December 18, 2009

Are young men getting all dressed up these days...

... in an effort to avoid looking like a Baby Boomer guy, who is looking more slovenly by the year in his baggy jeans and sweaters? In an effort to look like the actors on the TV show "Mad Men"?

These are questions I cannot answer from here — from Madison, Wisconsin.

43 comments:

John Lynch said...

But are they eschewing shorts?

ricpic said...

If they eschew obfuscation they'll proudly wear shorts

Jeff with one 'f' said...

Wavy Gravy vs. Frank Sinatra- no contest!

Big Mike said...

If my company's any indication quite the reverse is true -- senior people show up to work in clean, pressed shirts and ties. (Pants, too.) The ones younger than 40 (plus the ones older than 40 who aren't serious candidates for further advancement) dress like they picked up their clothing at Good Will Industries.

Scott said...

The Swedish clothing store chain H&M has new stores sprouting all over the United States. Their formula? Sell style to teens-thru-20s. I don't shop there, but I never see them displaying jeans in their windows. They are doing very well in the NYC area.

MadisonMan said...

Alas, middle-aged spread -- currently being combatted, not accepted -- prevents me from wearing any of those clothes without looking a little too sausage-like. Even though this is Wisconsin, having clothes look like sausage casing is frowned upon. But it is a nice change from ghetto gear, if it holds up. Maybe my teen will pull up his pants.

Paddy O. said...

Nearing winter, NYC, asserted trend using fashion blogs as evidence of what's happening.


Is NYC fashion really all that influential anymore outside of the city? are the 2.3 million national Mad Men viewers setting a trend everyone is doing?

Reads more like an ad. Or another "I have some friends that are doing this and I have to write something" sort of column.

Elliott A said...

My 26 year old son is always dressed better than his dear old dad. I believe the younger generation is eschewing comfort for looking good. Why wear a nice shirt and sweater at home when a T-shirt and sweatshirt will do?

Dark Eden said...

"If my company's any indication quite the reverse is true -- senior people show up to work in clean, pressed shirts and ties. (Pants, too.) The ones younger than 40 (plus the ones older than 40 who aren't serious candidates for further advancement) dress like they picked up their clothing at Good Will Industries."

Dittos here. Maybe this is a New York thing or something, I dunno.

peter hoh said...

The teen-aged boy, for reasons unknown to me, went off to school today wearing a white dress shirt and a nice red tie.

Sofa King said...

I thought it was a well-established phenomenon that clothing gets more conservative during economically difficult times. In this case "more conservative" may simply mean "less casual."

Dark Eden said...

I will readily admit one thing: The Rat Pack is cooler than anyone who has come after them by a long distance.

I can understand wanting to emulate that over some dirty hippies or whatever the hell the saggypants pseudo gangsta thing is called.

Ron said...

The Problem is that more of us look like Gleason, not Sinatra.

Joe said...

Young men are getting all dressed up on what planet?

Taking my oldest son to school until a year ago, I was struck at how much the teenagers of today dress almost exactly like the teenagers of the late 70s, at least where I grew up (we eschewed disco and favored jeans and T-Shirts.) The difference is mostly the hair (except my son and two friends who wore their hair rock star long.)

William said...

Where I live there are many who spend more on dry cleaning than I do on clothes. I pass no moral judgement on these idle fops. I only wish that they would consider the damage that they are doing to the environment with their sick fetish for ironed shirts. If St Francis were alive today, he would, like me, wear jeans and a sweatshirt. They are the vestments of sanctity, not of sloppiness.

vbspurs said...

Oh! Now this is interesting. I don't believe the question posed is the case, that kids today are reacting to the scruffiness of their elders' ways -- that is just the Boomers having to inject themselves into every aspect of culture before them or after them, because they are obsessed with themselves and their cultural relevance.

But this bit is directly related to me: In an effort to look like the actors on the TV show "Mad Men"? , because I actually BOUGHT on eBay a vintage 1950s croc black handbag, similar to the one used by Betty Draper (the Grace Kelly-look-a-like January Jones) in an episode's bar scene!!

I have to say, it's a little embarrassing for me to admit that publically, i.e., that I am suggestible and influenced by advertising (ironic, given the show's premise of advertising execs), but I adored the un-PC visual of the elegantly slung croc bag and wanted to copy it myself.

