When he was 13 years old, John Fairfax ran away from home to live in the jungle, emerging periodically in town to exchange ocelot skins for knives—which he used to skin more ocelots, and so on. After having been dumped by a college girlfriend in Argentina at the age of 20, he attempted suicide—by letting a 400-pound jaguar attack him. A decade later, he drew upon navigational skills picked up as captain of a Panamanian pirate ship, braved numerous typhoons and shark attacks, and crossed the Atlantic Ocean in a rowboat stocked only with Spam, oatmeal and brandy. Then, after a brief stint as a mink farmer, he traversed the Pacific Ocean in identical fashion, only this time he brought along a female companion.
Yes, Mr. Fairfax’s eulogy in Saturday’s New York Times reads a whole lot like a Dos Equis commercial.
It’s always dangerous when you start taking style cues from Silicon Valley, but we never guessed it would get this bad. Friday’s New York Times contained an improbably timed ode to what they’re claiming is the new talisman of business success: the happy sock.
Never mind that the CEOs they’re trotting out are at least three years behind the curve here, or that the piece is drenched in PR-ready lingo, calling colorful socks “like a secret handshake for those who have arrived, and for those who want to.” (Again, that’s colorful socks they’re describing, not a Mercedes or a Breitling.)
But the real problem is the strange assumption that you’ll be taking style cues from tech CEOs, simply because they’re tech CEOs.
The Times’ latest exhausting entry into body-watching has been bouncing in and out of our tipline all weekend. The gist is this: the emaciated look is out, and the gents you see on the runway and in GQ are getting gradually beefier.
It’s the kind of advice that’s really only useful to industry folks, but since the Times Style Section is hardly a trade pub, we’d like to tackle this one head-on. If you were considering applying this wisdom to your own life, now might be a good time to back away from the newspaper.
Sometimes it’s helpful to think of trends as a hierarchy. At the top, there’s the far-reaching sea changes that fashion empires are built on. That includes preppy, raw denim, and maybe even Americana if we play our cards right.
Below that, there’s the stuff that lasts a few years and ages gracefully (military, nautical), the stuff that lives on runways and only occasionally sneaks into the more adventurous closets (Navajo prints, drop-crotch trousers), and the stuff that nobody will ever wear outside of a showroom.
And unless it gets a whole lot rainier in the next few weeks, we’re tempted to put the scuba trend towards the latter end of the spectrum.
One of our favorite style icons is making a surprisingly low key comeback. Frank Serpico popped up in the Times over the weekend and reminded us just how much we like him. His look here seems to be the same shaggy chic he was sporting when he was on the force—the reporter describes him as looking “like some sort of fur trapper”—but it’s not just for show. Dressing like a head and sporting a beard circa 1962 were part of what made him able to break from the squares and do the right thing. In other words, the clothes mattered. If you haven’t seen the movie, do…but first take a minute to admire the man’s panache.
If you’re suffering over your bag choices as much as Guy Trebay is, we may be able to offer some assistance. Don’t worry, it involves waxed cotton.
Previous Killspencer creations focused on rescuing great fabrics from the trash pile—specifically disused military tarpaulins, conditioned to withstand just about anything—but this time around, for the Classic Collection, it’s a little more basic: a black filter twill recipe dug up from military outfitters circa 1837, treated with water repellant wax and stitched into everything from a weekender satchel to a briefcase.
The collection hit the online store launched this morning for your browsing pleasure, and while you won’t find any day-to-day totes, but we’re guessing this utility bag would make a pretty good substitute.
The Times Style section has been pretty light on fluffy trend pieces of late, but it looks like they were saving them up for when the honchos went on vacation. The latest hot look: the pot belly. Does this mean James Gandolfini’s due for a comeback?
There’s a teeming collage of pleasantly tubby Brooklynites for the unimpressed, but the bellies are all more likely to be the result of lapsed gym memberships than a new avant-garde style statement. And naturally, no style piece would be complete without a reference to the president, via the speculation that Obama’s flat stomach has inspired the hipster’s contrarian streak. (Doesn’t Barack have enough on his plate without having to answer for Williamsburg’s paunch?)
The overall gist seems to be that hipsters have been letting themselves go. It’s good to know, but alongside a fat-baiting JC Penney tirade, perhaps a little inconsistent. Maybe bellies are fine as long as they’re in Brooklyn?
Regardless of what you think about Sean Avery, you have to agree he’s entertaining. If only there weren’t so much hockey involved…
Well, Mr. Avery’s long-gestating biopic is finally getting a bit of worth press. This New York Times article even goes so far as to grace it with a title: Puckface. It’s not the most flattering name we could think of, but he did always seem a bit puckish.
It’s no secret that the blogosphere runs mostly on caffeine—much like the banks, the government, and the bulk of the western world. In fact, we’re inclined to chalk most of the achievements of human civilization up to the arabica bean. How else would we get anything done?
But like most fun things, we assumed it was bad for us.
Times style writer and noted pants proponent David Colman has a fairly fine-tuned trend detector—so fine tuned that a strong breeze will sometimes set it off. But his latest target has us a bit confused. By Colman’s lights, the hot new trend for ’09 is…butt-hugging pants.
Of course, this is the Times, so they end up using terms like “backside display,” but the slideshow of a fully restrained model makes it pretty clear what the trend in question is. A personal trainer even stops by to testify to the increased popularity of squat lifts. The real question is…can they be serious?
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