This is not good.
Sadly, almost all fashion trends have catered to the man of less than Chestertonian bulk. We cannot wear track suits, because the notion of my running laps is either frightening or disturbing. We are men and not boys, yet “man clothes” even in Texas have been reduced to polo shirts and khaki. That is also not good for many.
Here then is a call for real diversity in wardrobe selection for grownup men.
Bring back the robe.
Men wore them for centuries. Priests and judges still do. Can’t we bring back robes for work? When one goes to graduation, one is reminded how comfortable the robe is. They are very forgiving to the grown up physique, can be done in many fabrics and styles, and Harry Potter. I realize the last is grammatically inappropriate, but would anyone wish to see Dumbledore in a suit?
At least bring back the frock coat.
The athletic cut coat of most of our suit jackets was designed for playing games and not for a man at his serious work. The older man, see GKC in this photo, wore his jacket cut well below his waist. In a balmy climate like Houston (!), the frock jacket need not be made with heavy materials. It is no hotter on the whole than a “regular” jacket.
Make the detachable collar a thing again, but this time make it differently.
One used to have detachable collars and cuffs so the shirt would not have to be cleaned so often which was a highly labor intensive and difficult activity. The undershirt protected the rest of the garment. Collars at that time (read Surprised by Joy) were tight and restricting. This is not good and an excellent trend in modern garments has been the softer collar. Yet men often gain and lose weight and the collar does not change with us. The rest of the shirt may work, but the collar is either too tight or too loose. A shirt with a removable collar could evolve (ahem) with us.
Bonus: Bring back the dress hat.
I look like Goofy in all hats, but some men look great in hats. Sadly, dress hats are hard to find, very expensive, and rarely seen. Many grownups look better in hats and they are practical in rainy weather. The conquest of male hats by the baseball cap is regrettable for those who might like to wear a hat to work.
If we have become a culture where nobody wishes to grow up, perhaps one reason (not a very serious one, but a reason) is that kids look better in the dress up and other garments we have today. Peter Pan would never wear a frock coat, but then GKC would never wear gym shoes to work. I am sure the same things could be written about women’s clothing, but that is for my collegues like Megan Mueller to do!
This is Bright Week for Christians . . . a time we are called to celebrate the Good News. As a result, this week I am writing on topics that are less than . . . serious. Here is the first, second, and third.