Just for your craps and giggles, here's the eBay auction listing with a thumbnail photo of croc handbag to show you I'm not kidding. :)

Cheers,
Victoria

edutcher said...

They aren't in NE OH, but this is the poorest metropolitan area in the country.

I know suits (business professional) are coming back in place of "business casual" and I can understand the appeal. Required to wear a coat and tie every day in Middle and Senior School (early to mid 60s), I loved looking sharp - or at least my conception of it.

class-factotum said...

Victoria, it is my lament that I have a fake crocodile purse. I want the real one. With the feet: http://class-factotum.blogspot.com/2009/11/marriage-201-lecture-450-in-japan-we.html

smclean150 said...

Its just the young 'glomming-on' to a pop culture 'trend'. What's old is new, happens all the time. Makes great golf garb.

Montagne Montaigne said...

Fascinating that the article doesn't talk about the influence of hip hop artists on this trend... as they got older they started dressing snazzier. See Jay-Z.

Brand consciousness has evolved beyond faddishness; there's a pursuit of true luxury, which equals craftsmanship. Whether it's Italian luxury brands or reconfigured American classics.

As rappers go, so go the young men of America.

Montagne Montaigne said...

Here's Andre 3000 from Outkast's clothing line.

vbspurs said...

Class-Factotum wrote:

Victoria, it is my lament that I have a fake crocodile purse. I want the real one.

I searched forever for a REAL croc purse on eBay. I'm not sure why I was astonished at the price, given that they were decades-old vintage pieces and a rare hide to boot, but I was. Mine was not so dear, but still bit a croc-like chunk out of my wallet. I WOULD LOVE to have had one with the paws (or whatever). Should you ever get one, C-F, I want a pic! :)

(Mine was identical to the bar scene one in S2E13)

Cheers,
Victoria

bagoh20 said...

I cherish all the hours I have saved over the years by not giving a shit about fashion. All the extra hours researching, shopping, trying on, and working to pay for the latest return trip around the fashion ferris wheel. Most importantly, not wasting the mental and emotional energy of thinking about it. It's self-imposed drudgery. Even if I enjoyed it, I would smack myself in the head and say: "Get a clue, dude."

Now, I need to develop the same attitude about politics.

aeroeaglem5 said...

As a younger person (I'm 22) I'd have to say there is a trend to dress better among a certain segment of society. Having said that, this trend is wholly unrelated to the show "Mad Men". I would credit it to the indie/hipster movement that has been growing in our nation and its related indie musicians/ indie movies. Take for example a director like Wes Anderson, who's characters often dress in the manner described. It is in part a reaction to the way other people are dressing, but its ridiculous to say its because of a show that, to be completely honest, I have never heard a single person say they watched. I'm not saying it doesnt have a big audience, just not so much in the segment of society being discussed. Most of those people spend time at coffeeshops/shows/smoking weed. And don't think im criticizing either, Im one of them.

Louis said...

Mad Men is kinda of High Art, but for the hoi polloi there is How I Met Your Mother, with Nell Patrick Harris, the gay actor playing the oversexed heterosexual, celebrating The Suit. Watch for a musical number in January on the joys of The Suit.

Shanna said...

Louis, that's exactly what I thought of.

Suit up! And Ted's rocking the tweed professor look now, too.

class-factotum said...

Victoria, I also want a Kelly bag, a desire I developed after I read "Le Divorce."

Then I saw Le Price.

Someday. After the mortgage, retirement, etc.

I have not seen Mad Men yet. I am #43 on the waiting list at the library. I will watch for The Purse.

Should I ever get a real crocodile purse, I will definitely let you know.

vbspurs said...

Aeroeaglem5 wrote:

I would credit it to the indie/hipster movement that has been growing in our nation and its related indie musicians/ indie movies.

The thing is, before the indie/hipster movement of today, there were (for example) the Teddy Boys of the 1950s, as well as the enormous Oxford bags-wearing dandies of the 1920s, etc. etc. etc.

Dandyism in men especially is tied to youth. It is when men are at their most virile and available. It stands to reason that they want to look their best to attract the target of their interests.

