May 20, 2011

Perils of the Fad

This post gives me the pleasure of re-introducing my artist friend, Julian Peters, whose website is now full of his magical skills. Honestly, who knew that poetry and comic books could make such stylish bedfellows. I hasten you there, where you may happily lose an hour or two.

We’re all subject to fads; even the best of us. Although the more elegant of our number will point to a certain permanence of style, we nevertheless watch as cuts go in and out, longer and shorter, and as tie widths narrow and widen from one year to the next. Take time-lapse photography of the face of an adult male over ten years and you will see his sideburns dance up and down, with seasonal facial hair sprouting and disappearing whimsically. The mutton chop, however, is now dead (and wherever you see it, you can be sure it’s a fad). At least we can say that the mode du jour in these terms is only variations on a theme. Taking a broad view, things appear basically to stay the same.

Reproduced with permission.
Click to enlarge.

Not so in the inelegant world. There’s a meaningless revolution every five minutes out there on the street, as vanity dolls everywhere do their best to be miniature poodle of the year. It really is as tasteless as Crufts. Someone should hand out rosettes for best in show. Particularly annoying this year is the craze among women to wear not-quite-thick-enough black tights sans skirt. This year I’ve seen more underwear, cellulite, bum sweat, and unmentionable bulges than any given single man with broadband. And all I’ve been doing is making my way on the pavement, trying in vain to mind my own business. Really, ‘ladies’, when did you decide that this was above board? If it’s merely a fad to presage the second-coming of the long dress and empire waist I might just about live with it. I fear however, that the next step will be even more revealing, and a further notch on the self-degrading scale.

The male fad that’s made me sigh most this year – and maybe it’s just a Berlin thing – is wearing glasses without lenses. That’s right, just frames. It helps if the frames are luminous pink, or green, but I’ve also seen rather swish tortoise-shell affairs astride the hipster nose. I don’t get it. Is being somewhat optically deficient in? Were my sight to diminish I should embrace the wearing of glasses wholeheartedly. Until it does, and I pray it won’t, I shall continue with nez au naturel.

Reproduced with permission.
Click to enlarge

At times like this I wish I were an oak tree. As the years pass, I would barely notice these fools, and the world might seem like a consistent procession of the stylish.


  1. Hello:
    Oh, alas, we depend on spectacles without which we doubt we could see from one side of the room to another. How fortunate you are not to require them and, as for wearing them simply as a fashion accessory, that really appears to us to be slightly absurd. Unless, of course, worn by all the beautiful young things with whom we endeavour to surround ourselves.

    As for women in 'leggings' [which is what we understand you refer to].......say no more. Do you imagine, on reflection, that they have the least idea of what they look like?

    We have come across your unusual and fascinating blog by means which now escape us. Whatever, we shall return to acquaint ourselves with what it is to be 'Manly'.

    Have a stylish weekend!

  2. No? Just frames? What loons!
    I agree with you on those hideous leggings; bring back shame.
    Oh and my poached eggs are always a disaster, I must persevere and embrace the vortex.

  3. Thank you once again for providing me with your coveted Manly bump. As you are no doubt aware, there is a well-established correlation between the scantiness of female fashion and contemporaneous economic conditions. So all those sweaty bulges may be the harbingers of an era of renewed financial abundance. The lense-less glasses, however, suggest that an accompanting cultural renaissance is unlikely to be forthcoming.

  4. I totally agree with your assessment. Glasses without lenses. Hmm. Why?? I stay with classics, items that will never go out of style. It's the best way to go. Enjoy a classic weekend yourself!

  5. Hello Hattatts. Thanks for stopping by. I'll be paying a return visit to you without question.

    J, the Manly bump is what I'm know for in some parts.

    And JMW, a classic weekend to you too. It is, indeed, the only way.


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