Firstly, I should say: I like boys. A lot. I like their lackadaisical weekend ways and their mischievous humor and their perplexing misconceptions about girls. I’m not talking about the male species as a whole: I’m talking about boys — the ones who are always up for pizza at 2am or bitching about how they have to shave or that their hair is a quarter inch too long. And, being someone enamored of clothes, I also like boys’ closets. I’m fascinated by their Byzantine systems of organization, their stockpiles of socks and the softness of their t-shirts. I’ve shopped in the men’s section for slim-fitting blazers, the perfect striped shirt and even a great fedora. Truth be told, I’m so enamored of menswear that I’ve long bemoaned the lack of enthusiasm among my male friends over their own wardrobes. If I owned something as universally flattering as a tuxedo, I would wear it all the damned time. Like, to the grocery store.
Thus it has been with no small amount of glee that I’ve been watching an epic shift in the attitudes of the average boy toward his attire. Gone are the days when I’ve begged a guy friend to invest in a pair of jeans that actually fits — instead, I’m finding myself on boy-led tours of great stores in Park Slope, or having my brain picked about where to find a great vintage suit. Perhaps it’s the return of vintage, and with it a throwback to 60s suits and Cary Grant-esque polish. Perhaps it’s the resurgence of Britpop chic and Savile Row tailoring (I mean, since when did anyone outside of GQ even know what Savile Row was?). I’m finding my low expectations constantly confounded by showing up to a brunch meeting and thinking, “This dude is wearing a fitted blazer. Fuck, yeah!” Or better yet, “Those jeans seriously fit him well. Like, he shopped for those.” Who knew we would ever live in a world where David Colman would be writing an article for The New York Times about the resurgence of the necktie? Suddenly the fall collections are filled with rich cashmere sweaters, slick gray suits and debonair hats… and boys are actually buying them.
Granted, the world of commerce has certainly started leaning on the Land of Man in recent years, from metrosexual beauty extravagances to $500 sneakers, but recently it seems the Realm of Dude has stopped making fun of, say, David Beckham, and started admitting that George Clooney is kind of a well-dressed cat. Whether it’s Mr. Clooney, the New Europe or an increased availability of great-looking jackets, I don’t know. But I notice. I’m the one in the corner, clapping.