Rambling Thoughts on Summer fashions for Men (nearing 50)

Midweek Summer Morning in my Local Supermarket.

I am pushing on fifty and I look exactly like all the other males in the local supermarket on this midweek summer holiday morning.

I am walking round in big, baggy oversize shorts with too many pockets (I believe that they are called cargo shorts)  and an XXXXXXXXXL T shirt. I however, have not committed those other ultimate summer fashion faux pas :

– wearing , solid, German-made PVC sandals with white socks.

– wearing a T shirt with a logo (especially a rock and roll T shirt)

I have baggy cargo shorts, because those seem to be the only shorts on offer for men in summer, but, I have a plain T shirt and I am not wearing white socks. Oh please Lord, a little bit of dignity ! I think that past your mid twenties, wearing any logo-bearing T shirt lacks any credibility, and the wearing of socks with any form of summer footwear is a complete fashion faux pas.

Joey Ramone Vs Falstaff

There was that day, when I reached forty and wore a Ramones T shirt. My spouse and my daughter looked dubiously at my choice of R’n’R attire with the words « Joey Ramone never had a beer belly. » So, I am not a beer drinker, rather a heavy wine consummer – a lover of the grape. Say what you will. ; Joey Ramone and Falstaff are just not the same in the stomach stakes.

First fashion rule therefore – never wear logo T shirts when both in age and size, you are fast approaching fifty

Second fashion rule as you and your belly approach their first half century : STOP BUYING XXXL.

So, even when I was a rake thin twentysomething, I always used to buy T shirts in XL size for the reason that I knew nothing about sizes and XL always seemed to fit. I also laboured under the sartorial misapprehension that baggy meant thin and figure-hugging-jeans and T shirts served merely to accentuate those slightly fleshier parts of the body, meaning that even an anorexic with a slight bulge would look fat.

Buying baggy as you get bigger does not hide what you have, it merely means that you have something to hide

(A sideline on sizes)

I would still be buying XL if the size actually corresponded to genuine XL and not XXL. Just how large is large and jut how small is small ? Are we all getting bigger(or smaller) or have sizes just changed ? I’m certainly bigger than I used to be, but no way have I « splodged » enough to go from XL to XXL or even XXXL. What about XS or extra small ? Does this mean that wearing a small means you are fat ? So, we have gone to size extremes and I am the poor guy stuck in the middle

A few months ago, I actually had to buy a « real shirt » – the sort that you might actually tuck into your trousers and wear with a tie – the lady in the shop measured me up as a size 42 – medium but not fat ; so often have I been buying oversize and outsize, convinced that baggy means thin, that I felt severely constrained in a shirt that was truly my size.

Of course when you buy the size you really are it shows your actual size and that isn’t always flattering.

A word on shorts.

Big baggy cargo shorts with so many pockets that … One day I’ll have to work out just how much time I spend searching through the numerous pockets in my shorts looking for money, car keys or my cigarette lighter. Shorts used to be simple affairs. Firstly they were short (sometime too short) and they had two or perhaps three pockets (left, right and back). So, you couldnt get much in any of the pockets – just a pack of cigarettes and a set of car keys was enough to make it look like you’d had some kind of testicle enhancement surgery, but, you could find stuff easily. Nowadays with baggy cargo shorts, you can get up to about six pockets per pair, meaning that you can spend twice to three times longer rummaging round looking for stuff in your pockets. I reckon the average baggy-short wearing male must lose about five minutes a day rummaging round in his shorts. Half the time, the pockets can be so deep that you never find whay you are looking for and thus go stampeding round the house looking for what is still buried deep within your seemingly bottomless pockets