Our office closed at 3PM today in celebration of the Memorial Day weekend. I decided to avoid the subway and to walk north through the heart of Manhattan in what may have been the most gorgeous weather to date of 2008. Everyone was out and about, and I took note of several pairs of red jeans on some skinny-legged young men. You may recall my stated pleasure with this fashion turn some days ago.
Sadly, I've to report two other fashion trends that are distasteful.
Absurdly elongated shoes on men in which the toe area forms a sort of narrow slightly up-curved snout. I saw these on the television earlier in the week and assumed they had been made specifically for the singing performer who wore them. Now I see them on pedestrians. Really now. These shoes have about four or five extra inches in length beyond the natural occurrence of the big toe. Who are these men kidding? Even NBA players don't measure that far. And if they did, they wouldn't need to prove it with a pair of handmade Italian elf-on-steroid shoes. Let's hope this one dies a fast death.
The second is an inexplicably popular men's spring jacket. It is rather like what we used to call a "shell", in that it seems to be made of either thin poplin or nylon, but it doesn't have the bottom draw string. It's a shapeless thing, most often in bland beige or navy. Unlike the sexy bomber jacket that rides high above the waist and gives one the illusion of wider shoulders and an attractive butt, these jackets cut straight across the center of the hip and they seem to give the wearer a slump-shouldered look, rather like a banker's box. The more I saw of these, the more I tried to divine their etymology. I think I've figured it out. We have fetishized the nerdy "Can you hear me now?" guy of the TV commercials. This is his jacket. Dear God, can Brilliantined ducktails be just around the corner?
You wanna know what the benefit of age is? I'll tell ya. It's knowing the value of purchasing classic style. A perfectly fitted navy blue blazer. Sueded light-colored desert boots with those crunchy-crepey-cushy soles. A baseball cap with a soft brim and no words on it. A white cap-sleeved t shirt that breaks at the belt (get a boy's size if you have to). A black leather biker jacket. Buy only one in your life. Get it when you are young. It will age with you, conforming to your body, becoming more beautiful as the years go by, perfect in its distressed and battered condition. Men will find you irresistible in it. A pair of work boots, never polished and with the laces wrapped around the ankle. A single tarnished silver bracelet that you found rather than bought. An indestructible plaid flannel shirt. Bury me with these things or let me walk naked into the light of the next life.
Your words illustrate some of the best advice my mother, a former model, ever gave me: "Fashion is a look. Style is looking good. Sometimes they're the same thing." Today at 87, she still inspires the same word from all of my friends fortunate enough to meet her: "amazing."
You too, Father Tony.
RG and I have been noticing the shoes that make me think of the medieval "poulaine". I expect to see them next with ribbons that attach to the knee holding the points of the toes off the ground like some courtier in the 14th century.
I have to admit, I too choose to stick with a more classic look, such as it is. Cowboy boots, jeans and a t-shirt that doesn't look like I've rented a tent for an outdoor reception.
Looking back on my youth though, I have to admit to indulging in some of the worst atrocities of 1970's fashion. That's what youth is for. It gives you something to look back on and be embarrassed about.
You, T. will never go out of style.
I mentioned the big feet in my review of AI this week. Maybe he's setting the trend?
Tony -- thank you for noticing those insane shoes!!! I have been seeing them for a while and they are exactly like the shoes popular in the middle ages (some had bells on the end!) -- the shoes got longer and longer until the ends of the pointy shoes had to be tied to the shin with string to allow the wearer to walk -- they were banned along with gian codpieces as too phallic apparently and have not been seen since -- until now! Straight dudes love these 15 inch long shoes the way they love tube-steak hot rods -- wonder why?
Fussy and ugly men's shoes! Don't get me started on those femmebot sissy bowling shoes that have feminized fag feet for that past decade it seems! Hideous!!!
I spend enough time tripping over my own feet in shoes that fit me properly. Adding elf-toes would only result in tragedy.
Tony, it also does not hurt to have your looks. You can wear anything. The rest of us ... just might have to dress it up a little.
Fashion goes. Style stays.
Tony's right. Age does bring perspective. While the younger guys are hoping that the shoes they have on won't suddenly become "out" while they're actually on the dance floor, those of us of , umm, a "certain age" have seen it all come and go and tend to stick to the clothes that won't have people actually pointing and laughing at us.
Unfortunately Wicked Witch of the West shoes are terribly popular among the gay and straight boys in my city. However, my city, which shall remain nameless (unless one looks at my profile) is notorious for mashing together the sacred and the profane (think when Gucci met Wal*Mart) so sometimes the overall effect merits a second look.
I saw these types of shoes in a store in a Jersey City, NJ mall a few weeks ago, but thought that no one would buy them - guess I was wrong.... so scary. No accounting for taste.
A thing well tailored is a joy forever.. trends are disposable for a very good reason.
I've been seeing those nylon shell things here in SF as well. Usually on middle aged men of a certain sexual orientation who work in drafty dotcom lofts in the fog belt. The ones that look best are on guys who got one size smaller than normal. That way it seems to conform to the body more flatteringly.
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