For a couple of weeks I have been doing what people have done for years – making fun of the way that people younger than them dress.
This tradition didn’t start with me; for example, when I was a teenager and walking out the door for my first rock concert, my father stopped me because I was not wearing a jacket and tie. The band I was going to see – the “Jefferson Airplanes,” as he called them – would all be so attired, he assured me.
That was one of the few times he was wrong (his most memorable misstep was declaring the Beatles “a flash in the pan.”) Little did I know that his sartorial critique was a foreshadowing of me in my own dotage.
And while I enjoy making fun of people who are younger than me (partly because it’s easy, but mainly because I am crazy jealous), I realize that my fellow Boomers and I also wear things that are no less a uniform, and no less ridiculous. Also, we’re old, so there’s that.
So, since I’ve been beating up on hipsters two weeks running, here’s a short list of Boomer dude fashion misfires, and I’m guilty of all of them. This is only a partial list, so please let me know what I’ve missed.
Flat caps: What’s with flat caps? All of a sudden, I’m surrounded by Andy Capp clones. I wear one (actually, if I’m honest, I wear one of about 12) because I like hats, but the classic ball cap gives off too much of a Larry the Cable Guy vibe. Of course I think mine makes me look like Samuel L. Jackson; what it really makes me look like is Curly Howard.
T-shirts: Most guys my age should not wear t-shirts, and especially those bearing the logos of bands that were popular 40 years and – more importantly – 40 pounds ago. And those t-shirts that say “Old Guys Rule” – you know how, when you see a woman wearing a t-shirt that says “Sexy,” she invariably is not? That same principle applies here.
Fleece: It’s soft, it’s comfy, and since a lot of it is made from recycled plastic bottles that might otherwise end up in the ocean, it gives us a cozy feeling that’s not related to global warming. The polar bears may be in trouble, but us Boomers are ready in case a camping trip breaks out.
Shoes: OK, I know running shoes are comfy; they’re also practical and affordable. But can’t at least one of us buy a brand other than Asics? It’s like Boomer guys are some Pacific islanders that had a cargo container full of them wash ashore. Seriously, guys – someone needs to branch out before we’re all rockin’ those sensible, Velcro-strapped SAS loafers.
And what’s up with Crocs? If there’s uglier footwear, I have not seen it (although Uggs come close). In my estimation, the only people who should wear Crocs are kids and galley slaves, and the latter should stay in the kitchen where they can’t be seen. I actually have a list of things that, should my wife ever see me wear, she has been instructed to shoot me. On that list, Crocs fall right between white sunglasses and her underwear. Sure, they’re comfy (the Crocs, I mean) but that’s not a good excuse for men to wear them. Bottom line: If you don’t have a finger stuck in a dike, stay away from clogs.
Goatees: We like them because they’re masculine, they make us look vaguely European, but mainly because they hide our wattles. This is extremely important, because we’re at an age when many of us have more chins than a Beijing phone book.