Greetings my dear Gothlings!
Even as a young ‘baby-bat’ I always preferred wearing more “sharp” clothing and stubbornly stuck primarily to colors of black, white, and red — in that order. I liked, and even enjoyed, wearing suits by the age of ten, moreover, I positively fell in love with the leather necktie and bowtie trends of the 1980’s! From very early on, I adopted the philosophy that (I am going to severely date myself here) Billy Crystal’s Saturday Night Live character, Fernando Lamas (see video below), used to proclaim: “It’s better to look good than to feel good!” I agree 1000%! I have always chosen style over comfort…always!!!
Another thing from my youth that has always baffled me was how much more fashion options there was available to women compared to men, especially in department stores like Macys, Bloomingdales, and the rest. As a little kid, clamoring my way to get to the floor that sold the latest Star Wars or He-Man toys, while riding ‘Up’ escalator after ‘Up’ escalator, I quickly noticed that there were far more floors dedicated to dresses and blouses, than to slacks and ties. Soon enough my young mind just chalked it up to the fact that women were vastly more interested in fashion than men were, and thus they had a lot more to choose from — not too far-fetched — not realizing at the time how the fashion, marketing, and advertising industries actually worked…ahh, the innocent years!!!
For men, the choices were pretty standard: suits, button-down Oxford shirts, polo shirts (blargh!), slacks, sports jackets, jeans, casual wear, coats, and outerwear…and not to forget bland and generic underwear (lucky for me though, I grew up in the ‘Underoos’ generation!). But on the women’s floors there was such a great selection to choose from: Formal dresses, casual dresses, skirts, blouses, pant suits, jackets, casual wear, outer wear, etc., etc., etc….and not to forget an entire WHOLE floor dedicated to underwear and lingerie…not a complaint, just an observance…I wasn’t turning into Silence of the Lambs’ Buffalo Bill or anything!
Thankfully, however, the 1980’s brought on an explosion of new and daring fashion choices, both for women and for men alike…both stylish and sometimes downright awful at times! At least back then there was was a sense of style and appearances…why do you think that the local Mall was a the most popular place to hang out?
Now, flash-forward several decades to the here and now, and you will find that something quite remarkable (and disturbing) has happened to mainstream (read: Day-Crawler) men’s fashion sense…the reality sad that it completely DIED!!!
The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of mundane men in America have gotten extremely lazy with how they dress! Comfort over style is now the accepted new norm! What was once considered proper and respectable fashion has been swapped for whatever one finds clean enough laying on the floor to don on. This trend went from the plaid shirts and jeans obsessed grunge movement of the 90’s, to the clone-like khaki and Oxford shirt / business casual Yuppie wave that still haunts us to this day, to now where cargo shorts, an old tee shirt, and a baseball cap is considered accepted attire befitting to wear on a date to a restaurant and the theater!
As you may or may not know, I own (alongside with my mother) the third oldest French restaurant still operating today in New York City (see the shameless ad on the bottom right side of the blog page). My hyper-traditional French restaurant is conveniently located in the heart of Manhattan’s Westside between the Theater District and Hell’s Kitchen neighborhoods. Suffice it to say, I see a plethora of couples come into my establishment for dinner before heading out to see (an expensive) Broadway show. Over the many years that I have worked as owner, manager, and bartender my my personal little Hell-hole, I have noticed many a things, including the progressive decline in attempts to make an effort of looking presentable when on a date and/or romantic outing.
On all too many occasions I have (and still) observed couples who enter my place and would be quick notice that the woman obviously spent quite a bit of time selecting her outfit, getting ready, apply makeup, etc.. This might take up to 3 hours for some! [Fun Fact: It takes me exactly a half an hour to look this Gothalicious!!!] The “dude,” however, looks as though he went to the beach with his “buds” on laundry day! I kid you not!!! I have actually seen a guy, who was on a date with his girlfriend and going to a show on Broadway afterward, wearing (from toe to head): a pair of flip-flops, a pair of cargo shorts, a worn and stretched out old tee shirt, and a beat up baseball cap which he never removed during the entire course of the meal! I was truly appalled and immediately angered.
His dinner companion, on the other hand, was dressed as the daintiest of flowers! She wore some stylish, yet modest high heels, a cute silk summer dress (considering it was summertime), and carried a small yet eye-catching clutch. All very “Day-Crawler Gazelle,” but still very befitting the occasion and setting. This wasn’t the only isolated incident either! I now see this shabby trend before me happening so often that I had to establish a business / casual neat dress code at my restaurant!
This blatant absence of savoir-faire not only represents a lack of self-respect on the man’s part, but also displays an abhorrent lack of respect for the person he is sitting across from…especially in an upscale setting. Now, if the date or activity was going to a baseball game (blargh!) or maybe a movie grabbing a slice of pizza, I can understand if they didn’t wear prom outfits for that! But, let me be clear in saying that this can go both ways…
…And both ways it does go! Remember just a few paragraphs back when I described the mismatched couple at my restaurant and his lack of respect? Well, I am to boldly state now that the blame doesn’t fall entirely on the guy…the girl is to blame as well!!! *GASP!!!* Before you start leaving me angry and all caps loud comments, please hear me out. On the women’s part there is also a level of lack of self-respect in regards that she has lowered her standards just enough to be seen out in public with someone who clearly does not share the same level of respect for her! She accepts this? She took all of this time and effort to look attractive for him, and to boost her self esteem as well, so why wouldn’t she expect the same in return? Why should she just just accept that “a guy is just going to dress like...a guy” and let him get away with it? That is just an awful excuse as saying, “Well...boys will be boys!”
Like it or not, the type of clothing that we wear out in public is a direct link to the subconscious way we express ourselves…hence why we Goths dress the way we do. It’s a direct correlation to our state-of-mind. But another factor in which we subliminally broadcast to the world about who we truly are is by the type of people we choose and allow to surround ourselves with, be a part of and share in our lives. It’s a reflection of the self. Maybe in most of these cases of mismatched wardrobe mishaps, the couple didn’t have a 2nd or 3rd date if this matter was a big issue or deal-breaker…and maybe both individuals learned a little valuable lesson about themselves, about they should treat others, or how they want to be treated by others! Or maybe they just went on with their merry little lives...
My bottom line on this is that in this exciting and powerful time of the #MeToo movement, people (men and women like) should raise their standards bit to meet their expectations and the treatment that they themselves deserve! That’s why my movement is #ClassOverCrass!
Of course I am grossly generalizing the Day-Crawlers, and I genuinely realize that! There are plenty of mundane men who take pride in their appearance and how others see them…and not all of them are gay either! (JOKE! Just a JOKE!!! 😆) And to be fair, I have seen the reverse happen wherein a woman is lax in appearance in this same regard…but that is for another blog post, for another time…promise!
As for me, however, this is just one more reason why I whole-heartedly LOVE being Goth! I take great pride in crafting and perfecting my dark look, style, and appearance. Many people might (and do) judge me on my style, but the one thing that they can never judge me on is that of being a slob! I also find it reassuring that for (most) Goths, we do share that in common…even if your style is just all-black minimum or you are a “weekend Goth” (a future blog post on this in the future as well) you do have an awareness of style the works for you! Just don’t wear shorts to a semi-formal dinner!!!
See you in the Dark!
Sir William Welles