"Has Johnny really nothing to satorially rebel against?", or "Is 'the look' dead?"

Discussion in 'The Observation Bar' started by Edward, Dec 3, 2019 at 5:55 PM.

  1. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    Been mulling over this recent John Waters quote for the last few days:

    "When I was young there were beatniks. Hippies. Punks. Gangsters. Now you're a hacktivist. Which I would probably be if I were 20. Shuttin' down MasterCard. But there's no look to that lifestyle! Besides just wearing a bad outfit with bad posture. Has WikiLeaks caused a look? No! If your kid comes out of the bedroom and says he just shut down the government, it seems to me he should at least have an outfit for that. Get a look!"

    It's interesting how every single, strong youth subculture since the invention of youth subcultures has had 'a look', but now.... What? Has the counter culture become so moribund since the eighties that it still thinks it's rebelling by wearing tshirts and jeans? The undergraduate kids I teach still seem to dress broadly the same as the way they did back in the 90s when I was one of them. Rare to see anyone doing their own thing now... I had hoped in our day that dictated, mass consumer 'fashion' was dead, but it seems perhaps not?

    How do The Kids appear where you are? Anything striking / creative/ vintage inspired?

    p.s. .... this is not a hatefest on The Kids or The Moderns, I'm just intrigued that dress no longer seems to be such a big part of identity for them.
     
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  2. scottyrocks

    scottyrocks I'll Lock Up

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    What I see most is mostly sports-oriented stuff, and all loose-fitting. Team jerseys, if basketball, over another loose fittimg t-shirt, and sports-oriented, baggy, shapeless shorts and high-end sneakers sans socks, or just low enough socks that you can't see them.

    And they were this stuff 12 months a year here in the chilly northeast, sometimes with a too-large, shapeless hoodie over it.

    Blue jeans are considered dressing up.

    Hats, when worn, are flat-brimmed baseball-style caps, large enough for the tops of their ears are inside the hat.
     
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  3. belfastboy

    belfastboy My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    I am not able to describe it but there definitely is a 'look' to the millennials working in today's digital world. I am recently retired but last year was working in a high rise office building that had a number of software development/game studios etc contained within. I needed to access one of the floors but it was a secure floor with a locked out elevator to those without a pass. It was a catch 22 as I needed to reach that floor in order to get the pass. I stood in the lobby and noticed a group of young men dressed in such a way that my first thought was...…"I betcha they work on that floor". I entered the elevator with them and sure enough one of them presented his pass to access the locked out floor. I exited with them on the desired floor and walked into the suite with them as a group. As I said, if pressed, I could not really describe the 'look' but damn it sure was obvious to me at the time who these guys were. I think that the look is uber casual, entirely unstudied....perhaps anti fashion....but even in their rejection of a fashion becomes a fashion and also becomes a very big part of a group identity. So that even in it's rejection it becomes a 'look' in spite of or because of?
     
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  4. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    My Kids at the theatre tend to favor Goodwill band t-shirts -- often with the neckband cut out -- denim jackets decorated with sardonic buttons, and knit winter caps all year round. For a while the Army-style "jeep cap" with the dopey little visor was popular, but now the trend has returned to plain knit hats with no folded cuff at the bottom and the crown worn high or, occasionally, pulled flush with the top of the head. Ripped jeans are still popular, along with winter boots. There are a distressing number of people around here -- and not just kids -- who wear flipflops all year round. Frostbite remedies are popular at all local pharmacies.

    Hoodies worn with stained jeans and tall rubber work boots are the universally recognized uniform of a sternman on a lobster boat. On Friday afternoons during the season you see a line of them at the bank depositing fistfuls of wrinkled twenty-dollar bills.

    I myself am the only person I know who ever wears a sports jersey -- I have an old flannel Red Sox shirt, the real McAuliffe Uniform Co. thing, not licensed merch, that I always wear when we go to a game. And sometimes under my winter coat for insulation when I'm shoveling snow.

    Those who wear glasses favor larger lenses as opposed to those annoying little rectangle lenses that everyone was wearing in the early 2000s. The 50s style "Malcolm X" glasses are popular, as are some of the translucent colored frames that half the kids I knew in the 70s wore. My attempts to convince the Kids of the advantages of 30s-style rimless specs have not been successful.

    The only people I see wearing visored ball caps are men in their 50s and over. "Dad hats," the Kids call them, those dull cotton ones with fishing or golf logos on the front, and an adjustable leather strap on the back. We sell a Dad Hat with the theatre logo on it that has become moderately popular.

