Saturday, June 27, 2009

Purple Shorts and a Purple Tie are not OK

I am not a fashionable person. I am sitting here writing this in a t-shirt I have owned since I worked as a janitor in high school. That’s about eight years ago. My shorts are stained. Personally, I’m impressed that my socks match.

Living in Sweden has made me a bit more fashionable though. For example, I own a yellow shirt now. Considering it isn’t blue, black, white, or grey, this is a big step for me.

All that being said, even I know that some fashion choices aren’t ok. A fashion faux pas if you will. And the other night night, something caught my eye. At first glance, I was convinced it might be the Grimace. But I was wrong.

I looked closely and instead of a large fat purple blob creature that loves McDonald’s hamburgers, it was a regular Swede. About my age. About my height and build. Short dark hair, conspicuous because of its lack of product. A decent size guy over all. For some reason, the fact that he was somewhat tall made what he was wearing look even more ridiculous.

My initial reaction to a purple creature wasn’t too far off. The guy was wearing purple shorts. Which, in and of itself, is just ridiculous. But it got better. Or worse, depending on your point of view. Because along with his purple shorts was a matching purple tie.

My old man never taught me much about fashion, but he taught me when to wear a tie. And while never explicitly stated, it was implied that a tie should never be worn with purple shorts. It’s a good lesson really.

The evening continued and I was transfixed by the purple man. It was like watching a train wreck. Here was as guy who was over 6 feet tall, wearing a purple tie to match his purple shorts while dancing around. He looked like a he should have just stepped out of a miniature car and started making balloon animals with a group of clowns. Instead he was dancing. With a girl. Who, by the way, was wearing bright red shorts. But no red tie to match.

That’s when I realized it. I will never be European. At least not that kind of European. I have an EU passport. I speak a European language. But European fashion escapes me. Despite my yellow shirt.

Welcome to Sweden. And purple pants.

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  1. A tie should never be worn with shorts full stop in my opinion. Unless the ensemble is being worn by a little boy under the age of five. So...unless this dude was the world's tallest 5 year old, I'm going to have to agree with you on this one. I won't even touch the purple. I don't get the color choices of anyone outside of the US or Canada, really. However,it is nice to travel outside the US and know no one will notice if I wear insanely strange color combos. Makes packing easy. Just throw whatever weird looking designer crap I have in my luggage, then throw it onto my body once I get there. People are always asking me for directions in the native language, so what I'm doing must work. Though in some countries you'd think the blue eyes & red hair might be a tip off that I'm not a local. ;) I guess it really is all about the weird clothes.

  2. outragous!still fun to look and have a good time.

  3. Haha, I just love when people dress up different and in wierd ways. And I do it myself sometimes. Being the swede I am ;)

  4. I am not sure about the US but here in Canada we do have a more European fashion sense and although I have yet to see purple shorts and a tie, summertime brings out a lot of "interesting" fashion statements. Right now the hottest colours are pinks, teals, and aquamarine, and that is for men by the way. Everyone seems to be wearing white dress shoes, belts, and trainers too. Oh, and the hair, well, it seems as if David Beckham did it, they are all doing it.

  5. We're seeing all of those colors here (in the US), too. On guys. Even purple. But I have no compunction about making fun of a guy wearing purple or pink. It's good fun...and if he has the cojones to wear pink or purple, he can probably take whatever I can give.

  6. @E – agreed. Completely. And I feel fairly confident that this guy was not the worlds tallest five year old.

    And I love that all it takes for you to fit in is some weird clothes. That’s just good work.

    @Mike – it does keep me entertained. Which is all I can really ask for.

    @Izi – that’s what I like to hear. This guy did seem to be enjoying himself.

    @Néstor – Id like to think though that everyone can agree that shorts and a tie just aren’t ok. Crazy colors. Beckham hair. Fine. But shorts and a tie? I just cant accept that.

    @E – I’m going to agree with that also. If you want to wear those colors fine. But then you also have to be able to joke a little bit about it.

  7. You should see the Spring/Summer 2010 collection from DSquared2. They have quite a few cargo shorts, white short-sleeved shirts, ties, woolly socks, and hiking boots all together! For those not in the known, Dsquared2 is a Milan-based fashion label created by two Canadian twin brothers, Dean and Dan Caten. They are like a religion around these parts since they are from Toronto. I guess a hearty "blame Canada" is in order:)

  8. Blame Canada indeed.

    I love that there is a fashion company based in Milan run by guys named Dean and Dan. Sounds like they should be running a sports bar in St. Louis instead.

  9. Funny enough Hairy, I agree with you. My partner went to The International Academy of Design in Toronto with them and apparently those two are an absolute riot. My hairdresser used to go to raves with them in Toronto and they used to wear some rather outrageous costumes. I guess it reflects on their designs.

  10. Interesting...different...who cares? The thing that I love about living in Sweden is life is carefree and if you want to go around wearing purple shorts and a tie you can, you don't have to conform, you can just be...

  11. I agree-- a tie with shorts is odd. *Purple* tie with shorts is just weird.

    I find it funny that in a country where (supposedly) it's considered undesirable to stick out from the crowd in any way, people would make such bizarre fashion statements.

    Maybe the not wanting to stand out is no longer true... Maybe everyone dresses oddly, so tie w/ shorts is normal... (No, I can't believe *that*.) Maybe-- even in reserved Sweden-- there are always a few who like to make a show...

  12. Floridian in FinlandJune 29, 2009 at 12:13 PM

    Maybe I'm old fashioned - it's been 4 years since I've been fishing around in the dating waters and the metrosexual/androgynous fad didn't catch on until afterwards (at least in the US). But I really can't take Swedish men seriously because of the way they dress. I think to some extent, women still revel in the 'damsel in distress' scenario where a man can rescue them from any situation. How can they do that so well coiffed and in skinny jeans? I think the Danes have it going on though. They have a nice balance between stylish and manly.

  13. @Néstor – Maybe they should open up a design oriented sports bar. There can’t be too many of those out there.

    @Anonymous – I really don’t agree. Very few people actually stand out in Sweden. In fact, most people look like they are walking around in a uniform purchased from H&M.

    @Michael – I think you hit it at the end there. There will always be people who like to stand out. No matter where you are. Even in Sweden.

    @Floridian – I’m with you. I tend to be more of a manly man I think. Or at least I like to think of myself that way. And really, that’s all that counts.