Experimenting with fashion of ‘Man-pris’



By Ray Kugler

NEW YORK – When getting ready to leave my apartment on the weekend, I have a basic checklist. Is my fly up? Do my socks match? Have I wiped the breakfast crumbs from my face? On a recent Saturday I added, “Does this polo shirt match these baby blue capri pants?”

Such is the price of fashion.

This stylistic experiment is not something I entered into lightly. When asked to try this new metrosexual look, I responded with something unprintable. But if it was to be, I had to have a few questions answered first: Should I wear shoes or sandals? What about socks? Do I go tucked or untucked?

European designer Sonja de Lennart created the capri pant in the late 1940s. It was named for the Italian Isle of Capri and also meant for women. In recent runway shows, capri pants have been shown on men.

That brings us to my hairy ankles. My mission: To find out if men could take to a higher hemline. Will an average sized man running everyday errands on a balmy Saturday morning draw any attention while wearing clam diggers?

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Fortunately, I did not come up short on style advice. I’m told that the proper footwear is the most likely place to go wrong. Stick to slip-on sneakers or boat shoes, and under no circumstances should one wear socks. I avoided that pitfall completely by choosing to wear my trusty Chaco sandals.

I went untucked because sandals and bared ankles just didn’t jive with the relative formality of a tucked-in polo shirt. My fashion guardians considered this acceptable.

Of course, it’s not the first time my hairy ankles have been exposed to daylight. I frequently wear shorts on hot days. If I’m doing something athletic, those shorts may even reach the top of my knee, at the southernmost point. And here’s another disclaimer: I’m not positive I was technically wearing capri pants, clam diggers or “shants.”

When the nice folks over at Tommy Hilfiger agreed to let us borrow a pair of capri pants, I was skeptical that they would have anything in my optimistic size 36. After the package arrived I discovered that my version of the short pant would be basic slim fit chinos rolled up a couple of times.

So, it is with this makeshift garb that I puffed out my chest and hit the street. I’m not sure what I expected, but what I received was absolutely nothing. There was no response. There wasn’t anyone yelling “nice pants,” not even sarcastically.

I kept waiting for someone to ask me if I was expecting a flood because we all know that God’s wrath for a fashion sin is ankle-deep. If anyone noticed, they saved their chuckles until after I had passed, but I’m pretty certain no one noticed.

The further I went, the bolder I became – even stopping to adjust my pant roll. My ankles were going to be cool even if I wasn’t. One piece of advice kept repeating itself in my head: “Wearing a trend is all about confidence” – and making sure your fly is up.