Saturday, May 12, 2012

Men's Style: The Long and Short of It

When did we become of nation of men in shorts?
I really don't know but I assume it happened sometime between 1985 and 1995.
Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against men in shorts
in the appropriate places
such as
at the beach, on a sailboat, on a hiking trail, on a soccer field, in the garden, etc.
When did shorts and a t-shirt become the de rigueur kit for travel?

PJ O'Rourke has more amusing things to say about this in Forbes.
Why Adults Should Ditch The Shorts, Wear Suits

When I board an airplane these days, all the middle-aged men are dressed like me—when I was an 8-year-old. They’re in shorts and T-shirts. And it’s not just on airplanes. It’s in business offices, teachers’ lounges, and churches. The priest is still wearing a cassock, but who knows what he’s got on underneath?

The kid-who-stayed-40-years-too-long-on-the-playground look doesn’t inspire trust. If dressing up as a third grader is your idea of how to treat yourself, what’s your idea of how to treat me?
And what’s the rest of the world’s idea of how to treat you? When I was growing up, I was told, “The way you dress is the way you’re regarded.”

With the overgrown-brat image, we also shed our adult authority. The only advantage to being a middle-aged man is that when you put on a jacket and tie you’re the Scary Dad. Never mind that no one has had an actually scary dad since 1966. The visceral fear remains. When I set my jaw and stare over the top of my tortoiseshell half-glasses, everyone under 50—from waiter to law-firm partner—thinks, “Grounded for life.” This doesn’t work when you’re wearing shorts and a T-shirt.

I don't often agree with Peggy Noonan but she nailed it with this quote:
“Special thanks to the person who invented casual Friday. Now it’s casual everyday in America.
But when you lower standards people don’t decide to give you more, they give you less.”

Full disclosure:   I am wearing cargo shorts, a polo button down shirt and birkenstocks today, but it is Saturday and the office is closed.

This wouldn't be my weekday uniform or what I would wear to travel.

Do you think that casual dress has encouraged over casual attitudes and service?
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1 comment:

Paul Gervais de Bédée said...

All of this needed to be said; you've got courage, though, because the strength of their numbers is enormous. I just flew back to Europe from Florida and want you to know that here, at least for now, men still dress like grown ups. I'm happy to be home.

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