Ever noticed how some young – and not so young – men dress today? I say dress because the layered look seems to contain a definite element of femininity.
Most people seem to focus on the dropped pants look, with pants worn at mid-bum and underpants on display. This dropped pants style requires a wide legged gait. Dropped pants can only be kept from dropping further by walking or standing with the legs un-naturally splayed.
In turn, this un-natural splaying results in an un-natural walk in which the feet don’t move straight forward naturally. Instead, the moving feet must be kept un-naturally apart and must move and be implanted off to the side of a natural walking line. This produces a gait that causes the upper body to roll from side to side and gives the dropped-pants walker what some call a swagger. However, a more astute observer would see it as closer to the walking style of a penguin.
Then there are those wide-legged pants that end at the currently fashionable height – or is it depth? – of the lower calf.
Look, dispassionately, at a man or boy wearing wide-leg pants of this length. Observe the relationship between the width of the average ankle and the width of the pants. All too frequently, the impression is of a spindly stem disappearing up a wide tunnel. It’s especially accentuated when feet are shod in big sneakers with buckles and laces and tongues all open or undone. The esthetic balance between a big clumpy foot, a spindly column of leg, and a wide trouser leg is often incongruous and frequently funny.
Along with these two male fashion realities and results, there’s a third, more subtle fashion matter. It’s the length of the obligatory T-shirt.
It seems that the ordained length is mid-thigh or just slightly lower. Now I don’t know who ordained the length. Maybe it was fashion designer Calvin Klein, or rapper Snoop Dogg, or somebody’s Big Mama. Someone must have decreed it though, and there must be some draconian punishment lying in wait for any man who breaks the T-shirt length law. Few – almost none – break it. Unlike the traffic laws, the T-shirt length law is a very well kept law.
However, in Bermuda, and within many other jurisdictions – most notably inner-city USA – where the writ of the T-shirt law seems to run, one of the common characteristics is that there seems to be a relative imbalance – small but significant – in the number of males and females who are active in the economy. It seems to me that the T-shirt law holds strongest sway in communities where there are more unemployed or under-employed males than females. Or communities where females seem to be the dominant group – either marginally or obviously.
Through the ages, men tended to dress to impress. Male clothing was form-fitting. It displayed and accentuated the male physique. Now, modern male fashion puts men in baggy ill-fitting clothes. Women – thank God – still wear tighter form-fitting clothes that show and display the female physique.
In wearing baggy dropped pants and oversize T-shirts coming down to mid-thigh length, men are wearing an outer garment at skirt length. Admittedly, it’s mini-skirt length, but it’s still skirt length.
I wonder? Are the men who keep the dropped pants and T-shirt fashion laws not just acknowledging, but also expressing, the loss of their manhood? Have these men taken to wearing skirts in emulation of what they perceive to be the stronger sex?
Will their next male fashion shift see these men dropping their pants completely? Not wearing any pants at all? Only skirts? Starting with white cotton miniskirts?