So let's talk a bit about "the classics".
Dungarees, especially the iconic Levi's 501, are classic. The uppity suit guys may get in a twist about this, but in truth jeans are by now right up there with grey flannels, white oxfords and navy suits in the canon of standards. No getting around it. That's why it's hard these days to consider any well appointed gents wardrobe complete without a pair or two. So what about...
...white jeans? I know your gut reaction to these might be that they scream 1994 at the top of their lungs, but I seem to recall seeing plenty of photos of Steve McQueen, Clint Eastwood, Paul Newman and others riding motorcycles in dusty white jeans and tan suede dessert boots as far back as the early 1960s (back me up, Selvedge Yard). Downright chiseled and rugged. So where does that leave the slightly overweight young(ish) urban father of two?
Somewhere about here. Just the other day, I stumbled across a pair in my size for $5.99 at the local thrift. I bit. I find they bridge a certain gap. Allow me to explain.
Boston, until the day before yesterday, was in the grip of freezing cold rain blowing sideways for about a week. The flooding of basements was legendary. Then, all of a sudden, Ole Ma Nature comes through with blazing sunshine and a temperature of 70 degrees.
Of course, the streets were over-run with flip-flops and shorts today. It seems people only live in extremes these days. To my mind, however, it was still mid-March, no matter how nice the weather. How does one nod to the weather without jumping the gun? White jeans?
I wore them with my vintage navy varsity style cardigan (you know, like Thom Browne knocked off), and a Brooks Brothers red and white striped oxford...
with just the right amount of fray at the cuffs and collar.
It really was damn nice today, so I finished the whole thing off with penny loafers and some bare ankles.
Wearing white pants before Memorial Day may still be some vague kind of sartorial sin, but I feel like the fact that these are denim, heavy cloth, gets them a pass...or something. Think of it this way: white pants and bare ankles acknowledged the sunshine; denim and a shawl collared cardigan kept it all in perspective.
It's likely too early in time to call white jean a classic. Maybe it's a bit like sainthood in that it requires so many years and miracles before canonization. But don't forget, less than half a century ago loafers without socks was mostly an obnoxious trend amongst the spoiled collegiate youth, not a basic tenet of your father's Summer style.