When we remember vintage fashions, it’s generally the glamour that stands out the most. The Gatsby glitz and the movie stars of classic Hollywood tend to come to mind first. However, not everyone was gliding around like Grace Kelly or vamping it up with Theda Bara. In fact, it’s safe to say that most people probably just kept wearing what they always wore, with small adjustments to account for different items being available or the trend of a particular cut of cloth or hairstyle. Men especially have been wearing basically the same thing for centuries with minor differences in things like neckwear, the length of a coat, or the size of a lapel.
As a design element, arrows are both compelling and open to a variety of interpretations. They could mean that you know where you’re going. They could mean that you don’t know where you’re going. You are a weapon, or a direction. You might feel a spiritual connection between yourself and an object propelled at high speed until it hits a target. Maybe you’re into archery, or maybe you feel attacked and wish to shield yourself. They seem to be a popular element in branding designs from the past five years or so, so you could also just be a designer who is stuck in hipster logo go-to aesthetics.
As a person grows older, certain things about their appearance become more prominent. For some, it’s centered around clothing. The fedoras and high-waisted trousers that were once the sartorial status quo are eye-catching relics of a bygone era when worn in 2015. For others, it’s etched in the body, like an interesting pattern of deep wrinkles or an impressive nose that has only grown in size and character with age. For this gentleman I saw reading the newspaper, it is his eyebrows. They grew like luxurious caterpillars out of his forehead, gently waving in the breeze as he frowned at the latest reports of economic disaster.
In these, the dog days of summer, it’s rare to see a pair of trousers extended to their full length. Plenty of people even wear a special garment called “shorts.” This article of clothing has been subjected to a truly absurd amount of debate, especially on the topic of whether or not it’s appropriate for a man to wear them. This is ridiculous. Wear whatever you want, your masculinity can withstand showing a little knee. While I’m not an enemy of shorts in general, regardless of the gender of the person wearing them, I prefer not to put them on myself. If you, like me, insist on not wearing shorts, there are two ways to send a breeze around your ankles in long pants—cuff them or roll them up (versatile!), or get the more clean-cut look of pants cut a few inches above the anklebone.
Beige gets a bad rap, as far as colors go. Sure, it may be the color of oatmeal, a food long derided for its blandness. But people who compare boring things to oatmeal obviously aren’t cooking it correctly, because oatmeal with spices and fruit and nuts in it is delicious. Same goes for wearing supposedly “neutral” colors—of course it’s going to look dull if you don’t inject any personality into it.
We live in the golden age of patterned fabrics. Yesterday in New York City I saw a man wearing an oxford shirt with tiny hamburgers embroidered all over it, and I’ve already discussed the prevalence of botanical prints in a previous column. Sometimes popular fashion seems to reflect a certain collective sobriety in subdued colors and tasteful patterns, but at other times there’s a sort of zeitgeist of… whimsy. Lately it seems like people are pretty into wearing things that look like they’re patterned with a standard set of stripes or diamonds from a distance but upon closer examination turn out to be a string of curses in tiny font, or a field of corgis.