You may have heard: a little music festival by the name of South by Southwest is happening in Austin, Texas, this week.
Over the past couple of decades, the annual gathering has brought together a motley crew of stylish musicians—spanning the eras of grunge to rap to whatever it is we’re calling that thing where a skinny guy playing a tambourine wears a trilby and suspenders with a white T-shirt—so we thought we’d take a look back at the festival’s illustrious history of onstage fashion.
Before all the bright lights and legitimate businessmen showed up, the gambling scene was dominated by a handful of flamboyant and mostly unsavory characters. The face of that scene: a cantankerous Texan by the name of Thomas “Amarillo Slim” Preston, who lost his battle with cancer just last week. He was a pool shark, a rounder, a proposition bettor, a bookie and a four-time WSOP champ.
The man would wager on anything and stack the odds in his favor whenever possible—he once talked a Wimbledon champ into a one-on-one tennis match, then insisted they use skillets instead of racquets (and won). He played poker with the likes of LBJ, Nixon and Pablo Escobar. He wore a ten-gallon Stetson with everything. He was a recurring Johnny Carson guest. And along the way, he took gambling from its smoky backroom roots to the mainstream. (It’s no coincidence that the most televised and popular form of poker today is his beloved Texas Hold’em.)
It’s not easy to get a beard named after your blues rock band.
First of all, you’re going to need a beard so outlandish that no similarly bearded person has ever become famous—except for a few Talmudic scholars. Then you’re going to need a hit album, a memorable car and, if possible, some kind of distinctive hand gesture.
It’s not the most useful stuff (unless you’re putting a home garage together), but it calls up the era of boat-sized sedans and cheap gas better than just about anything. And if you really want to see it in action, you can always retrofit it to electric.
As style gambits go, the Texas-style belt buckle is a pretty risky one. But men’s accessories are pretty hard to come by, so it would be nice if some brave soul made it work…
The folks at Strapped Belts have an idea, although it involves finding a place for ceramics in your ensemble. But we’re always up for a challenge. If done right, it could give the usual suit a low-riding centerpiece—not unlike a good tie.
It’s a good idea, but it would be a lot better if they could stick to solid colors and less crafty designs. Is there still time to turn out a flat mimosa version?