I’m man enough to admit when I need help. It takes more courage to reach out your hand than to ball up a fist. As The Who said, “A man is a man when – he can drop to the floor / he can weep / we won’t ask the price.” I have been working very hard to make it work for the past year but it’s time to change directions. I just don’t know where to go.
My look for the past year has been “Grumpy Casual.” It is loosely based on The Specials second album. Other terms for it include “scruffy mod” or “homeless millionaire.” This album cover sums it up best. You’re like a mod who has grown older and doesn’t care as much as he used to. Besides, you’re on vacation so you didn’t bring all your gear with you. I felt it was a vast improvement on my short-lived Jaws look.
However, the beta male millennials AKA “Generation Wuss” ruined this look. Mods were working class kids who dared to be patriotic right through the heat of the Falklands when the entire world was crapping on Thatcher. While the punks told England to fuck off, Paul Weller sang love ballads to his “English Rose.” Sid Vicious tried to beat up Weller for claiming “Holidays in the Sun” was stolen from “In the City.” Paul knocked him out. It was.
Today, a cardigan and desert boots says, “I don’t want any trouble.” Fred Perry can look tough and scary if you’re young and skinny but half the time I wear one I see a guy in a Best Buy uniform who stuck a laurel over his name tag. This look is no longer for me. So where do I go?
It’s getting colder so whatever the look is should include boots, ideally Red Wings. The way I see it, that leaves us with two options: biker or bootlegger.
The best example of the latter look is Tom Hardy in Lawless (minus the gigantic fedora). You’d match your Red Wings with some dark denim and a big Carhartt jacket. I’m not sure about the collarless shirts and I’d occasionally replace the cardigans with a sweatshirt but it’d basically be rural criminal during prohibition. I wouldn’t feel like a poser because I spend half my time upstate fixing stuff and fraternizing with the lower classes.
One problem: Tom Hardy is built like a brick shithouse. I have the upper body of Grover. If I wore a Carhartt, there’d be a basketball-sized pocket of air from my shoulders to the inside corner of the jacket.Those things take at least a year to break in and Brooklyn union guys laugh at you when you wear a brand new one. Another problem is the hairdo. Moonshiners cut their fade so close on the sides, you’re basically bald for two thirds of your head. This looks great if you’re healthy and sober but when you get to this age, people wonder if you’re undergoing chemotherapy.
Which brings us to this look.
Wes Lang has been the overlord of this look for many years now and it personifies the outlaw culture that made this country great. I have a motorbike but I only ride it once a month and if I’m on a major highway, I spend half the time shitting my pants. I also have three kids so “outlaw” has become things like checking retweets while on the john for longer than the actual poo takes. Besides, a big part of this look is a vest. I look like Ratso Rizzo’s coke dealer in a vest. Wes pulls it off but he looks like Chewbacca dipped in Nair. I’d feel like a total poser dressed like this.
You know what? You just made my decision for me. I’m going bootlegger because it’s my only option. I’m glad we had this talk. Thanks.