Friday, March 1, 2013

The Rise of the Well-Dressed Man

Robert Longo, “Men Trapped In Ice” (1980). Courtesy of the artist and Metro Pictures.
Designer fashion is no longer just for gay men and Europeans. Welcome to the age of sartorial enlightenment, in which the average male has shed schlumpiness for style.
The scene was a Williamsburg restaurant, packed with the usual array of hip beard-farmers. There was a cookie-cutter likeness about the men in the room, an aesthetic Brooklyn lockstep. Everyone seemed to have gotten the same style memo, the one that called for cardigans with granddad shawl collars, for select brands of pricey Japanese denim and for glasses that make you look like you’ve read too much Ayn Rand.
continue read. . . . .


Gary Kelly said...

Sartorial enlightenment just makes it more difficult to spot the dummies in disguise.

J said...

Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it, and I suppose that applies to fashion. The notion that designer clothes have been only for gays and Europeans, as this author writes, is hogwash. Men have been peacocks throughout history, and, in particular, male designer clothes became the rage in the mid-60's and continued for at least a decade. I know, because my mother always made sure I had a new Cardin, Lanvan or Saint Laurent suit every spring during that period, I guess because I loved the stuff and was young and skinny enough to wear it all well. If I were home for the weekend from school she'd announce that we would be going to Garfinkel's department store in downtown DC, about a block from the White House(now long since closed), and meet with a gay salesman she knew there who had a good eye and "knew the cloth". It was certainly fun; God knows I love those memories. I've kept all those suits stored in garment bags on racks in the basement because they were so well made and the designs so arresting. I've tried to instill certain of mother's principles into my sons, but don't know if they'll ever embrace the avant garde. The most I can get them interested in are conservative Brooks Brothers suits and blazers and British made captoe oxfords. They've resisted the colorful Turnbull and Asser and Thomas Pink shirts I got them. One maxim has stuck: A gentleman owns his own evening clothes. And they wear their tuxedos with old fashioned board front shirts,detachable wing collars and hand tied bowties. Unfortunately those shirts and collars are only made in England now, as far as I can tell, and must be specially ordered. So now on Oscar night we will forever be compelled to see male "stars" wearing wrinkled business shirts. If they only knew.

jimm said...

Interesting... There's an Adrian Jules just around the corner. Too fine for me. :(

Gary Kelly said...

When I worked in radio, the only people who wore suits were management and sales reps. Announcers, journos, writers, etc, wore tees, jeans and joggers.

I was a writer/producer and worked a lot with the reps, most of whom were ethically challenged. They needed their suits to give them credibility - to make them appear "professional".

Must have been a tailor who said "clothes maketh the man".

I know it's a generalization, but clothes are meant to create an impression. I prefer to use other means to create an impression, one that is greater than the thickness of skin or cloth.

25 years ago, my car was for sale. A bloke phoned and arrived with his mate. Both were police in uniform. The buyer took my car for a short test run and returned - beaming from ear to ear, most impressed. "I don't mean to intimidate you by being in uniform," he began, "but I don't think the car is worth what you're asking." Then he offered $200 less than I'd advertised. I agreed to accept his offer (mainly because that's what I'd expected anyway). "I'll be back in a couple of hours," he said, "after I knock off work." When he and his mate returned to take delivery of my car, they were dressed in shorts, tees and runners hehe. He gave me a check and that was that.

I have nothing against good taste in clothes. As a youngster I had much of my wardrobe tailor made, and bought all my shirts from a specialist shirt shop in King St Sydney. When I first started in radio as an announcer, I always wore a suit on air and in the office.

And now? Well, let's say I've rearranged my priorities. :)

Coop said...

Yes, I own a couple of Brooks Brothers suits. ;-) I don't wear 'em much and don't need to.
Ties are the enemy... might as well be wearing a noose.

I wear dress slacks and pull overs this time of year with good shoes.