Friday, October 26, 2012

Sharp Stylings #55: Study in Contrasts

We can learn so much from yesterday’s fashion icons.  And living in a post-Mad Men world means we can even enjoy aspects of current male fashions! Every Friday, I’d like to start your weekend off right with a little style inspiration from either then or now. Hopefully, my fellow Mod enthusiasts will find the whole or some detail of the whole to appreciate and maybe even adopt.

This past week, my friend sent me a link that made me cringe. I can't bring myself to say who the subject of the link was (*cough* *cough* paul weller *cough*), but that person was wearing flip-flops, denim shorts, and a tank top... a look that has appalled me since I was a pre-Mod kid.

Now, keep in mind, in general, I like this fellow... heck I featured him as a Sharp Styling subject just last week! But in that same week, he crossed into some terrible fashion folly territory while out shopping with his kids in Los Angeles. So, I posted the above article up on the ol' Facebook Mod Male page and got enough comments to fuel this blog for another 3 months alone.

But today I just want to show how two different people have approached Summer wear.

On one hand, you have a public figure, one who has made a career utilizing a 'Mod' aesthetic. He's a multi-millionaire making his money off of his music, interviews, and clothing endorsements, including John Varvatos, Pretty Green, Fred Perry, and Ben Sherman. These companies approach Paul Weller because he's become a style icon thanks to his Mod leanings. And these companies know that if Paul Weller endorses their clothing lines, you can pretty much expect new Mod customers lining up at the doors. So, yeah, it's a bit of a let down to see the guy walking around looking like he's out of 'costume' and taking a Matthew McConaughey approach to Summer style.

On the other hand, you have this guy:
From the Mean Spirited blog.
Here's a nameless Congolese sapeur, also taking a walk with his kids on what is most likely a hot African day. This guy does not have the $$$ of the other and is not getting clothing endorsements. He's just taking the heat in stride and cruising around with his kids without a single name brand shop around him. And he's taken the time to amp up his look, regardless of his environment. I've said it before, but THIS is 'clean living under difficult circumstances.'

Look, I'm not saying you have to wear a suit 24/7, rain or incredible shine. There are ways to dress casually and still look slick in the heat. Light-weight fabrics, short sleeved polos or button-downs, seersucker, loafers, white linen, and yes, even shorts. But please, don't tell me flip-flops, denim shorts, and a tank top is the new, forward-thinking Mod look.

It's just straight lazy.


  1. I LOVE the sapeurs of the Congo. Admittedly, I haven't looked into any negative political issues involved with them (buying expensive clothes when they live in shanties seems potentially tragic in some way) but I don't want to know because there is really something kind of uplifting about them in their sharp suits and all that elegant dignity.

    1. I know, I know... there is definitely the flip-side to the sapeurs. But I do place them in a long line of cultures trying to make the most with that little they have, clothes-wise. I think of the zoot-suiters of the 1940s or the Jamaican rude boys of the 1960s.

      Waiting for more studies on the sapeurs down the line, though. And interested to see what they inspire!