The Modern Gent

At some point between grades 10 and 11, I switched from concert T-shirts to what I now consider grown-up clothing.

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It was the middle-1980s and I, like many other kids of my generation, was influenced by the music videos I saw on television.  These were the days of “New Wave,” “Mod,” and “New Romantic” music, and scenes of guys wearing (oversized) suit jackets, peg-legged pants, short hair (at least on the sides) and 1950s-inspired skinny ties were everywhere on MTV and Muchmusic.

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And because I didn’t have the budget to shop for new stuff, I became a regular at thrift stores; this, of course, worked out well because the clothes of the 50s and 60s were just 25 years old then, and soon my closet was well-stocked with enough outfits to rival that of David Bowie’s…well, not really, but that’s when I started playing “dress-up” to imitate my heroes.

And speaking of “dress-up,” I’ve always thought that that’s how most people feel when they first put on something they’re not used to wearing.  If you’re a construction worker, and you put on a suit to go to a wedding, you feel a little out of your element, or like you’re playing a role.  I sure felt like that when I started wearing suit jackets to high school, or beat-up brogues on my feet rather than running shoes.

But the thing is, after years of wearing something, it ceases to be a costume and becomes YOU.  Once you forget you’re wearing it, once you don’t think everyone is staring at you (because they probably aren’t!), it’s no longer a “look.”  It’s just clothing.

And where does all of this lead us?  Well, WCCF is taking a fun look at the “recent” trends in men’s grooming; specifically, we’re looking at how men are taking more time in choosing their wardrobe, whether that’s thinking about pocket squares or having their pants hemmed by a tailor (rather than letting the sidewalk, er, ‘trim’ their pants to the correct length), and how some of this new “dandy-ism” still looks a little foreign to some of us.  We’re also looking at those big lumberjack beards a lot of guys are currently rocking, and we’re asking if these are just a fad that’ll blow over, or do they have staying-power?

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Well, it all depends.  For some fellas, wearing well-constructed clothes is something they’ve always done, or maybe they did it in high school (like I did) and after a decade or more of wearing more casual stuff, have come back into the fold.  Some guys have always played with facial hair, and a big beard is just a bolder statement of their follicular obsession.  For these guys, there is no bandwagon—they’re just doing what feels right.

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Other guys, well, they’ll absorb what they see in ads, on television and on the street, and decide to join the party.  Are they posers?  Some are…and in a few months or a few years, they’ll feel as if it was all a little bit of dress-up and go back to what’s comfortable.  Others will find a new love and adopt that look, whatever it is, for their whole lives.

So join us as we separate the boys from the men, the fashionable from the fanatics, and the well-groomed from the just plain messy, on Where Cool Came From.

Yours in Coolness,

DLeB

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