    I never see fedoras or any kind of brimmed hat, but I do see furry Russian-type hats and even full-animal-skin Mountain Man hats from time to time.

    The only local subculture I see evidence of is "skater kids," but they don't really look much different from anyone else, except for the visible skin wounds, and the occasional scent of Bactine.

    There is a "hipster" faction around town, mostly men who wear thick, shaped beards, horn-rimmed glasses, tapered haircuts, and red-and-black checkered lumberjack shirts. These are not kids. These are almost universally men in their early forties trying to impress women fifteen years their junior with their worldly ways, their esoteric taste in music, and their encyclopedic knowledge of marijuana. I tell our Kids to stay the hell away from them.
     
  5. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    Over here, a lot of the hipsters have moved on from vintage workwear styles to what they call 'normcore'. Normcore is, in essence, "if beige had a wardrobe...", and they all look straight out of a Gap ad circa 1995.
     
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  6. belfastboy

    belfastboy My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Not to mention that hipster faction are likely 'woke progressives'....I tell everybody to stay away from them!
     
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  7. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    Nah, they're too busy trying to round up investors for their "cannabis startups" to be political -- unless it's to tell you how they worked the streets for Ron Paul, and to invite you to check them out on Gab. The Kids are woke enough to know when they're dealing with a phony.
     
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  8. tonyb

    tonyb Vendor

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    Sometimes we tell more than we know.
     
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  9. Benny Holiday

    Benny Holiday My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    I was only thinking a little while ago about the lack of subcultures amongst youth now; it seems like a 1980s and earlier phenomenon at least in this country. That's not to say they don't exist at all but they're neither as numerous nor as colourful as they were in past decades. As a teenager then in the midst of the Rockabilly subculture, I grew up in a city populated by vibrant youth tribes that were well documented in the media and were extremely visible to society at large. There were punks and rude boys, mods and skinheads, Westies, goths, and psychobillies, all with their own distinctive looks, music, and places to hang out. And of course there were what we used to call the 'smoothies', the square kids who just listened to the top 40 hits and wore the latest fashion. It was great to belong to a group with a such a strong shared interest - the cars, the clothes, even 'Atomic-Era' furniture - and I gotta say we had a real blast! Lots and lots of fun.

    Some of my friends back then:
    Vince and Pedrag 1987
    072.jpeg

    Christos, Troy, unkown, and the late Georgie Moondog 1988:
    074.jpeg

    Rick Stone mid 1980s:
    083.jpeg

    And yours truly in the very early 1990s:
    Wes 1a.jpg
     
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  10. belfastboy

    belfastboy My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    It is interesting in this global world in which we live how certain "tribes" look the same in multiple areas of the world. A skater boy looks much the same in Seattle as one does in Glasgow, A Goth is identifiable at a distance whether they are in Munich, Brigham City Utah, or here in Vancouver. With the older Millenial the hipster look is pretty much the same on either coast or either continent.
     
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  11. 3fingers

    3fingers One Too Many

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    No one has mentioned flannel jammie pants and house slippers as day wear.
    We have a faction mostly of college students who favor this mode of dress for pretty much any occasion. Also, a prohibition on the use of a comb or hairbrush seems to be involved. Along with irregular bathing habits. It's a look alright.
     
  12. GHT

    GHT I'll Lock Up

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    Subcultures have always been youth's antithesis, who wanted to look like their parent's generation? But as Edward observes, the general dumbing down of dress standards today means that if youth wanted to rebel they would have to become a latter day Beau Brummell: Kids looking like a Dandy, bring it on.

    At the social events that we attend the young men really do dress like Lounger, Fabiovenhorst.
    fabiovenhorst.jpg
    And what a pleasure it is to see. In fact he outshines a lot of the fellows. What is different today is that the young ladies don't seem to spend hours getting their 'look' just right, or perhaps they do, but any of them would be hard pushed to better Amy.
    Amy-Winston-Hart.jpg


    Wes 1a.jpg
    Priceless!
     
  13. Bushman

    Bushman My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    I think the loss of youth culture has ties in the tightening of the control society has over our youth. In the 60s and 70s, it was no big deal to be arrested en masse protesting a war, or burning your bra, or fighting for societal change. Now, protesting brings serious jail time, with the possibility of being beaten to death by some rogue enforcer who will never be held accountable for it. Lighting something on fire in public will get you charged with arson, and resistance is met with the hard crushing iron fist of sacrificing your life. Young people aren't allowed to formulate their own anti-authoritarian subculture, because if they get arrested for whatever charges the sheriff deems necessary, it's no longer just a weekend in jail. Now, a rap sheet follows you. You face job loss, and risk future employment opportunities.

