With global warming rearing its (what I imagine) ginger head and record highs heating North America like an iPad warms up a Brooklynite’s vintage Kelty rucksack, it’s time to talk about summer style.
I, like most pale, scrawny style bloggers long on opinion and short on everything else, prefer the winter months, as the climate affords us to swaddle our unsightly, Mr. Burns-like bodies in fully canvased jackets, shawl collar sweaters, and knits from English subsidiaries. That said, even we have to eventually accept that the Earth, indeed, orbits the sun and seasons change.
So where do we go from here? Like most of America’s cultural problems, the answer probably lies in an understanding of history. Or, more specifically, a fetishized version of history.
Ah yes, was there anything the Sixties didn’t get right? Public smoking, dubious gender norms, un-ironic nerdy glasses — it was really the decade of decades. It was a time of earnestness, of social change. It was a time when even radicals dressed like a young Republican mixer. Just check out this photo from a1963 meeting of the Students for Democratic Society (photo below), whose Port Huron Statement turns 50 this year.
Just look at these guys. It’s a post-political menswear fetishist’s** wet dream. This picture could easily be on a dude’s Tumblr, with #ClassicStyle and #VintagePrep dutifully attached. So many OCBDs and khakis of appropriate length. So many great plastic rims and well-parted hair. The fact that most of this clothes is probably American-made makes me all warm and giddy inside. And even the very name of their manifesto, the “Port Huron Statement”, has just that right secret blend of New England flavor and self-reflective wryness to be the perfect title for the next Vampire Weekend album.
It’s no mistake that this preppy aesthetic makes sense for sweltering heat. Lots of cotton keeps you cool, and less flammable. Shorts with short inseams keeps you, and your thigh tatts, ventilated. Trim silhouettes flatter you body, even as you lose five quarts of liquids an hour through sweat. I mean, can you even bring to mind another hot weather style that is both as functional and pleasing? Sure, you could go Full Retard with the jorts and Windows 3.1 Philip Lim shirt, but then you wouldn’t be able to look yourself in the face without your reflection asking you existential questions like, “Who are we, anymore?” and “Is this what we wanted to be when we grew up?” Or you could go for the Southern Gothic with the seersucker suit and straw hat, but then you’d have to own a plantation, and those things don’t come cheap, even on eBay, not including upkeep on mint juleps, so your only other recourse would be to start a national chain of fried chicken restaurants. And then you’d be fat.
Just stick to the classic Take Ivy text — trim cotton trousers, oxfords, optional socks, lightweight crewneck sweaters, contradictory air of white guilt and privilege, etc.
Radical manifesto directed at an apathetic, apolitical middle class (preferably written on an iPad): optional.
**I’m talking about myself.