You want to grow up to paint houses like me
A trailer in my yard till you're twenty three
You want to be old after forty two years
Keep dropping the hammer and grinding the gears

Well, I used to go out in a Mustang, a 302 Mach One in green
Me and your Mama made you in the back and I sold it to buy her a ring
And I learned not to say much of nothing so I figured you already know
But in case you don't or maybe forgot, I'll lay it out real nice and slow

Don't call what you're wearing an outfit, don't ever say your car is broke
Don't worry about losing your accent, a southern man tells better jokes
Have fun, stay clear of the needle, call home on your sister's birthday
Don't tell them you're bigger than Jesus, don't give it away

Five years in a St. Florian foundry, they call it Industrial Park
Then hospital maintenance and tech school just to memorize Frigidaire parts
But I got to missing your Mama and I got to missing you too
And I went back to painting for my old man and I guess that's what I'll always do

So don't let 'em take who you are boy, and don't try to be who you ain't
And don't let me catch you in Kendale with a bucket of wealthy man's paint

Don't call what you're wearing an outfit, don't ever say your car is broke
Don't sing with a fake British accent, don't act like your family's a joke
Have fun, but stay clear of the needle, call home on your sister's birthday
Don't tell them you're bigger than Jesus, don't give it away

Don't give it away

Lyrics submitted by discgo, edited by luckygoon, delbertwilkins

"Outfit" as written by Jason Isbell

Lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Outfit song meanings
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  • +1
    My InterpretationI think the first verse is the writer's daddy's advice to his son to quit living like a kid and start being a man or else he'll end up with a dead end job, living in his parent's front yard, and looking haggard.

    The second verse is his father explaining that he is a man of few words, but there are some things his son should know by now.

    The first chorus is telling him how to act like a man: Girls wear "outfits" and boys wear clothes. A man should know what is wrong with his car - the alternator, the engine, the transmission, etc. A child would say it was "broke". Don't try to cover up where you came from, don't do drugs, remember your family back home, stay humble (unlike John Lennon), and always know you are worth something.

    Third verse: St Florian is a town near the songwriter's hometown, and his father worked there in a factory, probably long hours. Then he went to school to do maintenance in a hospital, but the hours were long so he fell back on the only skill he had - painting houses.

    Fourth verse: Stay true to who you are, don't act better than others. Kendale Gardens is an upper-class subdivision near the songwriter's hometown. The father is warning the son that if he doesn't straighten up, he'll end up like him, painting houses for rich people instead of being a rich person.

    The last chorus is pretty self-explanitory. Be a man. Be who you are and don't let anyone or anything change you. Don't do drugs and don't forget about your family.

    ***THE END***

    And I may be wrong, but those are my thoughts. And I LOVE this song!!!
    BamaGalon December 17, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI sure coulda used some of this advice growing up in the south in the 60's - if I woulda listened to it anyway. Think me and my friends did the opposite of most of these things and suffered for it. Well, at least I never called what I was wearin an 'Outfit' :->
    Uh_Andyon February 07, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentJason Isbell: This one focuses on the advice I got growing up, mostly from my father. We recorded the song just before Father's Day and I gave Dad a copy as a present.…
    Uh_Andyon February 07, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthanks for the link.. i really love this tune
    bharQon September 22, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe line I'm not sure I get is:

    "Don't tell em you're bigger than Jesus/Don't give it away."

    The "don't give it away" part? Give what away?

    Btw, this is easily one of my all-time favorite songs. Unreal.
    Rickveeon February 28, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMy father and I have formed an incredible bond over this song. Everytime he'd play it, he would tell me to just listen because Isbell could say it better than he could.
    themadhatter73on April 09, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentJust perfect advice.

    When I was in Alabama a lot of people were paying attention to what Jason was doing and I'd imagine they're very proud of him right now. He found what he was looking for and put out some incredible music, something we all knew he could do.

    Can't wait for the next album. Dirks Bentley is a fucking poser. He has people write songs and it's a money thing. Grammys are a circle jerk. Critics I have mixed feelings but they have taste. Critical acclaim or its aggregate is really the best thing you could hope for as a songwriter. Unless you just want to be a douche and out lawyer people who hurt your egos. Someone that needs people to tell him how good he is. Fucking faggot.
    bkabbotton May 21, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI have one more thing to add. I'm a music major or was unfortunately and you know that song probably borrowed from Razor Town legally. I'm sure Jason's publicist told him to play it off. But Dirks is a fucking tool. If he wasn't intimidated if he was the real deal he wouldn't say shit. I'm glad Jason quit drinking because he's writing better but I have no respect for Dirks Bentley. He's a fucking faggot.
    bkabbotton May 21, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThe chorus is such a brilliant way of putting father-to-son important life advice into words

    "Don't call what your wearing an outfit" - don't let how you look or dress define you, calling it an "outfit", implies that your dress is important and somehow part of you.

    "Don't ever say our car is broke" - you can fix anything and get yourself out of any situation, no matter how challenging

    "Don't worry about losing your accent..." - know your roots and be proud of your regional quirks

    "Have fun, stay clear of the needle" - have fun, enjoy life, but stay away from hard drugs

    "Call home on your sister's birthday" - stay close to your family and roots

    "Don't tell them your bigger than Jesus, don't give it away." - stay confident, know you are special, but stay humble.

    patrickn81on May 28, 2017   Link

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