    Let's face it, employers are far less accepting of weekend resistance than they were in past decades. They watch your social media, they track your actions, and any little tiny act that might somehow damage the company image is met with immediate termination. In the era of corporate overlord, one simply can no longer afford to be seen as a hippie, punk, or gangster. In today's world, it's better to keep your head down and your tie straight than to stand out in a crowd.

    This is something that is ingrained into our children from the age of tiny tots: don't stand out, don't act out, follow direction without question, and you'll go further. 40 years ago, a 6yo acting out in the classroom was given detention. Now they call the cops, and you get a rap sheet a mile long before you've reached the 6th grade.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2019 at 1:20 AM
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  14. tonyb

    tonyb Vendor

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    I take it you don’t approve?
     
  15. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    I see the pajama bottom thing a lot, but it's mostly on women my age, who do so as a way of saying They Just Don't Give A S**t anymore. I've never in my life seen a kid go out of the house dressed like that, including the many college students we've had on the theatre staff. No, I take that back -- I went to school with a kid forty years ago who'd come to class in pajamas and a bathrobe, with a box of Sugar Smacks and a bottle of milk. He'd pour the milk right into the box and slurp it all down while the teacher just stared at him. I often wonder what that kid's like today, now that he's had a while to let himself go.

    Nobody wears bedroom slippers here. I don't even think anybody wears them in actual bedrooms. Thick socks are worn for loungewear. I've never even owned a pair of slippers, not since I was about six years old and they had Snoopy faces on the toes.

    We do have a number of sixty-and-seventy year olds who kick their shoes off during the movie and put their gnarled toenail-fungused feet up on the seat backs in front of them. I go thru a lot of spray bleach.
     
  16. Bushman

    Bushman My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Likewise the majority of flannel pajama wearers around here seem to be from people of older generations, including my own father. However, I have seen a handful of younger adults wearing them.

    As for slippers, opinions may differ, but I've always considered moccasins, like the ones LL Bean sells, to be slippers and not outside footwear. Though this may be on me as I tend to wear them exclusively as slippers.
     
  17. 3fingers

    3fingers One Too Many

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    When it gets right down to it, I really don't care if they wish to appear in public looking like they just climbed out of bed after a tough night. We are all free to make ourselves look as slovenly as we care to.
    What I do take issue with is the expectation many of these same people have that they be considered equally as candidates for employment and other things with the guy or girl who took a bath and got dressed before coming to the interview.
    As I have been telling the young people in my orbit for years regarding large visible tats, gauged ears, crazy piercings, etc.
    You're free to do it, but you are not free of the consequences of your decisions. And hollering about life not being fair isn't going to change the fact that your odds of not living in your parents basement at 35 improve considerably by knowing when to let your inner rebel out of his cage and when to keep him under control.
     
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  18. tonyb

    tonyb Vendor

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    I’m upwards of a full decade too young to have ever been what was then called a “greaser,” but I recall thinking that it was about the last thing I wanted to be. Those guys came across as clownish to me, a la the Pharaohs in “American Graffiti,” who had themselves (and few if any others) believing that “everybody wants to be a Pharaoh.”

    I found it curious that the greaser look — slicked back hair, engineer boots, jeans rolled at the cuffs, a pack o’ smokes rolled up in the T-shirt sleeve, etc. — made a resurgence of sorts three or four (closer to four) decades later. Aficionados of the look might tell me I’m all wrong, that the 1950s and early ’60s greaser look ain’t at all like the retro rockabilly style, and those students of the look might rattle off a long list of clear distinctions that would be wasted on all but themselves.

    Gotta admit, though, that I kinda like the rat rod thing, and a fair amount of greaser/rockabilly style is found among that bunch. It’s automotive art, accessible to people of modest means. That’s the point of it, it appears. It’s as if to say, “hell yes, we’re trailer trash, we wear it on our sleeves.”
     
  19. tonyb

    tonyb Vendor

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    I’m no fan of the extravagant piercings and tattoos, either. I can’t help but think that many youngsters so adorned will some day look upon it all as permanent reminders of unfortunate youthful impulses.

    But, as we’ve observed here before, our opinions don’t much matter. My dewy-eyed bride, some 18 years my junior, has a few tattoos, most of which make a political or religious statement. I rarely notice them anymore.
     
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  20. tonyb

    tonyb Vendor

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    Thirty or more years ago I had a couple of pajama tops I wore as I would any other shirt. But those were satin pajama tops, not flannel, in solid colors with white piping and big white buttons.

    Hell, I’d do that again, if I came across the right pajama top.
     
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