Fashion And Its Dictates

When I was in my teens my parents had a subscription to the New Yorker magazine.  Occassionaly I read some of the articles and certainly a few of the short stories and poem.  Of course the cartoons were, as always suburb, next to Playboy, the best.  I had part time jobs and could afford to pick up my copy of Playboy and read it when I went out of the house, my mother believing it was a filthy magazine.  Actually, outside of the photographs, it was better than Esquire, which I hear has made something of a comeback and has its own cable channel.  Well, go figure.  Dad actually was the one who acquired the subscription for Esquire for my older brother and I read what interested me.  Funny thing was my grandfather like his playboys and when he died and my parents found his stash they were quite upset, so my little brother tells me.  But back to fashion.  I wanted to be an artist in high school.  I can’t say that I had much talent but I did have some technical ability.  I drew my own panoramas ever since grade school and it was a kid in fourth grade who taught me something about perspective.  I can say that I picked that right up and in fact I made studies of it before I finished sixth grade.  Art is something I have always identified with and found interesting.  But back to the New Yorker.  That magazine has ads for womens clothing that were drawn in a particular way.  Wonderful sketches that I copied in style and perhaps put my own improvements in the process.  They were pencil drawings and done with a bias to the paper.  The lines and the shading were good studies.

Since that time I have paid some attention to women’s clothing and the various styles.  Now I am not fashion expert and I really can’t tell you all the technical terms, but I can tell if a cloth has the right feel and texture.  My father had that ability to fel the texture of cloth and make the determination whether it was very good or simply average.  You know, a suit that feels good between the fingers hangs well when made into a jacket or a skirt.  Either you notice the difference or you don’t.  Sort of the difference between the crap that Frederick’s of Hollywood sells to the working woman of the boulevarde or what Victoria’s Secret sells.  The quality and cut is very noticeable.  Of course the fashions one saw in the New Yorker were the classic styles one sees that always stand out and never disappoint.  Obviously Rudy Gernreich didn’t advertise in the New Yorker.  I always wonder what the good of a mid waist swim suit bottom was with only thin spaghetti straps for a top with no breast coverage.  Seemed like a waste of material.  The miniskirt, on the other hand, appeared to me as the drastic need for grace and discretion.  Not that as  a man I din’t approve, being a hot blooded male, it made far more sense than hot pants.  On the other hand, Daisy Dukes were a bit more daring as well as revealing, wear them at your discretion.

Yes, I have watched the hemlines march up towards the crotch t the point that I wondered why one would leave anything to the imagination.  Perhaps that is why I found the midi skirt refreshing.  I think the A-line the best version, the pencil midi skirt made no sense.  The fabric needed to flow and swirl, if possible.  Of course us men are so dowdy in our fashions.  Should we wear tight pants and show off our swelvet rear ends?  I never had a swelvet rear end, mine was always a bit large for a man, it went with the very muscular legs.  But fashion sense was something that us teenagers would agonize over and pine.  My parents would not buy me the style of clothes all the popular kids wore.  My influence was the preppie look.  The white jeans with the Madras plaid button down shirt with the fruit loop in the back.  And loafers, got to have loafers to be hip.  So I settled for buying my own clothes since I had a part time job.  White khakis, a contradiction in terms, I know, but the same material, only white.  Madras plaid was expensive and I only had one.  But pin stripes with the button down collar, at least I could look somewhat with it.  And one work black socks with black loafers, not the bull role or penny loafer kind, but the ones with the solid upper stitched to the sides.  And if you could find a pair in dark burgundy, hey, that was way cool.  My mother thought I should wear white shirts, no button down collar, Khakis, brown tie shoes with white socks.  Man, how Mickey Mouse.  No wonder the girls avoided me.  Might as well paint me in white face and bright red lips and red  round nose.

Still, I liked the Berkshire Hathaway shirts, log before Warren Buffet took over the company.  They were good quality material and well cut, and expensive.  Well, I never had the type of job that afforded me the wardrobe of the up and coming young man making a success of himself.  When you work outside construction you worry more about durability and longevity.  Mud doesn’t give a damn about fashion.  Yeah, dressing for success in outside construction is rather different than the office.  I eventually went inside as a high tech technician but unless one was deemed worthy, it didn’t matter what one wore.  And when I lived off road by several miles, well, overalls work very well.  Did that for three years, you learn self reliance very quickly.  But all things change and soon I was in a new world trying to make the young engineer impression as I was becoming that young engineer at the age of fifty.  Don’t laugh, the late nineties had its own fashion code and I spent a few bucks trying to make the right impression.  Unfortunately, clothes don’t make that much of an impression in high tech, knowledge does and boy did I make an impression.  Got my fifteen minutes of fame and have been long forgotten.

But on the way, I still notice fashion.  Women’s fashion stands out the most.  I think women have far more fun with it.  Us men are really sticks in the mud, know what I mean?  Look at the difference between men’s shoes and those of women.  With men’s footwear, I keep asking, is that all there is?  Jesus, we’ve got some dog ugly shoes.  And so predictable. By the way, what up with the super long toes?  What are we wearing, clown shoes?  In the animal world the male is the one who has the best ready to wear while the females are just a bit dowdy.  We humans have turned ti so opposite as to make it laughable.  Even when it comes to shirts we have very limited styles, like we are afraid to have a little fun.  And then we go and spoil it all with that basket ball uniform.  What the hell is up with that?  Do I really believe that your are a pro basketball player, or even a college hoopster?  Take about want-a-be sloppiness.  Yeah, we all went through that back in our teens when we actually played on a team.  If you played football on a team you might have stolen your game jersey and wore it.  Same with basketball.  I mean, the cardinal rule was you didn’t pretend to be what you weren’t.  You didn’t wear a team jersey unless you earned it by playing on that team.  Well, I’m just showing my support for my favorite team.  Yeah, sure you are, poser.

Well, I don’t follow fashion that closely, I just notice some of the differences.  And since I spent three months in France each year I notice the differences in European fashions and those in the US.  America is about two to three years behind Europe, by the way.  The Brits are a year behind.  Even the Hungarians are close to the fashions of Paris.  Travel gives you something to look at while you sit and watch the parade of people go by.  Even the European men exhibit more fashion sense than the American men.  Does that surprise you?  By the way, hip hop and rap don’t pull int the fashion business, it is considered de classe, American.


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