Recently GQ said John Updike was in as a style icon while Jack Kerouac was all washed up and played out. And last week the magazine’s web site put up a slideshow. No new images for you guys perhaps, but maybe for the younger and/or less literate out there.
Remains to be seen if fashion followers take up his rumpled literary look, of course.
The image above, by the way, is from 1988. — CC
The Ultimate Trad:
Confidence + Cool = Style Icon (most often). Updike fits the bill and so does Kerouac. With that said, I totally agree with GQ that Kerouac, McQueen, Newman, and etc… are too easily the “go to” style icons and that image-seekers should expand their range. History is chock full of great style.
He had a great sense of style and fits nicely into the tradition of traditionally dressed writers and academics, One of the people that made me think that writers just get it.
The thing to keep in mind about Updike is that he was both 1) a clodhopper from Pennsylvania Dutch country; and 2) a complete nerd. He pretty much adopted the J.Press/Andover Shop style in toto to cover up his own innate lack of cool. Its a tribute to the style that he ends up looking so great.
The vast majority of us adopt the style, rather than being born into it. It has nothing to do with being or not being “cool”. The very notion of being “cool” is anathema to Trads; it belongs to the adolescents: Preppies.
Updike a clodhopper?
A clumsy, coarse, rough, unsophisticated bumpkin?
Hardly, my good man, hardly.
“Updike a clodhopper? A clumsy, coarse, rough, unsophisticated bumpkin?
Hardly, my good man, hardly.”
I am surprised you would dispute this. Updike certainly didn’t.
Although he went to Harvard Updike certainly had the common touch, otherwise he wouldn’t have been able to write so convincingly about common people. His Rabbit didn’t go to prep school and never went to college. Growing up in a small town in Pennsylvania and then being able to attend an Ivy League school probably helped give Updike his unique perspective. His mother was an aspiring writer and used to send off stories regularly, if only to have them come back. Growing up in a literate household gives one a kind of class different from that which you aquire if you’re raised around old money. I think the most interesting 20th century writers are those who were on the outside looking in, who weren’t to the manner born but who were intrigued and bemused by those who were. As far as dressing, part of Updike’s charm is that he doesn’t get it just right, or maybe that he doesn’t care to.
What a stylish bum!, meaning a great quality, gladdening, and style of jagged independence.