Dave Barry

Too big for your britches

This classic Dave Barry column was originally published Sunday, October 13, 1985

It's time once again for our annual fall fashion guide, so I'll wait right here while you all go pour kerosene on your current wardrobes and set them on fire.

OK? Everybody back? Good. I am especially excited about the New Look for you ladies this year, so we'll start with you. You men can just squat around naked for a few paragraphs.

Ladies, you will be pleased to learn that this year, we are no longer asking you to dress up in men's suits similar in style to, but slightly larger than, the ones Fred MacMurray wore in Son of Flubber. Nor do we wish you to paint your faces and hair in hideous colors, as was recommended last year by certain Japanese fashion designers clearly still smarting over World War II. No. Everything has changed, because "something different is happening in fashion this fall, " in the words of Vogue magazine, which is in charge of this particular facet of life.


Wouldn't it be great if it turned out that the Vogue staff weighed an average of 310 pounds per fashion writer and sat around in faded housedresses swigging Hershey's Syrup right out of the can? Ha ha!


Speaking of weight: Vogue has announced that this fall will be "a season of body consciousness, " meaning that you women who weigh more than 105 pounds including full makeup should immediately slash your wrists with pruning shears. As for the rest of you, listen up, because I am about to give you the fashion password for this fall:


Everybody got that? Write it down! You might forget!

By the way, we are not talking about just any jackets. This is a special kind of jacket, so special that even the folks at Vogue cannot describe it coherently, except to say that " . . . They are not like anything you already own." (And a good thing, too, since what you already own is currently a wad of smoking carbon.) I have read the Vogue article on jackets several times, and basically, if I had to come up with a single phrase to describe the kind of jacket I believe Vogue wishes you to purchase for this fall, it would be: "The kind of jacket advertised in Vogue magazine at upwards of 400 beans a pop."

Here are some other fall fashion rulings from Vogue that you should be aware of:

* HAIR WILL BE LONGER. We fashion experts no longer wish to see the close-cropped, dyed-blond, modified suburban-punk style. We never really liked it anyway. We just thought it might be fun for a while to have you ladies go around looking like hormonally unbalanced versions of Steve McQueen. But no longer. This year, as Vogue explains, there will be "no more fads or 'look of the season, ' but adopting trends to work for YOU." The July Vogue includes 12 pages of the specific hair trends it wishes you to adopt so they can work for you, once you get over hiding in your bedroom and crying for a couple of days.

* PREGNANCY IS OUT FOR FALL. Hats are back in.


OK, ladies! Get out of here, before we change your Look again! Now for you men. First off, let me report that we continue to see a steady stream of full-page fashion advertisements from Mr. Calvin Klein consisting of darkish photographs of partially disrobed males lounging around with facial expressions that suggest they are experiencing the worst intestinal discomfort of their young lives. It is very difficult even for experts such as ourselves to interpret the fashion message Mr. Klein is beaming down to us via these advertisements, but as best we can make out, he wishes us to continue buying his products.

Other than that, men, the main fashion concept for you to bear in mind this fall can be summed up in two words:

Big pants.

Yes, men: If you try on a pair of pants and find that there is too little room for a mature Labrador retriever to climb in there with you and stick its head out the fly, then you do not have pants of a sufficient volume for this fall. Over these pants, we wish you to wear big, bulky shirts and big, bulky sweaters and big, bulky jackets and coats you could cover the infield with, so that you are toting a total fashion load of at least 80 pounds. And we wish for you to slick your hair straight back and stare at everybody in the defiant, hostile manner of the models in the male fashion advertisements, a manner that says: "If you laugh at the way I am dressed, I will lumber after you and attempt to fall on you."

So much for your Formal Look, men. For your Casual Look, I see in GQ magazine that we are going to have you dress up in designer cowboy outfits -- rugged, textured ensembles that evoke the mood of the Old West, where men were men, and men wearing ensembles such as these would have been roped and dragged across Nebraska for sport.

© 2010, Dave Barry

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