CPUs. Cayce Pollard Units. That’s what Damien calls the clothing she wears. CPUs are either black, white, or gray, and ideally seem to have come into this world without human intervention.
What people take for relentless minimalism is a side effect of too much exposure to the reactor-cores of fashion. This has resulted in a remorseless paring-down of what she can and will wear. She is, literally, allergic to fashion. She can only tolerate things that could have been worn, to a general lack of comment, during any year between 1945 and 2000.
She’s a design-free zone, a one-woman school of anti whose very austerity periodically threatens to spawn its own cult.
Skinner’s old biker jacket hung above it, shoulders set broad and confident on a fancy wooden hanger. Black once, its horsehide had gone mostly gray with wear and time. Older than she was, he’d said. A pair of new black jeans were draped over the rod beside it. She pulled these down and worked her feet out of the riding shoes. Got the jeans on over her shorts. A black sweatshirt from the open mouth of the knapsack. Smell of clean cotton as she pulled it over her head; she’d washed everything, at Carson’s, when she’d decided she was leaving. She crouched at the foot of the foam, lacing up lug-soled high-tops, no socks. Stood and took Skinner’s jacket from the hanger. It was heavy, as if it retained the weight of horses. She felt safer in it. Remembering how she’d always ridden with it in San Francisco, in spite of the weight. Like armor.
The gun in his hand, hidden by the folds of the trench coat. Under the trench coat, which is beltless, open, Fontaine wears faded plaid flannel pajama bottoms and a long-sleeved white thermal undershirt rendered ecru by the vagaries of the laundry process. Black shoes, sockless and unlaced, their gloss gone matte in the deeper creases.
… black, three-button jacket, wool-poly blend. He laid it on the bed, atop the hanger-bag and started unpacking one of the shopping bags. He found two pairs of navy-blue cotton briefs, two pairs of medium-weight gray socks, a white sleeveless undershirt, two blue oxford button-downs, and a pair of dark-gray wool trousers with no belt loops, tabs and buttons at either side of the waistband. (…) The other contained a shoebox. In it was a pair of rather sad rubber-soled leather oxfords, generic office-wear. Also a black leather wallet and a plain black nylon carryall.
She wore a black XXXL sweatshirt from some long-dead start-up, men's brown ribbed-nylon socks of a peculiarly nasty sheen, and see-through plastic sandals the color of cherry cough syrup.
Cayce knows, for instance, that the characteristically wrinkled seams down either arm were originally the result of sewing with pre-war industrial machines that rebelled against the slippery new material, nylon. The makers of the Rickson's have exaggerated this, but only very slightly, and done a hundred other things, tiny things, as well, so that their product has become, in some very Japanese way, the result of an act of worship. It is an imitation more real somehow than that which it emulates. It is easily the most expensive garment Cayce owns, and would be virtually impossible to replace.
He was dressed entirely in black, which had the effect of somewhat reducing his bulk. He wore a soft, smocklike garment sewn from very black denim, multiple pockets around its wide hem. Laney thought it looked vaguely Japanese, in some medieval way. Something a carpenter might wear.