What The Fashionable Man Is Wearing

Here’s my Dad and Uncle Pres hoofing it down the Midway of the San Francisco’s Golden Gate Exposition on Labor Day, 1940.  Wives and kids are presumably somewhere nearby out of camera range.  Maybe Dad and Uncle Pres dropped them off at the Aquacade while they stepped out for a quick one at Shanghai Lil’s.

It’s Labor Day.  A holiday.  Nobody’s going to work later, yet, as you’ve probably noticed, they’re both dressed to the hilt in business suits with vests and floppy pants, dress shirts, ties and, in Dad’s case, a jaunty fedora.  Their overcoats are draped over their arms in case the fog comes in.  They’re in their comfort zone, a newspaper guy and a building contractor.  It’s just how guys dress.

Okay, now here’s two normal American guys of today.  They’re roughly the same age as Dad and Uncle Pres in the first picture (early thirties). And, like Dad and Uncle Pres, they’re out for a summer holiday, if in a slightly warmer climate.

These guys would probably rather be shot than make a fashion choice, but they’ve made some nevertheless.  For one thing, they’re both branded.  Their tee shits tell us they’re Aeropostale kind of guys. The man on the right is also a Sony kind of guy.  If we could read his hat we’d learn something else about him.

I have no intention of making pig jokes about them – they look pretty much like the rest of American hetero guys in their thirties today – on a summer Saturday when they’re not going to work later.

My question is simply…is this all there is? Couldn’t we guys get together and figure out how to look a little more interesting without going all the way back to 1940?  Or having to send stuff to the cleaners? Besides, I hate floppy trousers as much as you do, but jeans and tee shirts just don’t feel that cool any more.

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5 thoughts on “What The Fashionable Man Is Wearing

  1. Dad and Pres look so much older than the other two guys…I was going to say that was because Uncle Pres is balding, but so is the “modern” fellow with the beard. The clothes certainly make the 1940’s gentlemen look heavier…wow, they sure had a lot to deal with: undershirts, shirts starched and pressed, the tie tied properly, suits of the proper weight of wool for the season, hats that stayed on in SF wind, overcoats that weighed a ton, shoes shined…how long did it take them to get dressed? And how much did they weigh once fully outfitted????

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  2. I agree on mom’s comment about the age. Are you sure they are in their early thirties? Marc and I are nearly in our early thirties and they look oodles older than us. Early forties?

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  3. I think men didn’t want to look older – unless they were very young – but they did want to be taken seriously, and the clothes were how they did it.
    I happen to have the facts on this one. Dad was born Oct. 8, 1906, and since I know this photo was taken on Labor Day 1940, ergo, he was one month short of his 34th birthday. Uncle Pres was born Jan 6, 1910, which makes him 30 1/2. They wanted to look like grown men, and they did.

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  4. Men worry too much about what they look like, even today’s men. Didn’t your beads have to be just right back in the day, Pig? Wasn’t there concern about image? Carnaby Street or victorian or wild west or Hell’s Angels grease and crust?

    The saggy pants today gotta be just right and the t-shirt has to be the perfect one, with just the right annoying saying. The difference between then and now is they don’t wanna be taken seriously any more.

    Now take us cats. We don’t worry about being taken seriously. Hence, we strut like the emperor in his new clothes. Only thing is, we know we’re nekkid. No way you’re gonna get one of those sissy sweaters on us, like people do to them dumb dogs.

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