So when confronted with something new and, to my perspective, horrific, I try to pause and wonder if the new thing being considered is indeed unacceptable, or merely new. Maybe it is just ridiculous to me, but others think it is swell.
Particularly with fashion. The way fashion works is that designers toss all manner of novel weirdness out at the public, and sees what sticks. It is a mistake to take something seriously that isn't intended to be taken seriously at all.
So it might have been a lapse in me, a man in his later 50s, an old standard that stopped me dead in my tracks, gaping in horror at this ensemble of men's clothing spied in the window of the Paul Stuart shop on LaSalle Street in downtown Chicago recent.
It looked ... so ... clownish. I thought immediately of Ed Wynn, a largely forgotten comic, half a century dead. The high narrow waist, the thick blue fabric, the red pants, the big white buttons, whatever is going on with the collar and perhaps a tie, I can't quite tell.
Would someone see that, think, "Cool!" and run in and buy it? Someone must. They sell the thing. Paul Stuart is, I believe, a mainstream clothier, not some hip trendy place catering to the fringes.
I used to loan my neckties grudgingly to my boys, for interviews and such, with stern admonitions. "This is my favorite tie; try to bring it back." Now I don't bother: they can take what they want, return it, not return it. It isn't as if I'm wearing neckties anymore.
So given that suits themselves are becoming an oddity, who would wear this particularly odd rig? A young man, I imagine, with more money than taste, to pass judgment, someone hoping to look ... not clownish, certainly, but well-tailored. I was hurrying to a train, or I would have stopped in and seen what the outfit cost. A grand, I imagine, or more. High fashion is not only quixotic but pricy. That's the point. To tell people you laid out for this look.
Perhaps it is something that a young man in his 20s might pull off, at the opera or among circles I just don't travel in. And if you have it hanging in your closet, forgive me, the fault is mine, no doubt. And in truth I don't feel burdened and out-of-sorts so much as liberated. I would hate to be burdened with a perspective that would put me in such a get-up. Or am I missing something? Maybe someone can explain it to me. I just don't understand. I once went to work in a kilt and jacket, so am not completely averse to standing out. But this? To me, I would die a thousand deaths if I had to wear it to the most formal occasion. But others must feel differently.