Friends, this morning I’m feeling very passionate about a pressing world issue: Men in sweaters. In the Northern Hemisphere, winter is firmly upon us. Cardigans, gloves, and scarves have been unearthed from their attic boxes.
I am thrilled.
Winter is my favorite fashion season. I admit, this is helped by the relatively mild Texas winters. We don’t see a lot of blizzards around here. (I know, you just gasped in surprise, didn’t you?) What we do see is the temporary rebirth of classic men’s fashion. Suddenly, guys are busting out sweaters to wear over their polos and scarves to wrap around their necks. Men who normally wear t-shirts are donning rarely seen pea coats, for heaven’s sake! This is a heterosexual fashion-loving woman’s dream come true.
Example: A few weeks ago, Mae and I were eating at our favorite spot (hummus to-die-for, freshly baked scones, and an Anthropologie next door – need I say more?), when our favorite manager walked in. Wearing a white Oxford shirt, with a navy sweater over it, he was clearly in chilly weather mode. Now, this is a cute guy already, but in a sweater? He was a Ralph Lauren advert come to life. I blushed. I stammered. If there had been a fainting couch, I would have swooned. It was embarrassing and all (Well mostly – he is rather dashing all the time, it should be said. The boy has a beard!) caused by an extra layer of clothing. How extraordinary.
It does make me wonder, however. To quote one of my personal icons, Cher Horowitz, “I don’t want to be a traitor to my generation and all, but I don’t get how guys dress today.” It’s not necessarily baggy jeans and greasy hair like in Cher’s day (thank God), but most twenty-something guys I know don’t own an iron, much less properly fitting pants. When did men stop taking pride in their style? It seems a recent phenomenon. If Mad Men is to be believed, right up to the late 60s, a well-tailored suit was considered essential to any man’s wardrobe. People even shined their shoes!
Now, a date is considered dressed up, if he shows up to my door in a polo shirt and clean jeans. I actually know guys who don’t own sweaters, because they consider them “too feminine.” Color me befuddled. How can an extra, classic layer of clothing be gendered? Maybe it’s just living in Austin. Not only are we the Live Music Capital of the World, but also the Wearing Paleontology T-shirts To Fancy Restaurants Is A-Okay By Us Headquarters of America. Our city is filled with smart, successful people who will probably wear Toms to that wedding this weekend. It drives me stark, raving mad. I long for a little shine, a little polish.
You can call me shallow, but I choose to think of it as nostalgic. Blame it on all those classic movies I watched as a child. My parents never subscribed to the Disney Channel, so I missed Justin & Brit on MMC, but I was fed a steady visual diet of Cary Grant and Gene Kelly instead. Imagine my surprise when I realized men don’t walk around in three-piece suits any longer, but may show up to lunch in white undershirts. I’ve never quite recovered from the shock. Too many of my past dating disasters have been caused by a certain blindness that occurs when I’m faced with a truly well-dressed, twenty-something man. Sure he does cocaine every once in a while, but did you see him in that sweater? It was cashmere!
To sum up: I love men in sweaters. I almost wish this would be another Year Without A Summer (without the crop failures and other awful effects, naturally), if only to make it last a little longer. Shoes may not be shined, but a scarf or coat is plenty dapper enough to set my heart aflutter. For one glorious season a year, I can walk around pretending to live in a glamorous Hitchcock film. Only, you know, with less carnivorous birds.