a suit and tie.

Here's the real reason I came back. There's a Cal Ranch Store at 1048 Willow Creek Rd, Prescott, AZ. Maybe you'll get lucky.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

Willow Creek Road. I knows where that is!

OK, I'm off to do a Google search. Thanks!

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

mousiemarc said...

Dang brother,
I live in the pacific northwest. They have every form of flannel styled shirt imaginable here. This place holds onto that look forever. If ya e-mail me yer size I can do some peaking. Lots of stuffs going on sale and all right now.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

This one I'd like to replace (Grand Banks Outfitters) is a thermal-lined, cotton flannel.

SHELL: 100% Cotton
LINING: 65% Polyester; 35% Cotton.
SIZE: Large

If you happen to see something just like it, yeah, please let me know and I'll send ya some $.

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Karen Peterson said...

I much prefer the heat to the cold, but I'm pretty sure I would die in Arizona.

Wish I could help you track down one of those shirts. Good luck with the search!

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

>>..."I'm pretty sure I would die in Arizona."

Well, it certainly killed me!

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

JohnnyMalaria said...

Wow. I've got the very same Grand Banks shirt. It's ripped like yours and very, very beloved. It's the most enduring piece of clothing I've owned. I bought mine in 1997/8 from Target/Walmart. I WANT ANOTHER ONE. I've dropped hints but my wife cannot find anything remotely like it except for $100 shirts. Lord - talk about the shirt off my back.

If you do ever find one, let the world know!! Your blog has convinced my wife to take her sewing skills to it - there's a giant rip on the back. My sewing attempts would be shameful.

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

Dang! I have no idea how you found this blog bit o' mine, but...

...I know, RIGHT? What a PERFECT shirt!

I mean, mine has almost become a part o' me. It's not flashy, nor stylish, nor cool... it's only just the IDEAL shirt for so many circumstances, so many situations. I LOVE THIS SHIRT!

>>..."I bought mine in 1997/8 from Target/Walmart."

That sounds just about right, Brother! I would estimate that I've had mine for approximately that same amount of time, and those are the same sort of stores where my Sister often shops and more than likely purchased my shirt.

I did a Google search of the brand name but it pretty much fizzled into nuttin'. And the friends here who have said that a shirt like that is easy to find, have thus far not proven that to me in the least.

I think you and I are both on a quest to find "The Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine", and locating a similar shirt will probably prove just as elusive. (But I'm still wearing "mine" - this raggedy piece of clothing - just about every night.)

And I'm glad to learn that I'm not the only dude who thinks a shirt like this is "pure gold".

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

D Bloom said...

Hey guys! I just started looking for the same shirt for my husband. He is a dairy farmer and says this shirt is the warmest ever. I bought this one at the goodwill. Imagine giving up a shirt like that. Can't seem to find Grand Banks outfitters online anywhere. I found one used one on e-bay. Good luck.

Darice Bloom
Pennsylvania Dairy Farmer

D Bloom said...

I have been trying to find out of these shirts for my husband. He says it is the warmest shirt ever.
Can't find anything on line for Grand Banks Outfitters. I did find one used one on e-bay made by Polo Ralph Lauren. I bought the one he has at the goodwill. Imagine giving up a shirt like that!

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

I still have and still wear mine, but now it looks even worse than it did in these photos that I posted. (I can only wear it to sleep in now; no more "outdoors" for this shirt.)

It was (is) the best, most comfortable multi-purpose shirt I've ever owned.

Wish I could find more. I would buy a whole closet full of them if I could.

How could something THIS good be so hard to locate? Someone somewhere is really blowing a fantastic business! Word-of-mouth ALONE would sell thousands of these shirts... IF they were available.

Thanks for your comment.

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Anonymous said...

Search the item # below at

Item # 6754

Men's Archer Thermal Lined Flannel Shirt Jacket

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

Hey, thanks so much for the tip. I went to the website and checked it out (also posted a question and waiting for a reply).

As I write these words I'm wearing my own old cotton flannel / thermal-lined shirt as pictured in this blog bit. But if you think it looked ratty then, you should see it NOW! No way I can throw it away or turn it into a dust cloth though.

Several reviewers said it runs very large in size. Glad I read the reviews because it looks like I would need a medium but would have mistakenly ordered a large, thinking it would shrink a lot.

Only two differences that I can tell so far: The thermal lining in my old shirt is 65% polyester, 35% cotton. The Archer shirt lining is 60% Cotton, 40% Polyester, and 100% polyester in the sleeves.

Not sure how much difference that will make in comfort and warmth, but I may be finding out soon.

Thanks again!

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'