The Gentle Art of Shabby Dressing

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The Gentle Art of Shabby Dressing
By Spencer Short

There’s nothing dandier than threadbare threads
worn by a discerning shabby dresser.
A collar’s fret or subtle fray is not lesser
because it’s worn away but models instead

the bespoke tailoring of time itself.
Done poorly—the gentleman farmer’s
piecemeal pastoral, that NoHo charmer’s
duct-taped boots—it’s like an unread bookshelf

of secondhand prose: a too-studied pose.
Done well, it draws you in to draw you near,
reveals the intricate pattern in the years’
inexorable ravel. Between decompose

and deconstruct, what seemed a foppish quirk
grows wise. Design undone. We wear time’s work.