Gentlemen, Newport is an absolute dream. I’ve been in a daze since I arrived. Stars, moonlight, ocean, sunsets, church bells, mansions, cottages, ancient trees, snow, crows, and rabbits running around. May I go deeper into dreamland and never wake up.
Back in the real world, alas, things are changing and for the worse. But then I’ve always believed that, and when Trad Man launches, I’ll finally have an outlet for it. Others seem to be shell-shocked. I popped into the J. McLaughlin store and chatted with two sixty-something ladies running the shop and they couldn’t wrap their heads around how poorly people dress today, and can’t admit that the trend is all but certainly irreversible.
When I got home, a reader sent me a link to a Washington Post story about how dress codes on cruise ships are tearing cruise ships apart. Evidently everything is being torn apart these days, and it’s not even January 12 yet.
From the Post:
Formal nights, a holdover from a grand cruising tradition, are becoming less formal — when they exist at all. And while that might be welcome news for travelers who just want to relax on vacation, it’s a sad turn for many who love to dine with a dressed-up crowd.
“There has been a bit of an evolution in the dress code overall,” says Colleen McDaniel, executive editor of the news and review site Cruise Critic. “It doesn’t mean that everybody loves that. And in fact, many people who visit our message boards who are very much in favor of a formal night — and a formal dress policy — really, really don’t like it when people show up who are not in formalwear.”
Celebrity Cruises, which describes itself as a “modern luxury” option, changed formal night to “evening chic” in 2015, allowing designer jeans and making a sport coat or blazer option for men. Holland America Line introduced “gala nights” in 2015; while a jacket and tie there is preferred, it is not required. Carnival Cruise Line changed its formal night to “cruise elegant” several years ago, adopting “more of a resort-style dress guideline.” Norwegian Cruise Line has a “dress up or not night.” And Royal Caribbean International recently started holding a “wear your best” night on cruises of five nights or fewer, with the message: “Say goodbye to Formal Night, and hello to Wear Your Best. Get glamorous. Be chic. It’s time to shine — your way.”
I think we need to face it that men who enjoy dressing well according to inherited standards are fast becoming preservationists. In fact, I’ve got another storybook of fiction coming out about that very thing. It’s being printed as we speak so expect the — shall we say — formal announcement soon. — CC