I don't think Puff Daddy or Jay-Z are the reasons for our era's metrosexuality. I just think that at last, working class boys feel comfortable pampering themselves, and not feel like fruits because of it. Aristocrats and rich men have done it for millenia.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

Victoria, I also want a Kelly bag, a desire I developed after I read "Le Divorce."

The Hermès Kelly bag is my Holy Grail, Class-Factotum. As you say, one day. :)

Montagne Montaigne said...

People who think nice clothes are gay must also feel that carpentry, mechanics, and basically all areas of human endeavor that value precision and craftsmanship are gay.

Being a sloppy, careless ass is the only way to be a man? I believe it's the opposite... that's Don Draper's appeal!

Titus said...

Let me take this one fellow republicans.

I live and work in Cambridge, Mass which is incredibly fabulous. I live a couple of blocks from Harvard Square and one block from the Harvard Law School. Lots of grad students.

I work in biotech, which is part of the "creative class". High wages and high levels of fabness.

It's all about 60's retro now, but not the 60's hippies, the 60's corporate class.

Must have stores to go to: Marc Jacobs, natch; Brooks Brothers-yes somewhat of a suprise to me as well; Filenes Basement for Penguin, Ben Sherman, Izod, FCUK-for tight cute vintage sweaters; H&M for retro cheap shit that will get you through the season; BCBG for all kinds of cheap "Uniform-think carmakers" pants that are flat front, tight, but where your butt is just flat-don't show off the ass you can bounce quarters off of.

Also, when home for the holidays raid your dads closet. There are bounce to be goodies in there. I found some great tight jersey shirts that were blue with white pipings on the arms and neck that made my guns looks beautiful.

Take a risk. This should all be age appropriate as well.

Aren't we all glad that those oversized ridiculous jeans that the young people were wearing are gone?

How are you? I care>

ken in sc said...

I recently bought a perfectly fitting 46 long British tweed all wool sport jacket from Good Will for $7.50. You don't have to tell where you got it if it looks good.

Penny said...

"Where I live there are many who spend more on dry cleaning than I do on clothes."

Back in the day, I used to get Christmas cards from my dry cleaner! I still get a giggle about that.

Personally, I think Victoria is, once again, right on the money when she said this:

"Dandyism in men especially is tied to youth. It is when men are at their most virile and available. It stands to reason that they want to look their best to attract the target of their interests."

c3 said...

Here's a partial solution: Hand me up's

Of course you must be same size as your son(s) and be careful about not dressing "too" much like a twenty-something.

So work out and keep perspective.

vbspurs said...

46 long British tweed all wool sport jacket from Good Will for $7.50.

Humma, humma, Ken! You're what used to be called approvingly (and still is by me) a big man. :)

Chip Ahoy said...

Ew, I really like those Autsin Jeffers tartan belts featured on the thetrad.blogspot linked on the article, purchased from Leather Man Ltd. I'm getting one.

jelink said...

"If St Francis were alive today, he would, like me, wear jeans and a sweatshirt. They are the vestments of sanctity, not of sloppiness."

SNORK!!!

Can anyone imagine a MAN from the 60's making such a pussified comment? Could any woman today do anything but sneer at such a preening and pretentious weenie?

Alex said...

The article fails to take on the most important issue. Namely that baby boomers are too fat to pull off the stylish clothes. yeah I said it FAT.

Eric said...

Where I live there are many who spend more on dry cleaning than I do on clothes. I pass no moral judgement on these idle fops.

Hah! That made me laugh. My coworkers are looking at me quizically.

kentuckyliz said...

I dress for comfort, colorful soft suits, usually knit. Cotton cardis. With the nucular blast hot flashes I wear tank tops underneath. Must expose the decollete to vent the heat.

Used to do formal business wear when I was younger and could still tolerate panty hose and heels...but realized that with my stature, it made me intimidating. Not good for a counselor.

Hence, softness, color, comfort, unthreatening auntielike matronliness.

And Birkenstocks. LOL

kentuckyliz said...

Not interested in advancement. For same or slightly more pay, they work a lot of nights and weekends and stress out about organizational politics too much. Seems not worth it. I am happy and effective right where I am.

vbspurs said...

Heads up in case anyone is awake and reading this blog: Oprah (!) is doing an hour-long special on Mad Men, as I type. 2 AM Friday night.

mavzoley said...

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