A Fashion Faux Pas

Boyleing Points

First Communions, weddings and other dress-up things happen around now. And just like clockwork, just like the opening of the beaches, you get a seasonal reminder just how inept Rockaway men are when it comes to fashion. It’s no secret —though I, probably, should have tried to keep it one. 

The Rockaway Times is free thanks to our advertisers. All things considered, I prefer to keep them happy. And God  knows, I try to patronize them. But sometimes I, uh, slip up.

We landed a nice account, Karako Suits. You’ve passed their store in Howard Beach or seen their TV commercials, I imagine.

The lady who placed the ad said, "We will be running with you for a very long time.” Until she read my column. 

As my fellow writers will attest, feedback from readers can be scant. It’s nice to hear someone reads your crap. Usually. 

Now, I’m no fashion critic. I’m confessing upfront that dressing up means wearing dark sweats instead of light gray ones. 

Things haven’t changed since a few years back when a buddy was invited to a black-tie affair and he figured black jeans and a navy blue jacket were good enough. Unfortunately for him, the event was off the peninsula. I think someone handed him keys to park their car.

I noted at the time, the shortest list in Rockaway would be the Men’s Best Dressed list.  No matter the occasion, whether it’s a formal dinner or somebody’s wake or funeral, you’ll see men dressed like they’re going to play softball.

You basically cannot be the worst dressed guy at anything. Somebody will always be more of a bum than you.   

In Rockaway, it’s much more radical and unsettling to dress like you know what you’re doing. People give you the look, like what, you think you’re somebody with that suit? They might count your suit buttons and snicker. You wonder if having four buttons makes you a guy in a 21st century leisure suit.

Somebody at a dress-up event wearing torn dungarees gets the warmer welcome every time. Oh wait, I’m so out of fashion touch, they’re not called dungarees anymore. They’re jeans. I don’t know, man… I’d rather put on dunges than jeans any day.

For dress up, men slide into corduroy jackets or khakis that a carpenter might wear and think nothing of it. The significant other says, you really have to buy some new clothes. I guess they’re just trying to make you shrug.  

When you get to whatever function, it’s about two minutes before you spot a guy in —ok, jeans—and maybe a shirt that somebody else bought for him. See? Look at that guy. Look at how he’s dressed. The significant other ignores this.

And that guy, the one in jeans, is always happy! He never looks self-conscious. He owns the down and dirty look.  Every man wants to be him. He doesn’t have to loosen his tie or take off the jacket to get comfortable; he already is.

So a few years ago, I wrote about the glory of Rockaway shabbiness and soon got an email. The Karako lady. Out of the blue she says they’re going to hold off on running ads. Huh, why? “I think Rockaway is too beachy.”  Wonder where she got that idea…. She either read my column or was invited to a Rockaway formal.

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