I just saved a bunch of money. Not only that, but I’m about to become fashionable again. My tailor, Tony, won’t like it, but I know he’ll respect my desire to dress alla moda. You see, I won’t be asking him to take in my trousers after all. Why? Because slim is dead along with that pegged look that made men appear as if they were fourteen. With colorful, striped socks and brown shoes, they looked like extras in a comic opera.
“Fashion Week” ended and now the The Wall Street Journal has announced that baggy trousers are “on the loose again.” You may find the WSJ questionable in some areas of reporting, but I have decided to trust them on this, mainly because it benefits me even if not Tony. The irony is that I was about to have my trousers altered, since they are as wide as an ironing board (left). Now, however, I can wear them guilt free and even with a pinch of bravado, since I had the good sense to catch this sartorial wave at the right moment. I am sure other men and even students will be keen to follow my lead. It isn’t often that I have this kind of market inspiration, so I am making the most of it. Actually, I didn’t catch anything but procrastinated long enough to become fashionable again. I did this once before with neck and bow ties, although I refuse to wear my old tie clips. I’d feel like Jack Webb.
Beyond trouser width, there is something to be said about (1) living long enough to see fashion trends change, and (2) being conscious of those changes. The former gives perspective while the latter prevents you from being foolish, at least potentially. For instance, I went to high school and college in the 1970s. I saw fashion change, but I have no desire to idolize that decade. I once wore a yellow, polyester leisure suit and clogs while emceeing a fundraiser at Ursinus College. I also remember streaking, which is why “No Pants Day” on the subway is No Big Deal to me now. Not that I would ever participate (see no. 2 above). They do it in January.
In the 1960s, my friends and I thought bell bottoms would never die. We actually said that. I remember the street corner where we declared it with full adolescent fervor. Now, I find it implausible that they would ever come back. That could be wisdom. It could also be the result of going through old photo albums. Whenever I do that, I find that gin helps enormously.
Many fashionistas (I like that term) will tell you that what’s “in” or “out” isn’t as important as developing your personal style and being comfortable and confident in that style. Of course, there is an unspoken expectation that you’re not going to dress like George Clinton or Lady Gaga. There are also rules like the ones against wearing a dress shirt untucked with jeans or socks with sandals. Everybody knows them except for the people who break them. But then I always go back to my question, “Are there no mirrors?”
I find that fashion is a way for me to accept who and what I am in a stylish way without succumbing to society’s obsession with the cult of youth. I want to dress in a way that is creative, respectful, and attractive. And, I ask you, what is more attractive than wide-legged trousers? From now on, I am all about wide pride. Now, I just have to wait for the four-button suit to come back and my wardrobe will be complete. It could be a while.