Dear Father T,
I'm feeling old and out of date. No one looks at me. What should I do?Model T
Summer Fashion Rx for the Geritol boys
Dear Model T,
Just for you, have I assembled this fashion-edition slideshow of croppings from the Winter Party.
I don't know how old you are, and I would never advise an older man to become ridiculous by pretending to be a kid, but there is a way to thread a path into looking effortlessly contemporary. It consists of knowing what excesses to avoid and what versions of currently hot styles make you more vibrant, energetic and au courant. Read this list of what is hot for the upcoming summer, and then read my concluding recommendation for you.
My observations are in terms of hats, jewelry, shorts, footwear, sunglasses, hair and body art. They are based on what I saw at the Winter Party and on what I see every day at the beach.
In general, the spectrum of 2009 summer style is very wide with almost no dominant costume, and some repetitions from last year seem to be acceptable. Let's start at the top.
The baseball cap lives on. Be sure you have a white one, as that seems to be the preferred statement. Also, straw is not out of the question, and may be shaped into a fedora, a curly cowboy hat or even tinted green and presented as one of those cute and jaunty small-brimmed alpine numbers that perch incongruously above the necks and shoulders of the most ridiculously droided of the crowd. You have choices here, but black or white seem best to offset the strong colors that prevail below the hat.
All the blondes seem to have gone into seclusion somewhere in a Tibetan monastery. Everyone seems to have black hair. That little fauxhawked central ridge is still to be seen on the very young, but generally, the cut is simple and a bit timid: very short on the lower sides, graduating to an inch longer on top. The buzz and its attendant jarhead provoke yawns.
Despite rumblings to the contrary, body hair will still being kept to a minimum.
Eyebrows are the big expressors of the season. You may shape them, but not unnaturally and whatever you do, remember that a thick brow that can convey emotion is preferable to the pencil-thin auburn arcs that your aunts applied just below their hairlines.
Here we seem to have some agreement. Large rounded rectangles framed in shiny black with dusky brown lenses prevail. Aviators with graduated tints darkest at the top are an acceptable option.
Kept to a minimum. A single seventeen-inch metal chain around the neck carrying one small metal medallion is of the moment. Jesus-on-the-cross-with rosary-beads seems to have faded as fast as it flared. Damn, I just cleaned all my old beads with ammonia.
Rubber bands and braided jute around wrist or ankle is over.
Piercings seem to be on their way out.
Body art does not seem to have evolved. Tribal tattoos seem over. If anything may be observed, it is that red is the new black when it comes to ink.
Almost anything goes. Think medium-loose, not long, and, do not fear your favorite bright solid colors.
Will the cargo short ever lose its supremacy? Not until we no longer carry phone, keys, and money, or, until we start carrying the dark leather clutches that were favored by Italian men in the late 1970s.
Here is where you style mavens might want to make your one significant purchase of the season. Get a pair of plaid cargo shorts. Big plaid that combines maybe a soft blue, a strong blue and yellow verticals and horizontals all on a white field. This plaid seems to invoke a boyishness and a sense of humor, and it will definitely prevail this summer. Avirex White Shadow shorts, a crossover from skateboarder gear, seem to be the best of the lot.
Camouflage patterns have not entirely disappeared, but are fewer. As to swimwear, a Speedo in any color, if you can carry it off, is still not to be argued with. Be sure you choose the ones that are at least three or four inches wide on the sides. Leave the bikini cuts to the ladies.
Just about anything except gelato-colored Crocs, or, (sadly) Sperry Topsiders.
To answer your question, Model T, if you are over 50 and able to approach fashion with fun rather than desperation, get yourself a white baseball cap, black sunglasses, loose t shirt, and quiet cargo shorts (big plaid might be age-inappropriate). No camoflauge or dog tags for you unless you're really a vet. Let the pendant on your neck chain be of personal significance that may spark a conversation with young hottie who does not yet have too many memories of his own. Keep your silver hair bright and shiny. It's an asset.
And remember, when you put on your new fun-gear, as they sang in Annie, you're never fully dressed without a smile. And, I might add, without a condom and lube in your cargo pocket.