Tuesday, July 07, 2015

The Well-turned Male Ankle

I've never been a dedicated follower of fashion to wear for myself, but I have always been fascinated to watch as fashions change. This is possibly an extension of my interest in art and design in general, and in people - in general.

I make an internet stop at The Sartorialist blog every day without fail (it's mainly a street photographer's take on fashion around the world, with occasional pics from fashion shows of the best and brightest included). Seldom do fashions photographed there excite me enough to want to emulate them, or in the case of male fashions, encourage husband to do so, some leave me gobsmacked in fact. Most of the middle-aged guys photographed there, though, and especially in Italy, are very stylish in an eternally classic but ruffled kind of way. Ya don't see that sorta thang on the streets of Oklahoma - I'll guarantee that! Oklahoma's version of classic and ruffled is a pair of baggy shorts and a tatty tee shirt!

Anyway, getting to the point.....a piece in the BBC Magazine attracted my attention a while ago - I saved the link in order to feature it here someday:

A Point of View: Why don't men's trousers cover their ankles any more?

I'd been noticing this strange trend in photos at The Sartorialist, and occasionally on TV guys, for men to show their ankles, and for their trouser legs to look way too tight. I'm not talking about jeans - tight jeans are another matter. I'm talking about the business suit type of trouser. Ankle showing goes on whether socks are worn or not. The sight of a nicely turned male ankle can't disgust anyone, but with foot ensconced in a regular-type shoe (Oxford, brogue, whatever) it does tend to look a wee bit incongruous. With sandals or even loafers it's less strange. The "fashionable" jackets too, by the way, seem often to be a size too small. It's all the opposite of some late 1980s and early 1990s fashions when baggy jackets, wide padded shoulders and baggy trousers were all the rage. What'll come next I wonder? Back to the baggies? Fashion cannot stagnate, that'd be very bad for biz!

This has been a brief ramble of a post - not sure what commentary can be expected, unless, perchance any male commenter loves to air his ankles, or any female is a secret fashionista. I shall be interested to know these things.

Anybody remember this song by The Kinks?


Sonny G said...

I'm certainly not a fashionista but the 3 men you have pictured all look so "drippy". now, that might just be a saying my family uses so to make it as clear as possible as to what that means in internet speak-- " EWWWWWWWWWWW "
they might be really nice people but the thought of one of them touching me makes my skin crawl - sorry, that's the truth..

Twilight said...

Sonny ~ "Drippy" - yes I know that word - it's used in England too.... e.g."Oh...what a drip he/she is!" :-) Those young men do look faintly ridiculous, I agree. But then so do some young women today when wearing those very, very, very high heels. And the multiple tattoos so many young people delight in just makes me wonder what they'll look like 50 years on. :-/ But fashions have always been like this - the young (or some of them) love to shock or mildly disgust the older crew.

mike said...

We had "high water" pants & jeans as a fashion when I was in high school, and tighter than normal, as if the pants were a size or two too small, both waist and inseam. Fashion repeats. I'm not opposed to the exposed, bare ankle, but I don't like socks with shortened inseam pants. It's meant as casual attire for the well-groomed male...not for formal events. Quite a number of famous guys have this look when they appear as guests on the late night talk shows. The photos you provide remind me of Pee Wee Herman's outfits ( http://media.photobucket.com/user/HonoreInvestments/media/jay_leno_pee_wee_herman.jpg.html?filters[term]=pee%20wee%20herman&filters[primary]=images&sort=1&o=51 ). I like the tailored look of men's suits being more form-fitting, not tight, but just right. I think the baggy look is to accommodate the majority of American men that are overweight, as a tailored form-fit would look ungainly on most of our plumper male specimens.

mike (again) said...

P.S. - Prior to the "high water", short inseam jeans of the 1960s, long inseams with turned-up cuffs were popular. James Dean's "Rebel Without a Cause" made jeans an everyday and trendy item. He made accessorizing jeans with T-shirts a trend, too: a cigarette pack rolled into the sleeve was a signature of the cool crowd.

"In initial wardrobe tests for Rebel Without a Cause, James Dean actually wears his jeans with a thin turn up. This was more polarising in latter years of the twentieth century as skinheads adopted the look, but in 1955 it was just another way of wearing your denim. However throughout the film it should be noted that Dean’s jeans are always turned down; Jim Stark has no time for garnish. He knows that the essence of cool is minimalism."

Twilight said...

mike + mike (again) ~ I didn't realise this look had been around before, but am not surprised, as you say fashion does repeat - like history (or it rhymes anyway).

Oh yes - Pee Wee Herman has/had the look down pat! I kept having a vision of Stan Laurel in a similar look, but when I checked Google Image couldn't find anything to substantiate my vision, so maybe it was Herman I was envisioning - although I haven't really seen much of him other than the odd photo or video clip, so i doubt it. Maybe it was Chaplin...just checked - no it wasn't!

One male American fashion from the past that I see in old videos and films and always astounds me is the garishly checked jacket/sports coat. I'm even more astounded when my sartorially ultra-conservative husband who will not even countenance a checked or subtle woven pattern in a shirt these days, chimes in with "I used to have one of those!" :-D

Jeans are another animal altogether - the shapes and styles of those change pretty much season by season, and it's easier to accept those changes - one expects it, as long as denim remains the material, all is well. I suppose James Dean did make jeans cool, yes.
Back in Dean's day denim would be in its natural 100% cotton state, I bet - with indigo dye of varying hue - no spandex, or other elastic ingredient included in the weave as now, in many cases. The subtle stretch effect will make for more comfort, and even tighter leg shapes, but for less authenticity.

Another American male and female fashion from the past I've learned about since being here - and from husband's vintage photo collection is the saddle shoe.