Move over PeeWee! This calls for for real boy men!

While I didn't have any time to think it over yesterday, I did notice Glenn's link to the seemingly horrendous development in men's fashion now being promoted at Brooks Brothers.

If you think the one Glenn linked was bad, by all means check out these other outfits. (The last one is a real killer if you're a boyish Oscar Wilde, or just want to look like one!)

While I'm much too old (and probably too dignified) to dress that way, I have to say that it doesn't necessarily represent the end of WASP culture -- because, as I explained in this post, similar looks used to be mandatory in various boys' schools and still are in some countries. Moreover, grown men in Bermuda have had a penchant for dressing that way for generations and still do. It might not meet my standards (and Ann Althouse has long frowned on men wearing shorts, so have I), but it's not really the death of WASP culture; the argument might even be made that it's a way of rolling back the clock.

This is not to say that there aren't guys who might look "cute" that way. This morning Glenn Reynolds was nice enough to link my earlier suggestion that the PeeWee Herman look might be a fashion "go" for Glenn Greenwald. (Maybe even as good as it gets in Greenwald's case.)

But as to the knickers and the shorts, well, it is my considered opinion that because the new Brooks Brothers look is basically a revival of private boys school attire, it's logical to think that it would look better on boyish men -- especially attractive boyish men.

Now, I don't mean to insult anyone here, but while both PeeWee Herman and Glenn Greenwald could be called boyish, neither would be a fit as the type of model Brooks Brothers has in mind. After all, Brooks Brothers is a men's store, and they know that most men (especially those who aspire to the category of "real men") aren't going to suddenly start running around sporting a schoolboy look that was abandoned in the U.S. in the 1960s -- especially if it is being promoted by a PeeWee Herman "type."

However, some of the more boyish men might -- but they need reassurance that real men can dress for success that way.

So, it is my considered opinion that these new outfits cry out for a model who not only looks boyish, but in an attractive way, and in a way suggestive of the power elite. I'm not running Brooks Brothers' marketing department, but I have come up with a suggestion for a possible model.

Fortunately, today's technology allowed me to try out the various "vintage boys look outfits" on him. Here's the one Glenn linked yesterday:


And if that doesn't quite send my male readers who want to be vintage boys straight down to your nearest Brooks Brothers, just wait! Because, here's another stunning outfit!

BBros2Ecb.jpg OK, now that's obviously a summer outfit. And the one with the knickers is clearly a fall outfit.

Still, just as private school boys used to wear shorts in all seasons, there's no reason that real men who want to recreate the look can't do the same. So do not despair.

Here are the winter outfits for when the weather gets cold, in places like icy Iowa....


Good for year 'round campaigning, eh?

I don't mean to totally knock Brooks Brothers, as I try to dress well and I've bought clothes there for years. (This was one reason I avoided using Greenwald as a Brooks Brothers model. Some things go too far.) And in Brooks Brothers' defense, I have to say that most of the outfits which are pictured aren't Little Lord Fauntleroy, but are vintage early 1960s looks -- this being a perfect example of what was once standard attire for young college age men. If they think they can bring stuff like that back, more power to them, because I think college age kids generally look awful.

However, shorts worn with coats and ties are too much of a stretch for most men. This is why I think they need to enlist a serious boyish man.

(If only I could figure out how much of this post was satire....)

MORE: Anyone who thinks Brooks Brothers is responsible for the "shorts with sport coats trend" should read the Wall Street Journal's piece on the subject from last September:

Reluctant to admit they are following a trend, many American designers insist the collective emergence of shorts this week is mainly just a coincidence. John Bartlett, who showed three models with shorts wearing dress shirts and ties, says he had the idea at least six months ago, before the European shows. "It seems really hot right now," he says. "There's something very old Connecticut, very Bermuda about that look."

The idea actually is at least five decades old. Bermuda shorts were a '50s fad, and some men wore them in the summer with sport jackets, ties and long socks. Andy Gilchrist, a California fashion consultant who has written a book on men's clothes, notes that the look was often seen in fashion magazines of the time.

Narciso Rodriguez, who planned this week to present elastic-waist shorts with a silver wool suit jacket, says he has always just liked wearing shorts, even in winter.

Mr. Lim, the designer, says he is showing shorts because he likes wearing them himself and wore a lot of cutoffs this summer. The fact that most of his colleagues are doing the same thing does strike Mr. Lim as odd. "I always find it funny. How does everyone know? Did they all have a meeting or a design summit or something?" Mr. Lim asks. "I just did it because I like shorts."

Some of their fans aren't on the same wavelength. "Shorts with a suit jacket would make me feel a little too Little Lord Fauntleroy," says Tony Green, a 41-year-old Chicago management consultant, who tries to keep up with the latest styles.

That is why the dressy shorts trend could flop, says John Mincarelli, a men's costume historian and professor of merchandising at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. "No grown men are going to wear that seriously," he says.

I certainly won't, but Brooks Brothers may merely be reinventing something for a market that's already there.

Is this a question of "POOF goes the culture"?

(As I said, the POOF is in the putting.)

AND MORE: Commenter Papertiger thinks I may be helping John Edwards:

Johnny actually pulls this look off rather well. You getting him votes. It gives him an edgy rough and tumble look that those of us who are in the know, would never ascribe to Mr. Edwards.
Hmmm... I really didn't intend to help or hurt Edwards' campaign. But hey, if the new look that I am proposing actually gets him votes, I'll be delighted to take the credit for it! (And I'd appreciate a thank you from Edwards himself -- especially considering that his campaign blogmistress called me a "sociopath" merely for making fair and balanced fashion comparisons of a purely bipartisan nature.

