Friday, October 12, 2012

Casual Fridays #8: Michael McClure and Robbie Robertson

Working to look sharp for a rare evening out on the town can actually be easy. The tough job is trying to look sharp on a daily, casual basis. Yeah, you might have your Friday night suit at your beck and call, but what does it matter if you spend the rest of your time in target t-shirts and jeans? Every Friday, I'd like to offer up some style inspiration for tightening up your casual look, because let's face it... sometimes you just don't feel like wearing a tie, but still want to keep it sharp.

Alright all you Anglophiles, you may wanna sit this one out and go put on that Parklife record or something. This post is for the Americophiles! Specifically, those who appreciate American Beat culture and 1960s American rock!

Before getting in to the Mod thing, Beat culture was something that took up a lot of my reading time. Far into college, I still loved reading about Keroauc, Ginsberg, Burroughs, etc., and there was one image that always captivated me... one that did tie in to my Mod obsession.
Yup, this photo of poet Michael McClure, Bob Dylan, and Allen Ginsberg hanging out in San Francisco in the mid-sixties. Now, as much as I love Bob Dylan (especially this era of his career) and as much as I dig Allen Ginsberg, they weren't the ones who grabbed my attention in this photo. Nope, it was Michael McClure, looking sharp and stylin' next to his pals.
This was a photo that, early on, helped inform my attitude toward casual wear. Beats are generally seen as more scruffy and less interested in surface appearances, but someone forget to send McClure the memo. The three-piece suit (or, most likely, just a waistcoat with jacket) and tab-collar shirt done up without a tie (the only way you can wear a tab-collar shirt, casually) struck me as both dapper and loose, a look I've always loved.

When I was younger and thought there might be an expiration date to my Mod look, I pictured myself still dressing like this when I got older. Maybe not super Mod, but still as sharp a look as I could pull off as an older man. Heck, I even saw myself with slicked-back hair (my dad's hairstyle) and a large cross hanging off my neck!

For years, this image remained my favorite Beat image and McClure's style was something I still carried in the back of my mind. But then, I came across an even greater shot from this session:

Yup, turns out Robbie Robertson (of Levon & the Hawks and The Band) completed this quartet of cool! Check him out there on the far left, sporting pointed shoes, narrow trousers, wide belt with large buckle, button-down shirt, and three-button leather jacket.

Now, I'm gonna let you in on something if you don't know me personally. I write this blog and you probably think I dress up in a suit and tie from morning until bedtime, and even then, you probably think I sleep in a suit. But the reality is that most of the time, I'm dressing exactly like Robbie Robertson in the photo above. For me, that's usually as casual as I like getting. A pair of vintage shoes with narrow toe, sta-prest trousers (slightly flared), wide belt, patterned long-sleeved shirt, and a 3/4-length leather coat. Perfect wear for the Bay Area climate!

Granted, now that the weather is starting to get a bit cooler (finally!) and after having lost a couple of pounds, I may just start going back to the ol' suit'n'tie look on a daily basis. But chances are, if you ever do run into me on the street, I'll be sporting that Robbie Robertson look!

Alright, Anglophiles... did you stick around? Then let's give you something to appreciate about the good ol' U.S. of A. with some Levon and the Hawks, featuring Robbie Robertson!

But damn! I can't just end there...

Have a great, stylish weekend!


  1. I've been looking for a vintage 3/4 length black leather jacket non-stop for almost 40 years now (for the first 10 just in thrift shops, then in vintage clothing shops). I just looked through all the leather jackets in vintage stores in Berlin, Edinburgh and Glasgow. Still no luck! Where did you find yours???

  2. At least Ginsberg is wearing pants...

  3. I have long wondered if the original Mods wore black leather. I haven't seen many wearing it in photos. Plenty of Beat/R&B bands wore them, but I don't consider them Mods. Perhaps they avoided it because it was favored by Rockers?
    That never prevented me from wanting one though.

  4. Whew their outfit may seem to be just a casual attire back then, but now that seems to be a step higher. :) I think B&T Direct also brings back this classiness.

  5. all man wear are nice outfit but i really like leather jacket see more leather jackets Online 3 Button Leather Jackets