As evidence that I’m turning into a proper old bloke I’ve started tucking in my shirts again. Now and then. I’m still what you would call a fashion plate.
I was there back in the eighties with wild hair (which I have retained, and maintain is still fashionable, particularly if you are about sixteen) when suddenly blokes appeared in public with their shirts untucked. Mostly they were derelicts or chunky chaps who revelled in the new slimming caftan look.
Soon everyone was doing it. If you weren’t wearing a suit you were untucked.
I’ve always paid very close attention to fashion.* This was a revolution.
One of the casualties was belts, and more specifically belt buckles. Back in those glorious slim-hipped days the seventies were still a thing and I had giant metal belt buckles with V8 clang and Ban The Bomb groove. Leather belts were made of leather and were wider than a mile. They were a thing.
The trouble is you couldn’t see them anymore. We were all wearing caftans.
One of the other casualties was warmth. I was living in Melbourne and instead of being tucked in like you were wearing a wetsuit the wind whistled off the Yarra and under your untucked shirt and into your bones. I was fucking freezing for fashion. And I was slim. I didn’t need to wear a caftan.
I had to. You couldn’t buy a shirt long enough to tuck in anymore. The labels moved from the back collar to the front hem. Groinwise. It was literally hip but for me it didn’t throb like a V8 buckle.
I assumed the fashion industry knew what it was doing. **
We moved to Hobart. There were men untucked everywhere. It was even colder. Luckily it was more glorious, to compensate.
Our house had an open fireplace and finally untucked shirts came into their own. Standing by the fire the warmth floated up inside your flimsy cotton long sleeved shirt and embraced you. It was like wearing an electric blanket turned up to three.
A decade later we moved to Sydney, for work, and to see what men were wearing up there.***
They were untucked too, although more of them wore suits than in Hobart, and were smartly tucked in. The City looked good. I joined the brigade and performed. After I had solved the world’s problems via the ABC I decided to retire to our leaking workers’ cottage in the Inner West.
And here I am. I’m not sure why I’ve started tucking again. It’s Autumn and getting cooler (said the sook) but I think it’s more that I’ve got a long body and I’ve outgrown fashion. And I have some nice belts I’d like to show you.
*No I haven’t.
** No I didn’t.
*** Not really.