MORE: Glenn Reynolds' response to one of the winter outfits was "Ugh."

Ah, but had John Edwards been the model, I think Glenn's reaction would have been quite different!

MORE: Thank you, Glenn Reynolds for linking this post! Welcome all!

However, with my gratitude comes an apology. I am sorry that Glenn is sorry.

On the bright side, if we all work together, we can stop the rise of this new form of fashionism dressed up in little boys' shorts.

Or should I say we can redefeat fashionism?

(What? Do I need to point out that shorts were worn by the Hitler Youth, or would that violate Godwin's Law?)

MORE: Regarding that last remark, the answer is that it would not.

UPDATE: My thanks to Gerard van der Leun for the link -- and especially for the very generous observation about my sanity!

posted by Eric on 01.13.08 at 09:51 AM



Johnny actually pulls this look off rather well. You getting him votes. It gives him an edgy rough and tumble look that those of us who are in the know, would never ascribe to Mr. Edwards.

Papertiger   ·  January 13, 2008 10:33 AM

I can really see this look catching on. As an ostentatious way of saying "it is too warm," Brooks Brothers may have created the first Global Warming fashion trend. What do you think of Leo DiCaprio as a model?

bgates   ·  January 13, 2008 7:29 PM

MY Eyes!! MY Eyes!! The image keeps burning into my retina and I can't make it stop!!! Please Kill me!!

thenakedemperor   ·  January 13, 2008 7:34 PM

Great. First the clowns, now this. I don't think I'll ever be able to sleep again.

K T Cat   ·  January 13, 2008 7:39 PM

If a guy comes into a Gay Choir recital dressed like that, he is going to get beat up for being such a p**sy!

Kasper Hauser   ·  January 13, 2008 7:50 PM

On the other hand, fortunately, there are still clothes for the well-dressed vampire.

So those among us who do not drink... wine need not be in fear, even if I don't think JE could pull off THAT look.

(head --> desk.)

Afraid to show this to #1 son. He might like it.


Portia   ·  January 13, 2008 7:57 PM

Wow, talk about negative campaigning and dirty tricks.

I think even Gordon Liddy would say this goes too far.

(all tongue in cheek, of course)

SteveMG   ·  January 13, 2008 8:06 PM

Hey, have any of you guys noticed some NFL and college football uniforms? They do the knickers and knee socks with spandex. Maybe the shoulder pads are what give it the manly look.

Just sayin'..............

Blake   ·  January 13, 2008 8:08 PM

Can you imagine what's going to happen at Brooks Brothers on Monday morning when their web guys come in and take a look at their analytics? "What the f-ing hell? WE were instalanched?!"

Michael Mealling   ·  January 13, 2008 8:14 PM

Hey, if the jackets and shorts mean preppy is coming back (or becoming popular again), I don't mind. For a fine example of jackets and shorts, see:

Caroline   ·  January 13, 2008 9:27 PM

So wrong, on so many levels. Hell, it's probably wrong in dimensions we can't even see. Please, next time you want to have fun blend some puppies on YouTube or show us defiled pictures of saints.

Mister Snitch!   ·  January 13, 2008 10:37 PM

Kind of Off Topic- call it nit-picking, I don't care :) - Regarding the last article Eric linked (the ABC report)did anyone else catch the basic error in the captioned picture? The Hitler Youth are NOT "standing at attention"; they are standing in formation in the "at ease" position. My Dad is a career sarge and I knew that much before I started school! If ABC can't get that simple bit straight, how much more accurate is their military reporting?

Stewart   ·  January 14, 2008 12:43 AM

Look on the bright side... At least the price tags on this stuff ensures that only people with old money buy any of it...

Brian Lutz   ·  January 14, 2008 2:08 AM

Oh , just brilliant. I am blogging that as fast as I possibly can.

vanderleun   ·  January 14, 2008 3:10 AM

The problem is, it's not a stretch. Edwards looks natural.

For a woman's point of view, and not nearly as funny, profound and scary as yours, here's my take:

Anne   ·  January 14, 2008 6:29 AM

What's wrong with the vampire cape? It's got grosgrain tipping! *snicker*

HeatherRadish   ·  January 14, 2008 8:47 AM

Payne Stewart must be hi-fiving Bobby Jones in heaven. This stuff is just awful!

Rbseaking1   ·  January 14, 2008 10:29 AM

That one with the vertical stripes has a sort of formal-Dick-Van-Dyke-in-"Mary Poppins" look about it.

Quite jaunty if you have a "jolly holiday" coming up.

Chester White   ·  January 14, 2008 10:33 AM
Darkmage   ·  January 14, 2008 11:46 AM

If I'm going to get my butt kicked, I would much rather is was for something I said than for my clothing.

Veeshir   ·  January 14, 2008 4:22 PM

Maybe they'll follow Juicy's lead and spell out "Dork" on the back of their jackets

Fausta   ·  January 14, 2008 5:05 PM

AMWhat's wrong with the vampire cape? It's got grosgrain tipping! *snicker*

"I'm from the government and I'm here to... suck your blooooood."

Do we really want them telling us the truth now?

P. :)

Portia   ·  January 15, 2008 10:47 PM

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