WASPs, Men’s Mags, And Bad Clothes

There are several big media pieces worth our looking at. As they came across my desk one by one, a certain theme emerged. The three pieces in question concern WASPs, men’s magazines, and finally a men’s magazine’s view of WASPs, among other things.

First up is City Journal, which reports on the end of men’s magazines, which have lost their way and their relevance in an era in which mainstream culture is so full of contradictions that nothing means anything anymore:

When the culture changes,” Esquire contributing editor Wesley Yang wrote earlier this year, “each of us must either seek an accommodation or choose a hill to die on.”

It’s a lengthy and serious read on the changing state of both media and American manhood, and worth your time if so inclined.

As for the WASPs, they were once America’s ruling establishment. Then they were  overturned, but everyone still likes their clothes. For the November issue of Harper’s, Doug Henwood writes “To Serve I To Rule: Why We Miss The WASPs.” The sartorial reference comes right at the beginning:

Those sockless people in Top-Siders, whose ancestors’ names and portraits adorned the walls, were entirely new to me. I made friends with some, but I was not free of a corrosive envy of their habitus of ease and entitlement.

As to whether you find yourself missing the WASPs, that probably depends on whether you are one. Writes Henwood:

WASPs once made for a fairly coherent upper class: concentrated in big cities and their suburbs in the Northeast, products of the same prep schools and colleges, likely to choose from a small pool of marriage partners, guaranteed of a decent inheritance and, for men, a sinecure at a respectable firm. Social ties were stable and for the ages. That has all given way to rule by money.

Pour yourself your WASP libation of choice and check the piece out here.

Finally, GQ has a new article called Why Do Roger Stone And Co. Love Bad Clothes? On The Uncle Fester Of Savile Row And The Right’s Sartorial Choices by Rachel Tashjian, one of the new female style writers GQ hired instead of G. Bruce Boyer (see first referenced article, about the decline of men’s mags).

Tashjian writes:

Why is the far right so into clothes? And why are they so bad?

Stone clearly loves the rules, the prestige, and the exclusivity of bespoke clothing. Spread collars, pocket squares, and pleat-front trousers aren’t things you see even at white-shoe law firms or on Wall Street anymore; in the United States, this kind of natty, by-the-obscure-European-books dressing is now an eccentricity. He even gets his jackets made with three-roll-two buttons, where the top button is placed under the lapel and never used—the kind of tailored menswear-head detail that guys mostly get just to flex their arcane knowledge (or to try in vain to look like James Bond). Nonetheless, these looks have been somewhat subdued even for Stone, who’s worn everything from a black beret and leather jacket to a top hat and full morning dress—attire that’s so difficult to get anywhere beyond the confines of Savile Row that you’d almost consider it a costume. Stone’s obsessive dedication to the sartorially garish certainly makes it seem that way—costumey.

And as for the WASP tie-in:

Notably absent from the piece is Michael Anton.

Also, from what I’ve noticed after 15 years of men’s style blogging, how you react to a man’s clothes has less to do with what he’s wearing and more to do with how you feel about the man himself.

Oh, and one more newsy item about WASPs: if you thought the W and P in WASP were bad enough, now the A and P are up for replacement. — CC

15 Comments on "WASPs, Men’s Mags, And Bad Clothes"

  1. Don’t forget about the recent NY Times article, “As men become canceled, so too their magazines.”


  2. I read the article a couple of days ago. Clearly, Mr. Stone, in my opinion, is not an example of correct sartorial criticism. He spends a lot of money on his wardrobe on savile row but he doesn’t know how to properly wear it. The writer has taken advantage of this to criticize the far right and not so much Mr.Stone. It is really a political article and a “hit Piece” on Stone. The far right is not any more into clothes than the far left. Just look around. There are examples on both sides of public figures attempting to be distinguished savile row gentleman of high purpose using a bespoke wardrobe to pull it off. Their money is wasted the moment they begin speaking. It is disappointing that GQ would inject political bias into a style article.

  3. To quote from the Harper’s piece:

    ‘When the rude masses began arriving from Eastern Europe, the WASPs got paranoid that they were, to use the phrase chanted by the rioting Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017, about to be “replaced.”’

    Take a look at your last line, there, Christian. And before someone accuses me of anything, no, I’m obviously not calling you a Nazi – hat’s just silly. But “replacement” is a loaded word, especially when – let’s see – bemoaning the loss of traditional masculinity and the loss of freedom to be “Anglo-Saxon.” Oh, and hiring women to be journalists. Oh, and posting an article from a conservative think tank’s publication that complains about how “feminists” have “forcibly desegregated formerly male-only spaces.”

    I agree with Dan that it’s too bad that GQ would inject political bias into a style article. Funny, though – where have I seen someone do that before?

