A few weeks ago I received an email from a Bermuda-based clothing brand, and, in light of our current island-based miniseries, now is the perfect opportunity to address it. It’s also a follow-up to my essay on the “bro,” which I thought was posted not so many months ago, but in fact dates from last summer. Tempus fugit.
The email depicted a group of handsome, healthy young men dressed up in more-or-less traditional Bermuda kit —, at least that as practiced by Anglo-American types paying a visit to the island. Present are the gold-button navy blazers, the bright go-to-hell shorts, fun neckwear, and serious shoes. But a closer look reveals that while the general elements are present, the distinguishing details that link the look to tradition are desafinado, or, as the song goes, slightly out of tune.
The company is called Tabs, which bills itself as purveyors of The Authentic Bermuda Shorts.
I’m not entirely sure what the point is, as perhaps the images simply raise a lot of questions. Is it that they represent a bastardizing of tradition? Or are they commendable in their effort to maintain tradition, but simply sad in the execution? Perhaps the issue is simply mediocre taste. Which leads us to the notion of how intimately taste and tradition are intertwined. Perhaps a decline in tradition always brings about a decline in taste. Alan Flusser would likely agree, having pointed out that the average man of the ’30s was impeccably dressed by the standards of today, as the art he was practicing — the art of dressing — was then “in form.” Tempus fugit, indeed.
Forgive me for sounding morose. Perhaps it’s because I’ve recently revisited Spengler. Or because, were I in the picture, I’d jump into that beautiful blue water before I even got my clothes off. Regardless, like neo-prep, this neo-Bermuda style is certainly a branch of the trad tree, though one whose fruit is not young and ripe with the blossom of springtime, but rather the overripe, gamy, fermenting fruit of late autumn. — CC