Welcome back, Warriors. I hope that your break was as fruitful and productive as mine, by which I mean that you accomplished even less than I did and earned yourself a little extra time at the Rec. In all seriousness, I do hope I find you all well.
However, I must dispense with the pleasantries, and get right down to it. I am upset, Marquette. I am upset and hurt that despite a whole semester of my (rather opinionated) advice, I walked into my classes two Mondays ago, and was besieged by all of the things I campaigned against. Sweat pants with boots, rampant bacon-neck, and ill-fitting garments of all kinds. But, what struck me the most, were my fellow males. But, wait, maybe I should offer some clarification.
I’ll take a second to breathe, and explain the background to my ire.
I spent my CHRISTMAS ( I’m a proud Catholic) break split between COD, sleep, the gym, dressed-up dinners, and nights on the town. But one of my most memorable nights, was at dinner on Christmas Eve. I was invited by a good friend of mine to spend the holiday with her family, as mine was out of the country. It was just some cocktails and snacks at 8:30, so I wore some khakis, a white Brooks oxford, and a festive (yet modest) sweater. I arrived at her comfortable suburban home and was greeted at the door by her Father, who was also in a button-up, sweater, and slacks. We exchanged greetings and small talk as he took my coat and then walked me into the kitchen, where everyone had gathered. All of the Men were in a similar uniform to ours, sweater-vests, BB ties, blazers, and button-ups. I instantly felt at home among these well dressed Gentlemen, all of them I would find out were successful or on their way to it, my kind of people.
Now, I know. Maybe, you say, its just because it was a holiday. Maybe it was just to appease their Mothers and Wives. Maybe they hated the collars and cuffs. But, I disagree. These Gentlemen looked like they couldn’t have possibly been more comfortable in anything else.
After a few minutes of introductions, I found myself speaking to an uncle. We were discussing how I had been pleasantly surprised to not be over-dressed, which I explained was almost always the case on Campus. He nodded knowingly and complimented me on my tie, “few kids your age even own ties anymore, it seems.”
Suddenly, I was struck.
Warriors, he’s right. What happened to us, as Men? Raise your hand if: You can tie a tie. A bow-tie? Do you know what size sport coat you wear? Did you use an iron in the past week? Do you take pride in a good pair of shoes? Or, pants that fit just right? I know some of you do, and the rest…
I get it. We’re busy. Times have changed. The era in which every Man wore a fedora and knew a tailor by name… They’re gone. Replaced by Jordan fitteds and Affliction tee shirts. Hell, there’s a chance we’ve probably romanticized the whole history of fashion. But, I have another question to ask you. Do you own a pair of Wayfarer’s? The big sunglasses with the silver accent on each upper corner? You do? You know who else did? Michael Jackson, Audrey Hepburn, Bob Dylan, Buddy Holly, and John F. Kennedy.
Here’s my point. Classics, will always be classics. I wish I could convince you all to join me in class rocking oxfords, khakis, and casually knotted ties. We could go out on the weekends in slim dark trousers and a solid blazer. Forgoing the jager-bombs for three fingers of scotch. But that won’t happen. So, instead, I ask you all: as Gentlemen, my Brothers, let’s step it up.
Every generation leaves a handful of items for their sons and grandsons to bring back. Every generation has that one thing that will always be cool, that will always get our girls to smile when we wear it. Let’s make it a resolution for this year, to stem the tide of terrible clothing. Its not too late! We’ve just barely started the Tens’ (or whatever it is we’re calling this decade). We can make a promise to ourselves, right now, to show future generations that we took ourselves seriously. That although we liked to wear t-shirts and sneakers instead of polos and loafers, we had pride. Because that’s what its about. We look at pictures of the Roaring 20’s, and laugh at their high cut trousers and newsboy caps. But people still wear skinny ties! In 80 years, what will they think of us? Maybe they’ll understand that times were different, they’ll see pictures and nod knowingly, “Yeah, our great-grandparents really liked to be comfortable.”
Then, they’ll zip up their futuristic metallic jumpsuit, throw on some Wayfarer’s, and head out the door.