June 14, 2006
Take It Off Fashions
Summer is here and so are the hot dudes in this year's fashion showcase. It's really a shame there's no Hamptons gay bar where the boyz can strut their stuff and push the envelope.
Nevertheless, we do manage to make our presence known. Certainly at Two Mile Hollow and Fowler Beaches, but also on the Main Streets, eateries and watering holes of the rich 'n famous that dot our community. Speaking of the beach (or pool), swimwear still sanctions baggy trunks long enough to cover the knee. But splashy tropical prints are giving way to preppy plaids. We keep seeing those surfer-dude trunks slipping off to reveal the lean new swimsuit. It resembles a cummerbund around the critical areas of the lower torso. Think of a Speedo that's grown little square legs. Worn low on the hips, it covers only a bit more, looks a lot hotter. (It leaves better tan lines, too.) They're mostly in basic black or white, but vivid solid colors are also available. Prints look tacky in this sparse design. Aqua, orange, bright yellow can be spotted walking down the beach from a mile away. The younger and skinnier, the brighter the color choice — it's always been like that. If you've got it, flaunt it. But the big hunks prefer the trunks.
If you want one word to sum up the biggest trend this season, that word is "madras." It's everywhere. Named for the province in Southern India from whence it originates, this colorful plaid ranges from bold to conservative. Always a mainstay of the Blue Bloods, it's constantly seen whacking away at golf balls, tennis balls and cocktails at the most 'exclusive' clubs. (That reminds me of the line from Auntie Mame where she quandaries, "Exclusively what and restricted to whom?").
It's classically available in thin, breezy cotton fabric but, since it's very popular again, the variations include linen and even silk. The boyz who slither down the runways like to mix it up — a small print shirt with large print shorts and even a madras belt circling the equator. Watch it — this gets tricky. All good fashionistas know what makes a breakthrough statement on the catwalk can look like a clown costume walking around Sag Harbor. Better stick to one element in madras, supported by pastel solids echoing one of the colors in the print. Note: walking shorts are much less sloppy and more tailored this year!
Here's an incentive to do more curls at the gym: this is also the year of the naked arm. Sleeveless shirts are the rage. Look through the pages of Men's Vogue, Interview, Vanity Fair or Abercrombie's catalog and just count the bulging biceps on display. It's a-okay to do your vagabond/bohemian thing and create this look from old, tired shirts you've had hanging in the back of your closet. The look of having just been in a street fight and had the sleeves ripped off of you is very chic. Disheveled in general is very big. Some people call it "Ratty Chic." Messed-up hair, shirttails half-in and half-out, a thrift shop necktie used as a belt — it all works. It's especially effective in those crisp nautical colors now the rage. Guys in Chelsea and The West Village are sporting cropped pants — a kind of gay male interpretation of capris. You'll be seeing more of those out here as the summer progresses.
Footwear is easy: sandals of all types are still hot, especially those retro European schoolboy things. Flip flops always work; from those $5.00 plastic jobs hanging in Rite Aid to substantial woven leathers from the likes of Tommy Bahama. The sturdy soled, hi-end leather ones in black are even acceptable for evening wear. Guys at all the prissy restaurants, clubs and summer galas will don them with linen or raw silk slacks and billowy white shirts. GayViews says this about that: The City is the city and the country is contrary. And that's just the way we like it!