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Fashion? You’re standing up in it.

By Mark S. Lawson - posted Wednesday, 15 April 2015


Call me a fashion victim.. As someone who was born middle-aged and has been growing older and crankier ever since I do not understand why we have to have fashion or, more importantly, why fashion should be allowed to change.

Take hats, for example. I dimly recall that my grandfather habitually wore a hat and I’m more than old enough to remember the old Homicide series on television when the detectives raced around Melbourne in hats dealing with personal issues and, incidentally, solving murders.

Hats have not been general wear for decades, except for country people, but of late I have seen a few around. A pork pie hat of the type worn in the film the French Connection here, a trilby there and a baseball cap worn back to front circa 1980s (or was it 1990s?) over there. As usual I have missed something. When and why did men, and women for that matter, stop wearing hats everywhere, and why have some people started wearing them again?

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Admittedly it is not a major trend, but it is a change and I don’t like it.

Why do men in casual situations wear their shirts outside of their pants, rather than safely tucked up inside them? Admittedly I may be remarking on this change a decade or two or three late but that is not my problem. It is the problem of those who chose to wear their shirts in such a fashion.

But this is just quibbling about details, rather than tackling the problem of change head on. We should have an agreed approach on these matters, perhaps a uniform or at least an agreed set of stylistic variations, and stick to them.

Some may see this as a drastic step, but it is a blow for equality between the fashion haves and the have nots. Perpetual fashion victims such as myself would no longer be disadvantaged, or at least less disadvantaged. I would still be totally clueless in such matters but perhaps after a decade or so of this style utopia I might have some idea what I am supposed to wear.

For those who pay attention to such matters there would be savings. You won’t have to rush out to buy the latest fashion; you’re already standing up in it. Agonising over what to wear in the morning, for those tortured souls who do agonise, would be a thing of the past. 

But what should we standardise on and who should make those momentous decisions on what is “in”, permanently?

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Admittedly this would require some debate, perhaps by a committee split between the fashion conscious and fashion victims (“dags”, is a convenient label for the second group).

The final decision would be up to the committee of course but the deliberations may take a time, particularly over issues such as what to wear on an evening out. If the dags on the committee are anything like me (and they may well be), they will have only a vague memory that once, a long time ago, they went out in the evening, and have quite forgotten what happened when they did, let alone what anyone might have been wearing at the time.

Perhaps they can use classic films as a reference point particularly as, thanks to modern technology, dags don’t have to set foot outside their living rooms to refresh their memories on what people wear in films (assuming that they noticed in the first place).

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About the Author

Mark Lawson is a senior journalist at the Australian Financial Review. He has written The Zen of Being Grumpy (Connor Court).

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