Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

New York Fashion Trends Just Aren't Cutting It

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

New York Fashion Trends Just Aren't Cutting It

Article excerpt

I'm chronically unhip. When I was coaching Little League on the North Side 20 years ago, my second baseman showed up one day with a moon and star shaved into his hair, and I realized that Na'lan was cooler in the fifth grade than I ever would be in my life.

That's OK. Being unhip has shielded me from tragic mistakes. I've never owned or worn a leisure suit, puka shells or those bicycle shorts that scrunch up your nether region until you look like you've strapped on a shar-pei.

So missing out on a trend doesn't generally surprise me. Still, I was stunned to see a front-page story in The New York Times the other day that bore this ominous headline:

"Men Step Out of the Recession, Bag on Hip, Bracelet on the Wrist"

Excuse me. I realize Pittsburgh is not Manhattan. I'm aware local trends in fashion are somewhat dependent on which Steeler is ascendant so people know which jersey to wear to work on Friday. But I wasn't buying this story by Stephanie Clifford. She may be a terrific reporter but she is congenitally unlikely to appreciate the level of bravery it would take for a guy to walk among his colleagues with a new bracelet on his wrist and a graphic print bag like the one that a runway model was toting in the Times photo.

Don't get me wrong. My workaday ensembles don't just come together. I have two musts before I put on anything: "reasonably clean" and "reachable." (Fashion tip: Shirts needn't be ironed in winter; that's what sweaters are for!) But this alleged social trend only reinforced a cardinal rule of journalism: never trust a trend story.

The Times quoted Nicolas Travis, 24, a business school student who runs the blog Style Flavors, who said of this purported breakthrough in male bags (not to be confused with mail bags): "It doesn't look like you borrowed it from your girlfriend."

As that sounded harmless enough, I went to his blog and the first thing I read was this: "I don't write about suede belts often. …

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