While it's true I do dig my seersucker, especially one like this with very prominent stripes, I can't quite hang with a whole suit. I'm a big fan of seersucker trousers with a navy blazer, or conversely a seersucker jacket with grey worsted slacks, as seen here. Striped socks picked up for two bucks at Target keep things from getting too serious. Believe it or not, there's something just too over the top about head to toe seersucker for me. It's true, even I have my limits, and I am fully aware that the line between mere brash foppery and goof-ball costumes is as thin as a hair...maybe that's why I cross it more often than I'd like, but I try to stay on the right side of the line, while getting as close to the line as possible.
Now for the "deep" part of our conversation, the part that relates to the title of this post. At first glance, one might think this was a Harvard tie. Its crimson, and it has emblematic shields on it. Only its not a Harvard tie.
Its just some nice old tie from Brooks Brothers that I likely paid no more than two bucks for that I happen to like that happens to look quite well with seersucker and a white shirt. I wear it because I like it and because I bought it somewhere, nothing more. True, were someone to wear this tie and pass himself off as a Harvard man when it just wasn't true, he'd be not only a poseur in the truest sense of the word, but also an *sshole. The tie, in that case, would be merely a symptom, not the disease.
There is out there in the wide world a rather large camp of sourpuss types who speak with great disdain about "aspirational" things, by which they mean things that derive from the trappings of old wealth being marketed and sold to the majority of us, the ones who do not descend from that wealth. This has always driven me batty, suggesting as it does that a persons place in society should be decided by the mere circumstance of his birth, and that we should all be relegated to stay in our respective places and be content to adopt an outward appearance that clearly states which rank we were born to, from which we will not be allowed to move. This particular brand of invective is most frequently reserved for Ralph Lauren, but these folks tend not to like the idea of anyone outside their circle receiving an education, speaking and writing well, and on the shallow side, having and wearing nice things.
The fact of the matter is that this birth based class system is on the way out, and so are the social signifiers that the clothing used to carry. For better or worse, no special membership to anything at all is required any longer to wear a repp tie, button down oxford, or even the old "Boston Cracked Shoe" if you so desire. The only thing that entitles anyone to wear anything is availability and the money to buy it. The only things required to pull it off are confidence, style, and a pinch of the old "Devil May Care" attitude. Let's not forget that by now, this is merely one of many particular sartorial aesthetics from which a man may choose, same as the workwear look, or the punk look, ar the hippy look are aesthetics too. All were born long ago and heavily fraught with meaning, but time has worn off the edges, and the better of any of these things remains as a kind of style.
And since when is apiration really a bad thing anyway? Poor kids going to college, aspiring to a better life than they came from, immigrants working hard, aspiring to a better life for their children, or hell, even young hipsters going to the mall to buy "preppy" stuff at J. Crew, aspring to dress better and be more adult than the generation before them...these are all good things, the kind of things that tend to lead to better things as the young folks gradually outgrow the more childish and fashion driven aspects of it all in favor of the meaningful stuff. Sure, we can all cringe at the crass commercialism of the companies that so blatantly cash in on this, and we can complain about the impossible and nonexistent lifestyle for sale in the ads, but really, isn't that what capitalism and advertising are all about? It's here and we can't escape it, but we can make informed choices and use the clothes as a means of expressing in an outward way the person we inwardly are. Isn't that what clothing is all about? You know, once you move beyond the basics of warmth and protection from the elements.
In closing, I'd like to remind the more hardline of the new breed of online naysayers out there that my own personal definition of poseur extends to cover most of them. In my many years selling both menswear and fine wine in Boston, I've come to know my share of real old money Yankees, and none of them would even acknowledge any of this, at least not in public and certainly not by way of a medium so gauche and common as the internet.
Besides, it's only clothes, after all. Remember?