While Michael had an appreciation for the art of dressmaking and a natural affinity for style, Michael believed his clothes served one purpose and one purpose only: showmanship. But to him even a walk down the Hollywood Boulevard on any given Sunday deserved special attention to style, so there weren’t many days that didn’t include some sort of showmanship.
A man who parade around in sashes and sterling silver boots and championship belts preferred all the comforts that loungewear affords. It is just another dichotomy of dressing Michael Jackson. His performance clothes were fitted, skin tight and flashy: his private clothes, baggy and often sloppy. If you told Michael he could dress down somewhere, he’d be relieved.
Little things like that pleased him. Sometimes at the studio, Michael deemed it “Casual Day.” Everyone coming in for meetings or recordings or whatever didn’t have to be concerned with dressing to impress. On those days, Michael would whoop with such excitement you’d think Walt Disney had just invited him to dinner.
People thought that Michael ran around wearing his famous sequined glove, but it was only worn when he was moonwalking. No sooner would he finish a performance or an appearance, than he would start dropping the pieces, with me running behind him, scrambling to catch what he sent sailing over his shoulder. He just didn’t care about wearing his show clothes beyond the purpose they were indeed to serve.
More than anything, he despised fittings. He considered them a huge waste of time. He’d rather save the minutes and hours of the day for things of importance, like making music, perfecting his dance, and watching The Simpsons.
“Why do I have to try this on?” he’d argue and fidget. “If you know what you are doing, then it should fit.” He wasn’t exactly happy about having people constantly fiddle with, pull at, or rearrange his seams, hems, and collars.
The “Michael uniform” was all he wore when he wasn’t performing: corduroy shirt, usually red; black cotton pants with box pleats, sometimes with a cuff; and his loafers. Ask him why and he’d say, “Bush, if I have 50 red corduroy shirts in my closet, I don’t have to think about what I’m going to wear. What a waste of energy and time.”
Practicality aside, Michael’s love of play was ubiquitous. “If I only have one choice in my closet,” he told me, “then you won’t know if I have had this on for the last 3 days. Is it clean? Is it dirty? You don’t know…” He loved to keep people guessing because it meant they were paying attention.
- Michael Bush