Wednesday, October 27, 2010
When presented with the "does life influence art or vice-versa" argument, I always say yes, life does influence art. In fact, our environment has a profound effect on how we act and how we view the world. For example, NWA probably wouldn't have written "Fuck the Police" had they not witnessed or been a victim of police brutality. It's tough to believe that anyone would make that up. What we wear falls into the same category as art, and I'll explain below.
These are rough and often crazy times in which we live; the economy is still fragile, barely improving and will likely never return to the relative full-blown opulence we had in the eighties, nineties, and most of the 00's. Home ownership is still incredibly sluggish. We're scared of terrorists to the point of Islamophobia. We're pissed off at the banks and the bailout they received. President Obama, despite being an intelligent lawyer who certainly knows better, is more than willing to pervert our justice system by trying Guantanamo detainees in U.S. courts and KEEP THEM IMPRISONED IF THEY'RE FOUND INNOCENT. And healthcare? Christ. We're either disappointed that the public option died or, conversely, furious that so much money is being spent on new regulations. To top it off, some people still think that Sarah Palin is worth listening to, and Newt Gingrich's renaissance is underway.
Pardon the language, but shit is fucked up right now.
So how do we deal with this? Sartorially speaking (with a hint of Freud thrown in there), we've regressed. What are men wearing nowadays? Open up a GQ or an Esquire magazine and you'll see it plain as day: stuff our dads and their dads wore. Cardigans. Persol glasses. Tie bars and cufflinks. Slim, mod suits like we saw in the sixties. Hell, look at the picture of Mr. Rogers at the top of this essay; the man might as well be a Fall/Winter 2010 Polo Ralph Lauren ad (seriously, I'm going to steal this look, tie pin and all). I don't ever advise total bandwagoning, but if the people on said bandwagon are nattily dressed in classic clothes, jumping on it means that you never really have to get off of it.
We're reaching back for a time when things seemed safer and more secure, a time when flying didn't mean anxiety about being blown up or when we could be sure that our retirement funds would actually be there when we retired. Thankfully, that time was also a very well-dressed one. Your 401(k) might not look so hot anymore, but with trends the way they are nowadays, at least you can.