  4. Ezra Cornell | November 11, 2019 at 2:33 am |

    There is much here that’s noxious, but I’m just stuck on why anyone would set a Google alert for “Anglo Saxon.” That’s frankly creepy.

  5. That’s not a Google Alert. That’s a link to a Google News search for “Anglo Saxon” so that you may see coverage from various news sources on the recent debate about replacing the term.

  6. Ezra Cornell | November 11, 2019 at 5:17 am |

    I see. And we’re supposed to feel better knowing that. Very well then.

  7. Old School Tie | November 11, 2019 at 6:22 am |

    Ah, Stone. Not too difficult finding pictures of him demonstrating the old prole gape. I have to say, he looks great in a BD collar, those spread collars do absolutely nothing for him.

  8. …and they wonder why we don’t take them seriously.

  9. This blog could benefit from less political and depressing content. I love the style, the clothes, the history, but these regular alarmist posts about the “death” of something, and how our world is falling apart, really do no good. Style blogs and forums should be about clothes and style, not whining about how terrible it is to be a man in the 21st century!

  10. That fake hair. Ugh. The only word for Stone these days is “ghoulish”.

  11. Charlottesville | November 12, 2019 at 1:44 pm |

    Interesting and a bit sad. The men’s magazine I most miss is the late-80s monthly M which was better, in my opinion, than either Esquire or GQ, and is now long gone. The last few times I looked at GQ and Esquire I was frankly repelled by the vulgarity and bored by the copy. I know of no current source for good commentary on men’s clothing, aside from this blog and a few other spots on the web. The WSJ, NY Times and Washington Post, when they bother to address men’s style, are generally dreadful; obsessed with celebrities and flashy designers, or focused on exercise/sports clothing. The British quarterly The Chap can be fun for its tongue-in-cheek anachronism, but is probably not the best source for wardrobe advice. The catalogs from J. Press and Ben Silver are probably the best print sources for clothing advice.

  12. Vern Trotter | November 12, 2019 at 1:45 pm |

    I also take City Journal but am a couple of issues behind and have not caught this. I am more concerned about what we are going to do when Rupert Murdoch dies and his left wing sons and daughter in law take over the Wall Street Journal, the London Times and the New York Post. Maybe he will leave them to key employees. I am going to hear Alan Dershowitz speak tonight and will hear what he thinks.

  13. Behind Enemy Lines | November 12, 2019 at 6:59 pm |

    . . . a certain theme emerged. . . .

    . . . from what I’ve noticed after 15 years of men’s style blogging, how you react to a man’s clothes has less to do with what he’s wearing and more to do with how you feel about the man himself.

    — CC

    The people who wrote those articles sure are feeling a lot of hate toward old white guys in trad clothes. They seem pretty smug about replacement too.

    Guess we’ll see, hey?

    Meanwhile, the smarter of their colleagues are quietly learning how to code.

  14. Henry Contestwinner | November 14, 2019 at 4:31 pm |

    Has anyone else noticed the uncanny resemblance of Roger Stone to Commander Data? Take Data out of the Starfleet uniform and put him into a suit & tie, make his hair white, fatten him up a little…

  15. Apopros — I keep getting issues of GQ that I never asked for, and certainly never subscribed to. When I browsed through these very thin issues (much thinner than I recall from the past), I cringed. I saw mostly hideous clothing, complete lack of style – only an “anything goes” collection of trendy crap worn by trashy, overly tattooed boys (not men).

    Moreover, I have never seen such pathetic attempts at being “woke” coming from a men’s magazine. Saw more black models than any other race / ethnic group, despite this group only representing 13-14% of the general population. God forbid I should see a blonde or blue-eyed white male model. That’s just “white supremacy”, you see! Practically forbidden. And any blonde white female model in an advert will most certainly be paired with a black male model. You know, to show more “wokeness”. Re: An intentional disregard and disposal of white men. Many fashion editors and advertisers are obsessed with being as “woke” and as anti-white male as possible.

    I have seen so much anti-white, anti-WASP, anti-male drivel online and in print these past 5+ years that it almost seems like parody now; and I’m not talking about scorn from a few resentful Jews who couldn’t get into the country clubs of yesteryear, or wrath from unattractive childless feminists who can’t keep a man. No, it is coming from many of the “white guilt” moneyed leftists themselves, who think by pandering to their image of the “oppressed”, they become their voice.

    All of this is nothing short of PATHETIC, and the sooner it ends, the better. Of course, I’m likely to get the annoying, weak catchphrase “OK, boomer” thrown at me for my opinions by the oh-so-woke and the desperately-trying-to-be-woke, despite the fact I’m Gen X. But alas, I’m a WASP male, so I’m automatically public enemy #1 to them.

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