I recently got caught up watching a lot of old episodes of Firing Line with William F. Buckley over at that gargantuan time-suck known as Youtube. Good stuff, even if you don't agree with Buckley, which I generally don't. In any case, this choice bit featuring Allen Ginsberg in 1968 has me thinking a lot about the mens fashion/blog climate of the last few years, specifically the fact that nearly everything we've collectively been prattling on about is encapusalted in distilled form in these two very opposite men:
On the one hand, William F. Buckley is the very picture of this beast we now refer to as Trad/WASP/Preppy style. Only in his case it's not a "style", because it was 1968 and he actually was a patrician conservative figure. Sack suit, button down oxford, narrow gingham check tie, double soled shoes. All of it crumpled, worn, and slouchy while being perfectly "correct".
On the other hand, Ginsberg, whom Buckley refers to in his introduction as "the hippie's hippie, the Bohemian prototype", presents us with the Well-Curated-Authentic-Heritage-Americana-Urban-Lumberjack-Hipster-Band-Guy prototype. Jeans, no doubt USA made Levi's or some such, probably "selvedge", suede dessert boots, shirt, tie and tweed jacket topped with huge beard and even the requisite heavy rimmed glasses.
What's funny is the fact that as we view the screen, Buckley is on the left and Ginsberg is on the right. (Get it?)
It's not so surprising that we haven't really managed to come up with anything new since 1968. Immutability is one of the hallmarks of most menswear. What is interesting is the fact that fashion has become a fusion of opposites, borrowing heavily from two distinct styles that meant very different things to very different people in their time.
In some way I suppose people are a bit like that these days too, more grey and less black and white. Clothing aside, watching this video I find that I actually like and agree with both men, though they don't like or agree with each other at all. That's the future for you I guess.
p.s. new stuff in the Shop today, more over the next few. I know it's a bit shameless when I end my posts with these little plugs, but business is business you know. Please browse and thank you for your custom.
13 Dec., 7:48 am, Correction: Not "dessert boots", rather "desert boots". Oops.