Thursday, April 25, 2013

Fashion Thursday with Juvenile Hobo Matlock

I found this mildly shocking (and I realize that sounds oxymoronic):
Brooks Brothers now has a "Gatsby Collection".


Side-note:  This has nothing to do with anything, but I love the fashion anachronism inherent to shooting something taking place way-back-when.  I mean, take a look at both films, the Robert Redford and the DeCaprio versions, and you'll see two wardrobes that have only color palette in common, and even less in common with the era they inhabit.   Although, I'll warrant,  since we're stuck in 2013, the 1974 release seems much more egregious, with its feathered hair,  ties + lapels 5-inches wide and --of course-- bell-bottoms.

"Who'd have thought my 'Midnight Cowboy' outfit would age better?"

But I digress.

Brooks Brothers???  Really?  Aren't they supposed to be the stodgy, olde-guarde clothier, contemptuous of fleeting, flavor-of the-week stunts like this?  Movie merchandising tie-ins always smell faintly of Burger King to me, but, of course, I am a completely out-of-touch, toothless, old fuddy-duddy, who understands nothing about marketing, and even less about successful marketing.

Okay, so there is well-received retail precedent established for this:  You might remember the most recent and recognizable example was the "Mad Men" collection at Banana Republic.  And that totally makes sense for GAP's higher-shelf-yet-miles-from-aspirational brand.  You won't find anyone in their customer demographic charts who'll scoff at clothing developed from a television series, even if it is on AMC.

Perhaps even more importantly, by the time the "Mad Men" line was launched, the wardrobe from the show didn't differ drastically from what folks were wearing in the main'est of streams--just give your models some John Hamm hair, throw on some of the same damn grey suits and shawl-cardigans you were already selling, and call it a day.  Jackpot.

Basically...these are clothes.

But the "Gatsby Collection?"   Peaked-lapels on a pin-striped pink linen suit?  Who has the balls to wear that?  It's one thing to pay some marketing flunkies to breathe on your ads to pedal some shit that's basically indistinguishable from what's already on the rack, but this?  Some of this stuff is downright camp  (Not that there's anything wrong with that!) But are the rank and file BB shoppers going to drop 800 bucks for a something so farcical as a violently red, white and blue regatta blazer?  

"All ready for that job interview /Grampa's funeral!
Maybe I'm totally wrong though.  

Go big or go home, right?  <belch>  'Merica.  

Maybe the irony of the age of #menswear is that wearing a suit made of grey flannel doesn't read as fundamentally different from one of pink linen.  You're still "trying too hard." Sometimes, it seems like if you bother to button your fly, pick the french fries out of your hair and wear something aside from the silicon valley hoodie and plaid shorts, you may as well carry a sign that says "I FIND YOUR ATTIRE AND SEXUAL ORIENTATION HOPELESSLY UNIMAGINATIVE." Is there a hashtag for menswearbacklash yet?

Example: here's a conversation I had with an undergrad engineering student at a pretty fucking terrible party little while back:

"What, are you an artist?"
"No, I'm the opposite of that; I'm an engineer."
"Oh.  Well, you dress like an artist."
"Oh.  I don't know what that means."
"I hate artists."
"Okay, cool."

And, scene.

Is the implication that if I were to wear a dumpy, over-sized  T-shirt, prominently advertising a defunct software product and sweatpants covered with ejaculate stains, then and only then, would I be certifiably "dressed like an engineer"?  

I guess that's more or less true today, which is odd, because back when dress codes existed, "the engineer style" meant something entirely different; it referred to the logical conclusion attained from attempting to meet the bare minimum qualifications for said dress code, with short sleeves and a tie-clip to reduce interference with the ol' drafting table.  The best documented, pop-culture example of this has become Micheal Douglas's character, "D-Fens," in "Falling Down." 
Those Aero guys are notoriously high-strung.  

By the way, this is what happens when you take away the dress code and turn an engineer loose in retirement.  

Dad's not prone to taking "fashion tips" from anyone.




Oh, right--Brooks Brothers!  I don't have the guts or the cash for the collection, but I hope they find some buyers who do.  

And I'm working on the guts part.  In fact, it's getting so hot, I finally broke down and bought a linen suit. 

Yes, I did.
It's a new thing for me, and a bit more flamboyant than what I usually wear, but I'm hoping it won't be entirely incongruent with my earlier precedent of dress:  still conservative tones, and still covered in filth, but with a bit more Matlock...and younger, I guess?  

I will wear this out.  And people will ask why I'm so dressed-up. And, as always, I will shrug, look at the floor and say that I just didn't have time to change after work, as if that answers the question.