My love affair with the real-life George Costanza’s look is newsworthy by happenstance, as Simple shoes (yes, that’s the name) just put a certain style back into production for the first time in five years. Thanks to a wildly successful Kickstarter and promotion on the platform of being LD’s favorite shoes, his wardrobe is back in the forefront of fashion news, by way of a nondescript sneaker sold in three specific colors: black, navy and taupe.
They go perfectly with LD’s signature look, a mix of layers in desert mountain tones, all slate grey and brown and navy-blues. Pop any blazer over any long-sleeved shirt and you’re never too warm or too cold — perfect for a man so nebbishy he left Jeff Garlin’s real-life birthday party by saying "I have nothing more to contribute." He’s constantly in slacks and worn-in baseball hats, ready to write a sitcom episode or play a round of golf, whichever opportunity should present itself first. Seriously — he’s worn the same outfit both on the course and on a panel; it’s irrefutably convenient.
Larry David is the human embodiment of owning a room, and does it all in Dad clothes. Watch as he halts an interview with Katie Couric five minutes in to grab his coat because he’s "so damn cold" or makes Matt Lauer look like more than an skin suit-wearing robot when they sat down to chat or gets a crowd to burst into laughter from a mere gesture — a literary crowd, at that. At SNL’s 40th Anniversary, he commanded the show from his seat — a point that would be useless, as he was sporting a tux, if he didn’t later confess he was so cold in the studio he nearly borrowed a stranger’s jacket. He may be dressed to the nines, but utility matters; when he’s out of uniform, he’s off his game.
I’ve long considered clothing to be an expression of personality, because, duh, that’s what we all think. Wearing a funny frock or latte-stained Mickey Mouse sweatshirt allows others to download imperative facts about me before I open my mouth and prove them to be true. My own wardrobe, the halfway point between a 1980’s birthday clown and a baby’s baptism gown, tells you I’m a little weird in a non-threatening way and do something vaguely creative, but could potentially be functionally unemployed.
You can insinuate facts of just about everybody from their clothing, but you can’t do this with Larry David. He has fully debunked the idea that you should dress in line with your personality, or that the two even need to jive. If your Tinder date was with a bassist of an emerging rock band and he rolled up in khakis and a slate-colored sweater with a blazer, you’d tuck in for a fun story about how his clothes got destroyed at a gig and he had to pay an accountant for the outfit off his back. How can a man who thinks so hysterically out-of-the-box dress like the beige-iest of Benjamin Moore paint can offerings? It’s not right. No one dresses in a way that is so completely divorced from their actual persona — can you imagine the Broad City girls unironically sporting Coachella crowns? — because your clothing says something about you. It has to, unless of course you’re Larry, and then all it says is, "eh, let’s move on already."
I’m continually transfixed by his ability to pull this off. Sure, comedians have been ignoring dress codes for years, and even Jerry Seinfeld has long since abandoned a signature look, but Larry’s situation is peculiar to a deeper degree. Here is a man who’s garnered such success from a television show centered around the minutia of daily life that he was able to create and succeed with a second one. How could someone care so much about the social nonsense he’s forced to endure each time he leaves the house but mind so little about what’s on his body whilst doing it?
Unlike every single other semi-vain adult, there’s nothing about the cotton-covered shell of Larry David that indicates anything about his personality. Without knowing his body of work, you’d simply wonder why people are fawning over an old guy at the coffee shop. His entire being circumvents the whole idea of fashion, and heavily implies that maybe the boldest personalities are better enhanced by neutral tones than patterns that could indicate his outlandishness and radical honesty.
I love this idea of dressing for utility; letting your clothes do their job while getting the hell out of your own way. Capsule dressing has forever been the dream for anyone who has ever contemplated life in a changing room, lost a few dresses in their own closet, or wasted too much money on something they’ll never wear.. We obsess over Marie Kondo because minimalism is so aesthetically pleasing and difficult to obtain. (I don’t wholly concur; however, I understand why others do.) Life is overwhelming from the minute our ringing iPhone wakes us up to the time our heads hit the pillow with tablet in hand, sleepless from the brightly lit screen shining into the darkness. Simply trying to complete any work task while in range of a WiFi connection can be near-impossible without attention-enhancing drugs.
At this current moment, I have three separate e-mails from a site selling limited-edition goods pulling me towards it, a window open to Shopbop’s trend-of-the-day blast, and a handbag I Googled two days ago perma-promoted at the top of my Twitter feed. Adding — or subtracting, considering the black hole that is resale shops and sites — from one’s wardrobe is wholly draining, exhausting in even the smallest iterations. Choosing a resale site, posting garment photos of a dress you knew you’d never wear, constantly checking back to see if you’ll make any money back from it. It’s a pain.
Larry, though? Larry’s not paying any attention to clothes. No energy is being wasted in search of a deal on The Outnet or waiting in line at the post office to return an ill-fitting online haul. He’s paying attention to double-goodbyes and nonsensical manners and low-talkers, but clothes? Nah.
There’s something to be said about savoring one’s creativity and not wasting too much brain power on things that don’t deserve it, like getting dressed. It’s by doing this that he blows the lid off the entire concept of capsule dressing. In a crewneck and cords he’s ready for anything, whether it’s the Knicks’ big screen, paparazzi, or just his daughter’s Instagram. It’s sartorial brilliance. He’s so charming beyond the neutral tones of his wardrobe that we’ll even believe his uniform is fashion. When normcore was king, he was weirdly a walking moodboard ; Vogue even recommended a $1,500 look-a-like outfit to channel his style while Fish In The Dark promotion was on high.
An added perk, though, is that his #relaxeddad style is truly timeless. Is this (left) a picture of Larry from 2005? Or 2015? Or is from the future? You cannot tell! To find a way to look 10 years younger simply by investing absolutely no time into looking 10 years younger is precisely why he’s so successful and I’m approaching my sixth summer of trying to find a pair of jean shorts I like.
It’s utility at its finest, and none of us have even noticed. Why? Because he’s formulated a capsule wardrobe so perfect that it truly lets himself and his work shine through.
There is nothing inherently attractive about a half-zip sweater or a golf jacket in windbreaker material, but when Larry puts it’s on, it’s different. It’s pretty, pretty….you get the idea.