Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Tiny Bubbles

Man 5/12/09

Name one item of clothing that is a sure sign of warm weather and brings a smile to your face, but at the same time makes you shudder at the thought of wearing it yourself. And no, it’s not lewd or revealing.

Give up?

The Hawaiian Shirt.

See you smiled already.

There was no denying the full force of this Hawaiian shirt. It wasn’t terribly loud. It wasn’t particularly camp. It was very basic as far as shirts in this category go. The man was wearing it as part of his wardrobe and not in some hipster cynical statement making fashion, but as a middle-aged working class man who genuinely believes in the power of the Hawaiian shirt.

It was cut loose and long. Not oversized but definitely flowing. A base yellow color – light almost a warm and pastel dandelion. The print was classic. Station wagons. Not just any station wagons, but those old pre-war Woodies that had the rounded hoods and sides that were paneled entirely in wood. It was the same Woodie printed randomly all over the shirt. And paired with the station wagons were intermittent appearances of a grey silhouetted palm trees. One could just imagine cruising down the coastal road in an old Woodie, windows down and passing palm trees bordering the beach.

His jeans though were another matter entirely. Not surprisingly they were cut loose and for comfort. The color was a light indigo – almost borderline acid wash. But what really caused consternation was that the back of the jeans were a different material and color altogether. Some sort of weird harlequin style had made it into mainstream denim fashion and this man had deemed it acceptable to pair those jeans with this Hawaiian shirt. The material was some sort of cotton, perhaps twill, in a color that was between light grey and dusty white.

Of course, on his feet were these black leather ankle boots. The kind that European men wear and so beloved by NBA notables such as the ex-Knick Charles Oakley. No laces, just elastic on the sides and a toe that was more square than it was sharp.

That smile on the face? Dragged down by the jeans and kicked out the door by those boots.

Black was the other dominant color on him. Black baseball hat with no logo. Black aviator sunglasses sitting on the bill of the black logoless baseball hat. Black laptop bag sitting on his lap. Even the watch was black. Though it was really more of a black and gold combination. The links of the metal band were equal parts gold and black, though the face itself was black.

The most disappointing was the crewneck undershirt that was visible underneath his splendid shirt. It was a little frayed and slightly yellowed from age. Probably clean but definitely well-worn.

New rule. If you are going to wear a Hawaiian shirt, treat it with some respect and don’t sully it an old undershirt. Or at least make sure its not easily viewed by others. Bad fashion pairings is one thing. But that old undershirt is just plain desecration.

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