Flared Flappers Foment Fashion Flub

April 21, 2010

In amongst the usual pile of instantly recyclable material in my mailbox yesterday was the Land’s End Mens Catalogue. Before consigning it to join its fibrous siblings, the Dish Company, the Internet Company, the local small ads and the AARP insurance offer, I flip through the pages.  I am not disappointed. It is the same as always. brightly colored and amazingly patterned clothing that in six months will be part of the Land’s End clearance catalogue as we remark, “what were they thinking?”

But one thing did disturb me. There seems to be a nascent trend toward shorter pant legs. Pair this with the news in the New York Times that the flared leg may be making a comeback and my fashion hackles are rapidly inflamed and rising.

When I first came to the U.S. so many years ago there was no Barney’s in New York and the flared pant held a tenuous hold on fringe hippies and jeans. Most American men were still wearing suits and pants with turn ups that showed a good inch or even an inch and half of sock between shoe and cuff. Flappers, I called them.  And I thought they were the silliest looking garment; especially on shorter men, upon whom they appeared ludicrous, almost clownish. My own London fashioned flared pants cut right to the shoe welt seemed to me to represent the absolute pinnacle of fashion awareness and Euro chic.

When the flared pant gained momentum in shall we say bourgeois American mens styling it found an even more ludicrous incarnation in flared pants cut high above the shoe line. Even when I bought a Pierre Cardin three-piece ice cream suit at Barney’s in the spring of 1976 the salesman advised me to have the pants altered to show acres of sock. I ignored him and sewed the thing myself, with cuffs, safely below the shoe line.

From the lofty heights of the present day I can admit that both styles were pretty damn silly. And so Land’s End and whichever fashion guru the New York Times is following are about to become the objects of my derision as they independently foment the resurgence of a look that will I am sure be announced as ‘NEW!’, ‘TREND SETTING!’, ‘EDGY!’, and so on. It could make a lesser man than me think about wearing a kilt.


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