Our old pal and frequent antagonist Russell Street, always one to jump at a chance to wax theoretical about clothing style, has posted on FNB regarding a rather offhand remark from the "Summer Style" post on this blog.
And hey, I'm flattered. Mr. Street (a man of many aliases) strikes me as rather kooky...
But kooky compared to what on the Weird World of the Web?
So, the offhand remark was about socks. "What the hell" as opposed to "Go to hell," specifically.
The GTH look, to me, is typified by loud pants. The four-color model. The plaids. The pants with members of the animal kingdom embroidered upon them.
If I may borrow from an old photo essay, here is my (fictional) cousin Rufus, here decked out in a parody of the GTH style:
Between the obnoxious tie, the pants, and the fact that "Rufus" is a cocktail-swilling buffoon, this is caricature. But lose the tie, the cocktail, and the addled expression, and you'd have a fairly standard GTH presentation, with the trousers bellowing for attention next to the otherwise conventional items.
But here's a stab at "What the hell?"
Same pants, but with boat shoes, ribbon belt, an oxford cloth shirt as it is a little chilly on this wet spring morning, and a shapeless silk jacket that's more of a sweater with lapels. It still looks too studied, I think, but this in the milder direction.
I can see myself thinking, "Aw, what the hell, I'll get some mileage out of these comfortable but somewhat garish plaid pants that seemed like such a good idea when I bought them."
Perhaps the difference between WTH and GTH will come down to this: WTH is more about one's comfort and quiet, private amusement. GTH is exactly what the name says it is.
As I am currently suffering from the antibiotic treatment for what may or may not have been a recurrence of last year's tick-borne illness, and as the extremely spacy state of mind the treatment produces resulted in last year's "My Screwball Cousins" (widely held to be the only worthwhile Coiled Pleasures post ever - and has somehow disappeared from this site - this link goes to the Lakeville Journal), I will try to concoct some examples of WTH style in the next couple of days. But will thinking too hard defeat the purpose?
OK, let's suppose somebody called and said, "Hey, come on over for a cookout, as you are." Not likely on a cloudy Thursday in early May, but we're all used to a certain amount of "let's pretend."
Cotton plaid jacket, pink ocbd, slightly high water chinos, Quoddys with no socks. The WTH element here? The belt with the trout on it.
And the truck with no brakes and the expired registration, of course.
It actually was a dark and stormy night. Cold and wet this morning, and there are certain errands I absolutely cannot avoid.
The screwy element here is the belt. It's too long, and the loose end flops around a bit. I don't mind, and only if someone's staring at my midsection will it be noticed.
Let's end this unusually fervid exercise in narcissism with a few thoughts from G. Bruce Boyer:
There is no such thing as being "accidentally" well-dressed. Nonchalance is a studied pose, and those men who carry it off have not gotten dressed in the dark...[It] is often seen when some aspect of the outfit plays against the grain of the basic pattern or genre - so long as the difference is minor...Nonchalance is a light tug on the sleeve, not a violent shake by the lapels.