We Are Old Men Who Are Dressed Like Fashion Gods

The above headline is our comment of the week courtesy of “Old School Tie.” This is the energy that should course through us every time we get dressed!

Let me tell you a little story. Two summers ago the small remains of my family vacationed together in Newport. I’d been there before, to attend the jazz festival with Charlie Davidson, and was shocked that I could rent a surfboard and spend an afternoon in the ocean. It had been some years since leaving LA, where I’d learned to surf, and I stumbled across the spot by accident. Caught the first wave I went for, and after a few hours it took every ounce of willpower to get myself home and dressed for the festival, as otherwise I would’ve stayed out until I could barely make it back to my room.

But this time it was late in the season and the surf rental spots were closed. It was a lovely day, and many guys had their boards out. I couldn’t find the right opportunity to ask someone to borrow his board, so I wondered off to a remote corner of the beach somewhat discouraged. The water seemed colder, and there didn’t seem any point to going in without a board to have some fun with. Then something bubbled up from my unconscious based on all the Jungian reading and Jordan Peterson videos I was watching at the time. I also happened to be dating a Greek girl. A summoning of cosmic challenge welled up in me and I felt a sudden energy coursing through me seeking release. I muttered something like, “OK, Poseidon, let’s see what you’ve got,” and dove in and began swimming as hard as I could, with no purpose other than to do the act of swimming and feel the oceans waves and currents about me. When I came out and came out of my god-inspired flow state, I felt like I had achieved or experienced something pregnant with meaning, when all I’d done was swim around a bit with none of the fun I’d experienced a few years before when I could surf.

The experience stuck in my head, and eventually I came to realize that I had successfully “invoked the gods,” and altered my state of mind from listless and unmotivated to coursing with primal energy that transformed a moment of boredom into an enlightening experience. When I got back to New York, I rushed to tell my fight instructor that I’d discovered why man invokes his gods. The old man didn’t get it at all, muttering something to the effect that “There are no gods, only us.”

A year or two passed, and with more study and more experiences, I came to see that what I’d done was not simply invoke the gods — or archetypal energy forces that lie, usually dormant, in the mind and body — but rather sought to imitate them. Here’s a quote from the great scholar of comparative religion, Mircea Eliade: “In imitating the exemplary acts of a god or of a mythic hero or simply by recounting their adventures, the man of an archaic society detaches himself from profane time and magically re-enters the Great Time, the sacred time.”

So invoke the gods of the Ivy heyday next time you get dressed, seek to imitate them, and someday in the future your Facebook selfies might be considered the avatars of a god. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD

Image from Norman Hilton

4 Comments on "We Are Old Men Who Are Dressed Like Fashion Gods"

  1. Kudos to you sir, Mr. Old School Tie.

    Christian, the Norman Hilton image you selected looks like a religious icon. Angel wings appear to sprout from his shoulders and there appears to be a halo or auru around his head, like a Zeus of fashion illustration.

  2. Michael J. Lotus | July 20, 2019 at 5:25 pm |

    “Invoke the gods of the Ivy heyday next time you get dressed …”

    Something like this, maybe?


    Oh, private bankers, grey-clad, ventless, 3 roll 2 jackets, and well shod in 1958
    Oh, white shoe corporate lawyers, working late with loosened ties and crew neck sweaters in 1961
    Oh, Madison Avenue Ad men of, with pocket squares perfectly rumpled, in 1963
    Oh, weekend WASPy men in Madras jackets holding cocktails glasses in the afternoon, in 1965
    Oh, boys of Autumn amidst the falling leaves in Loden green coats
    Oh, boys of Summer on green grass with OCBDs with the sleeves rolled up
    Oh, girls of Winter wearing your date’s blue blazer over your shoulders
    Oh, girls of Springtime, with your boyfriend’s rep tie tossed on a chair of your dorm rooms
    Oh, old men with cardigan sweaters out at one elbow, smoking pipes on the porch
    Oh, Steve McQueen in your Barracuda jacket, be with us
    Oh, William Holden, in your Brooks Brothers suit, be with us
    Oh, George Peppard, in your balmacaan rain coat, be with us
    Oh, Jack, on your boat, with you sunglasses and khakis, be with us
    Oh, Jewish tailors with your chalk and measuring tape, be with us
    May we walk tall and spry, with panache, yet understatement
    May we cut a clean, crisp silhouette
    May the well cut jackets conceal our regrettable girth
    May we echo the great days gone by
    May we smile inside when we say, oh, this old thing?
    May we make these days better than they would be without our vintage neckties

  3. The Earl of Iredell | July 21, 2019 at 10:17 am |

    Good Grief, Michael, what a nice piece of work!! Thanks for posting this.

  4. Old School Tie | July 21, 2019 at 11:27 am |

    Aw, shucks!

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