27 June 2011

Looking Closer

What amazed me when I first saw red stripes with a navy and yellow polka dot tie (M Magazine- 6/87) was clarity. Looking closer, I see primary colors from 7th grade art class. I can do more: Reverse the tie and shirt color. Use navy /yellow rep instead of polk dots. Red gingham shirt instead of stripes. The choices are endless.

That's looking closer. Using your own creativity in the most basic of functions -- getting dressed. And it should only matter to you because only you will know. That's really what life is. And then it won't matter how much money you make or what parties you go to. Something far better is going on since you're making the rules.

It's funny. People I know who work hard at being fashionable usually hail from very un-hip pasts while people who distance themselves from hip are some the hippest people I know. I wonder why that is?


Anonymous said...

For some reason, everytime I see a bow tie, all I can think of is Jon Stewart and Tucker Carlson on Crossfire.

Carlson: Jon, Jon, Jon, I'm sorry. I think you're a good comedian. I think your lectures are boring.

Stewart: Yes.

Carlson: Let me ask you a question on the news.

Stewart: How old are you?

Carlson: Thirty-Five.

Stewart: And you wear a bow tie.

tintin said...

I lean towards Stewart's politics but he dresses like a suit salesman from Jos Bank in Highland Park, IL.

I lean towards Carlson's attire but his politics are far more infantile than any bow tie. That he was unable to come back with anything and quit wearing bow ties after this confrontation says all you need to know about Carslon.

Anonymous said...

@ TinTin

He dresses like a politician...It does sound like you have a particular suit salesman in mind.

I couldn't agree with that statement more. I can't stand hearing him, let alone looking at him.

Recently I was returning crystal that somebody gave us to Macy's and a 16 year old comes up to the counter with two bow ties. The saleswoman was giving him a hard time saying he knew nothing about bow ties and so on. He tied it in front of her, she was impressed, and they began to engage in a very long conversation about style. It was as if they tying of the bow tie bridged some sort of generational gap.

Unclelooney said...

i think of Howard Sprague

Anonymous said...

I like the combo you posted but your comments about hip have we, the Commissars of the SLA, The SELVEDGE LIBERATION ARMY. wondering if perhaps a trip to our Reeducation camp in Williamsburg wouldn't do you some good.

Art should glorify THE PARTY.

Commander Manpurse

GSV JR said...

I wear bow ties. Almost exclusively. But mainly because I'll end up with food or booze on my tie if it's not up around my jowls. It's practical.

Best thing about Carlson was his name. Shit sounds straight outta Ring Lardner or something.

And this is an excellent bit of advice, JT. (It can be transliterated to everything, too.) If I wasn't futzin around in cutoff BDUs and undershirts all the time, I'd take it and run.

Dallas said...

gsv-clicked through your blog and saw your gram pictures. well done - underrated and lets keep him that way.

bow ties and politics - no one is going to have fresh opinions on either.

Oyster Guy said...

As for the question of the genuinely hip vs. the hipsters, it all comes down to character. Character is sturdy stuff. It's open minded but doesn't sway easily. Character is born of experience, savvy, considered, and cultivates wisdom and perspective. Character is generous, welcoming and inner directed.
Hipsters don't really know what they think, haven't earned or experienced much, and are easily swayed by anything that they think will sway others. They delight in the surface of things, the appearance of things, without an appreciation or understanding of what it took to get there. Oh sure, they love the pedigree and minutia of things but really only because it reassures them of its "rightness."
Ironically, hipsters are the most deeply conformist sorts of people. Usually fearful and often intolerant.
I am in the middle of having some shirts made. I was struck by the idea that, considering their frequency of wear, they will last the rest of my life. I love the T+A you are showing. The yellow dots are so the way to go here, white dots would be just too perfect and thus entirely wrong.

Rather than a new preppie handbook I would have preferred to see a self help manual on how trads cope when trad becomes fashionable in the midst of a media culture gone hipster. You've certainly got the bones of it here, Tintin.

Fatfriend said...

Yes, I too am confused, Tradesman; perhaps it is time for a hip operation.

Anonymous said...

The bow tie and shirt brings back fond memories of my grandfather, a haberdasher. I was in high school buying a suit, with his "assistance". Once the suit was chosen we hit the shirts and ties. His first pick was a blue striped shirt (like the red one above) with a red polka dot tie - like your reverse the color look.
He talked for a half an hour about mixing stripes and patterns, colors and texture.
I probably only retained 25%. Why is such wisdom lost on youth. I wish I could relive that experience now.

