Style, by Rich Paschall
Perhaps you have noticed that it seems to have died out. You are probably glad of it too. You did not like it. You may even have been insulted by it, so it is so long and farewell. It should be like many style statements we have seen over recent generations. It is here for a while, then reason sets in.
Of course, we are talking about that so-called “fashion trend” that saw young men wearing their baggy jeans below their rear ends so that we could see their boxer shorts. I am sure this did as much for makers of boxer shorts as it did for sellers of baggy jeans. Perhaps these guys have started to realize just how crazy this was. There may have been some cheap thrill in letting us see their underwear, but as a practical point of view it could not have been dumber. At least you know these guys were not going to cause trouble. It is tough when you have to waddle away from the scene of the crime.
Maybe the lack of a Justin Bieber tour helped to kill this idea. Let’s hope that his next tour (if there is one) does not bring it back, or some equally strange wearing of clothes. The alleged singer-songwriter stopped his Purpose tour without performing all the shows. We are not sure of the Purpose or style yet, but we know he is unpopular at certain venues, but I digress …
When I was younger we had our strange fashion trends, which I am sure were heavily influenced by the entertainment industry. If someone looked cool in the movies or on television, then I guess we wanted to look cool too. I was too young to be influenced by the first wave of the British Invasion. It did not matter to me what John, Paul, George, and Ringo were wearing. For clothes choices, I got whatever my mother thought I should have.
As I got a little older I realized, as all kids do, that a little (or a lot) of whining would probably get me a few of the things I liked. By high school, it was white Levis, madras shirts (plaid) and penny loafers. I thought this ensemble was cool. I guess I still do. For a while, it was “skinny jeans.” I don’t think we called them that, but they were the type that was difficult to put on and the opening at the bottom of the pants leg was barely big enough for your feet to go through. I guess we thought we were sexy, like the boys showing off their boxers in more recent times. Skinny jeans also seem to be quite popular at present, but mostly, it’s young girls.
It was just a few years and then that whole “preppy” look I loved so much was out. A whole collection of things that would not stand the test of time followed. When skinny jeans gave way to “flares,” that is pants that had wider leg openings at the bottom, and then bell-bottoms we had a whole new look. Yes, I got those, including the “hip huggers” style. Those had a lower cut. Neither my parents nor my grandparents ever wore any such items.
Your wide pants might go with a variety of looks, but maybe not with your Nehru jackets or shirts. These items may have retained their popularity in India, where they are named after Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru who served from 1947 to 1964, but they were a brief trend here. The jackets and shirts with the “mandarin collar” would make you look like a priest if you wore something dark.
Your 70’s hippie look did need “tie-dyed” t-shirts. I guess those just keep coming back around the style block. They were always popular with the Grateful Dead crowd and then with Phish, the Grateful Dead for the 21st Century. I am glad to say I never owned one. You may think that picture of you with beads, tie-dye shirt, bell-bottom pants and sandals that one of your friends posted on facebook on “throwback Thursday” looks really cool, but I have news for you…
All of this was followed by the regrettable trend we called “leisure suits.” The polyester creations featured jackets that looked like shirts trying to be jackets. Unfortunately, a number of pictures of my youthful self in these suits can be found. My friends who escaped the camera at the time are pleased to point out how unfashionable that look is today, using one of my pictures as an example. The worst looks were the ones with the leisure suits featuring a polyester, flower-patterned shirts with big collars. Thanks to the internet and some Boys Club photo albums, I may never live that down.
It would have been easy to be an Urban Cowboy next. Who does not love a classic American western look? Following his success in making us all want to look like something out of Saturday Night Fever (which I saw more than once), John Travolta soon convinced us we should change to jeans and ride a mechanical bull. Yes, the fashion bull kept galloping through our lives and many of us got trampled by it.
It probably would have been better to stick to standard looks that stay in fashion generation to generation. Frank Sinatra always looked cool. He has style throughout the ages, even if it was all pretty much the same. A sharp suit and a fedora hat would have been good, but not as good as a tux with a carnation or other fresh flower and a hat tilted to the perfect angle.
If you do not understand, here’s your primer: