You've seen them swaggering down city streets. Polluting tony boites. Sucking the executive verve from office suites.
I speak of the offensive Tony Soprano-style golf shirts that emerge the moment temps rise above 60 degrees. The dizzying prints, tacky textures, odious color schemes and cantaloupe size logos commemorating happenings like MIDWEST BANK FISH FRY, 2003 transform decent looking men into style liabilities.
I know. I know. Men hanker for comfort and simplicity. And, a uniform of golf shirts allows them to avoid (eek!) a style statement and blend into the environment. But, what mystifies me is the fact that intelligent, successful men cannot differentiate between a stylish polo shirt and a cringe-inducing, tacky golf shirt. Guys who routinely wear ugly golf shirts are delusional. They may have aced the LSATs but they fail Style 101 with clashing colors. How has the ugly golf shirt become the Christian Louboutin of the Boardroom? A cocktail of herd-mentality, aesthetic avoidance and the dastardly spike of corporate golf outings.
An elitist sport, golf greats like Bobby Jones and Sam Snead oozed style. Even now, PGA celebs like Trevor Immelman and Tiger Woods are about classic streamlined looks. Here's the disconnect: Aesthetically deprived guys who champion ugly golf shirts equate the concept of the golf shirt with a successful, country club image. Golf Shirt-erattis partner their vetements de choix with jeans, shorty shorts, swimsuits, khakis and suit pants citing practicality and unparalleled comfort as rationale for their favored attire. The piece de resistance is the cringe-worthy contrast of loud colors and horizontal stripes against the ghostly pallor of winterized arms and necks. Glancing down the street of any given American city, I see handsome men looking like septuagenarian coots due to pernicious prints and supersize logo shirts. The irony? These men are making a style statement. They are perpetuating the idea that American men have the sophistication of the average tree stump.
I don't mind an innocuous short sleeved polo shirt on men. But, American males need to rip a chic page from the sartorial playbook of Europeans and limit their selections to clean solids and classic, mellow stripes. With designers (Burberry, Hugo Boss, Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren and DKNY) and sports manufacturers producing golf shirts at every price point there is no excuse for lame, vertigo inducing golf shirts.
Can style prevail? Dump the bogies for eagles with these rules:
· Corporate golf gear is the axis of fashion evil and should be banned from the American wardrobe. While design teams develop golf shirts for the pros, the manufacturers of freebie corporate golf shirts (the same guys who will sell branded notebooks) craft looks based on colors and patterns culled from E! Fashion Police reruns.
· Heavily logoed gear must be avoided at all costs.
· Get a subscription to Men's Vogue
· Enlist wives and girlfriends to assist with the dumping all shirts that cause even a slight grimace.
· Start a new collection of basic polo and/or golf shirts devoid of poly/cotton blends and potentially hazardous color schemes.