I take it "rant" means what I say as "costume" is what I wear.
It's almost thirty years, but I remember laughing with the roommates about the OPH line about the skier -- something about cotton leggings. Author's not recommending, she's mocking.
Common means common. I'd say trailer-trash if I meant that, and I'd say pretentious ass if I meant that.
Damn near everyone wears denim, which is why I mentioned other fabrics. Just because Lord and Lady Douchebag wear jeans, doesn't change my opinion of the fabric.
And the Yale Club dress code is a statement of fact and is enforced -- as too few are nowadays. Can you wear short in St. Peter's? Couldn't the last time I roamed around Rome. Other problems you have with me are all in your own mind.
Oh, dear. I have touched a nerve, haven't I? So much here merits response that I shall have to do my humble best.
As to being A Questionable Big Man on Forum, I should much rather be A Questionable Big Man on Woman. Unfortunately, my wife tolerates precious little of that sort of thing. In any event, as I top out at 5'8" and rather short of being entirely obese, "Big" is at best hyperbole and at worst an insult. As I have no reason to think the worst of you, I shall assume you are prone to overstatement as is illustrated by your ex cathedra
remarks anent jeans.
This brings us to another point. Other than the aforementioned chatter about denim, I have no other issues with you whatsoever. Not even possible as I have read precisely two of your posts. However, I freely admit that a great many things are all in my own mind. I find this a quite satisfactory and not entirely un-platonist state of affairs.
As to common, I'm afraid we've fallen short of a common meaning. Perhaps I may be excused for imputing a class meaning to common as you immediatly followed the term with a reference to class. And then, of course, followed that reference to class with another. Perhaps, though, I have too much Fussell on the brain.
Truly, though, your mention of a pretentious ass confuses me. I'm not sure whether you accuse me of being one or feel that I accuse you of being one. In either case, you are spot on.
Before moving on to the jeans, the dress code issue deserves a response. In the unlikely event I should be invited, I would unquestioningly respect the dress code of the Yale Club, the Vatican or any other geographic name you choose to gratuitously drop.
Now, jeans. The accusation of a misreading of the OPH is a serious matter in these parts. I shall explain myself and give you a chance to apologize before insisting upon a duel with cufflinks at dawn.
I believe Ms. Birnbach to be fully serious about those denims on the skier as they are completely inappropriate. Yet, you will properly remind me that jeans do not appear in the list of specifically sanctioned trousers for men. This, admittedly is a sticking point. Yet, not only is the Calvin Klein jeans skirt explicitly sanctioned for she-preps, but so are straight-leg Levis in a male cut!
This presents one of the core conundra of OPH Ivy. How would the she-prep know how to immitate a boyish style of dress if she didn't see it on a he-prep? More importantly, how could a well turned-out male preppy be seen in the company of such a sartorially slovenly slattern as a jeans-wearing woman?
Clearly, there must somewhere be an implied right to denims for the male of the species. We must look to the guiding principles of preppy dress. The natural fibers principle gets a foot in the door as denim is almost always all cotton, but the case is not yet made. Then hey, presto! The androgyny principle pops up! Where preppies are concerned, cloth for the goose is cloth for the gander. Look the same and all happily cavorting in denim.
Of course, you might be right. La Birnbach may have been having us on with the skier. But then, isn't the whole book really a joke? We'd better try to confirm from other sources.
Let's look to England as many hereabouts do for sartorial guidance. Roundabout contemporaneously with the OPH, Barr and York pumped out the Official Sloane Ranger Handbook
. This handy tome lays out what really matters for the Limey cousins of the preppies. I'm on solid ground here as Henry is expressly permitted denim jeans in warm weather. Hooray! And Peter York wouldn't mislead us. Or would he?
There is a rival text from the same period. Ms. Lowrey's Young Fogey Handbook
is ominously silent on the subject of dungarees. She lists officially sanctioned and condemned apparel. Denim jeans appear in neither list.
Now, you will claim with no little strength (and to judge your book by its cover, no little personal experience) that no fogey worth his salt would be seen in the heinous things. You must, however, concede that the language is ambiguous and we must look to extrinsic evidence to construe its meaning. But where?
As chance would have it, the latest number of The Chap
arrived in my mail box this very forenoon. Now, this publication is the very latest on fogeyish culture and dress. Indeed, it is really the only currently running authority on the subject. I trust its bona fides
will be accepted.
This issue, No. 41, features on page 49-50 an interview with Nickolas Grace who famously portrayed Anthony Blanche in Brideshead Revisited
. Not, mind you, the recent debacle, but the real Jeremy Irons deal. When asked what three items of clothing he would save if his wardrobe caught fire, he replied, "My Ceruti dinner suit, my jeans
and my leather jacket." (Emphasis added.) Surely, such an endorsement from such a man in such a publication is patent proof of place for denim in the soigne closet.
Ah, Pale Male, I anticipate your next line of attack. All of these publications may be accused of satire, parody, jest. Where then can I look for non-joking evidence to support my position?
Germany, of course, where nothing is ever a Joke. Let us look to BerNhard Roetzel who displays all of the customary Teutonic light-heartedness and joie de vivre
of a young Hegel. Herr Bernhard, in his definitive volume, Gentleman: A Timeless Fashion
, refers to jeans, at page 149, as the perfect thing for a night out, walking about town or going to museums when paired (to get this thread back on track) with... A DOUBLE-BREASTED NAVY BLAZER!