Anonymous said...

Can you post the labels for the the numbers from the picture? Thanks & great post.

Anonymous said...

@ Oyster Guy

For someone who sounds incredibly smart, your overall comment comes off quite ignorant. I think about this "hipster" situation and reminds me of how my love for vinyl began. 3 years ago I bought my first vinyl without even having a turntable. Why? Because everyone else was doing it. However, it created a deeper interest in music for me. What started out as simply partaking in the current fad, turned into a way for me to broaden my musical knowledge. I began exposing myself to different genres of music and found myself falling in love with different sounds from different eras. Collecting vinyl became a huge hobby, and something I am always more than willing to educate others on.

I think we all spend a large amount of time searching for our "voice" in life and it's things like this blog that help us to find it. Why would you criticize those trying to find their voice? Why would you criticize those that brought your fashion taste back into the spotlight, and belittle your current fan base? Shouldn't you be glad that more people actually care about the things you like. Yes, some may move on when the next best thing comes along, but that doesn't mean they all will, and you definitely won't. How many people will stumble upon Trad as a "hipster" and desire to learn more as I did with vinyl? You have obviously spent a large portion of your life following and doing all things Trad, but how do you expect the passion that you have for something to carry on if you do not welcome others in to learn. If "Kids these days" don't know any better, don't you think you should help them understand?

If I stumbled across this blog with a genuine interest in what Trad was all about, I probably would be on to the next best thing. Why would I embrace the history of trad if this is how you treat its potential future? In my opinion, everyone is a "hipster" until they find something they like and stick with it. You are no better because you already found a fad you liked and stuck with it, you're just older. When the hipsters move on to the next best thing, your time in the spotlight will be gone. I would welcome in anyone with an interest in the things I partake in, regardless of the reason. There are plenty of people out there with a genuine appreciation for the things you discuss on a daily basis, all of which started because it was a "fad".

GSV JR said...

Lotsa "scare quotes" in the box.

Anonymous said...

It takes a lifetime to master effortlessness- in anything.

Oyster Guy said...

2button, I agree with you.

I have been criticized for "hipster bashing" in the past and I think the distinction I would make is that I am sure we can agree that we both can recognize those who journey through life with a measure of sincerity and genuineness and those who are merely status conscious and vulpine, who are stridently aware of the effect they wish to have on others while oblivious to the effect others have on them. Is a passing fad an authentic whim or an action performed only because it is popular with others. If you are true to yourself you could wear all graphic tees and hoodies you like and still be trad. If you wear anything as a costume than you are acting in pursuit of hipster. When you bought that vinyl record, I bet you thought it was an authentically attractive object even if you couldn't play it. That counts in my book.
My trad dad had a rebellious side. He actually wore a zoot suit back in the 40's. The cut of the cloth was total hipster but his nostalgia for it and the time and place was very much in trad character. Are the ladies of Jersey Shore going miss all the good times they spent peeing in the club parking lot? I doubt it. Perhaps the zoot suit was the first GTH ????

Tailors and manufactures have to take their revenue where they can find it and I am sure they appreciate it but it is not the most stable model in business or life. I know an affable military tailor in Toronto older than Gieves and Hawkes. I also know a shop on Ossington Avenue that looks trad but is totally hipster with tight cuts and attitudes to match. I know which is going to last longer.

I am sorry to Tintin for being so long winded but I hope you can appreciate that I know I fail my own trad standards. A true trad wouldn't even notice hipsters let alone argue about them.

andrea said...

Isn't classifying folks as hip or unhip a dubious pastime (she said rhetorically)?

Brummagem Joe said...

This seems to me to be male dressing 101 but the fact is most men either have no interest in assembling patterns and looks, or are simply frightened of the whole process and seek refuge in the female approach of toning colors. Or the female takes over and chooses for them. There's also the fact that in much of corporate America any sort of adventurous dressing beyond the Jon Stewart formula of greyness or casual Friday beachwear is considered rather suspect. So the competence doesn't exist and the culture is against it, but we soldier on.

Anonymous said...

@ Oyster Guy

Glad we can agree, and I do understand where you are coming from. Like I said, until we all find something that we are genuinely passionate about, we are all just "hipsters" jumping from the next best thing to the next best thing. I think it's safe to say there was a time for all of us when we just wanted to fit in, or partake in the most recent fad because everyone else was doing it.

Easy and Elegant Life said...

Words to live by Tintin. Start slow and open your eyes. That's all it takes.

BrumJoe....Suspect? Never convicted.