Cookie banner

This site uses cookies. Select "Block all non-essential cookies" to only allow cookies necessary to display content and enable core site features. Select "Accept all cookies" to also personalize your experience on the site with ads and partner content tailored to your interests, and to allow us to measure the effectiveness of our service.

To learn more, review our Cookie Policy, Privacy Notice and Terms of Use.

clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Frank's Old Men of Summer Rant

Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.

You know Frank—he's been writing about menswear, sales, television, new shops, the recession, Lisa Loeb, the Golden Girls and getting blasted for Racked for almost two years. Well, we think it's time you got to know him and his quirky-irreverent views on life and fashion even better with his column: Love, Frank. Taking the form of an open letter and always signed with love, Frank will rant about whatever style-related conundrum he encounters in a given week. So buckle your two-toned leather Moschino belts, folks, it's going to be ? Something.

An offender via the College Fashionista at left; Valentino via GQ killing us at right

Dear Summer,

Today is the Tuesday after Labor Day. And that means it's time, once again, to say goodbye to barbecues, white wine, white jeans and really good tomatoes.

Except not: We have at least a month of barbecues and good tomatoes ahead of us. And how long has it been since we put our whites away at all; let alone as early as the Tuesday after?

As for white wine—well, how long has it been since we put our whites away at all; let alone as early as the Tuesday after?

The point of all this: A good riddance to the warm weather trend we've come to hate the most.

It actually all started last summer: Guys started dressing like their dad's did in the '70s. Their shorts got shorter and shorter; their shoes looking more and more like something you might find on the $25 rack at the shoe repair shop. And their socks? The socks so brazenly accompanying those short-shorts and those Naugahyde loafers and lace-ups? Dress socks. Finely-knit. Black and brown and (shudder) nude. Hiked to the shin.

Now, far be it from us to chastise those who dare push the boundaries of personal style—but really? Shorty-shorts covered in tiny random pockets, chest baring, baby-sleeved button-downs tucked within an inch of their lives, shoes direct from the closet of your grandfather's insurance adjuster, and old man socks? Add suspenders and you're firmly in backstage-with-Don Rickles territory.

Oh, wait—these guys? They're wearing suspenders, too.

So, that was last summer, and it hurt. This past summer? Well, they added the Hawaiian shirt to the look. Suddenly city streets were teaming with 27-year-old geriatrics in cruisewear. More-enterprising vintage and thrift stores were pulling separate racks of the garish floral shirting and showcasing them—making looking 70 even easier for the lazily quasi-stylish.

It got to the point that we didn't know who to ask for help at Trader Joe's—because every other person was festooned in exploded Hibiscus flowers.

(Until we realized we weren't even in Trader Joe's—it was a Whole Foods; and not a single one of those guys was getting paid to look like a tourist at Diamond Head.)

We were hoping that this Hawaiian shirt chapter would disappear with the summer sun—it should, shouldn't it? No-one's going to put one of those on in November—or so we hope. And by next spring, people will certainly come to realize their lapses in judgment. That those shirts were a poor investment, a little embarrassing, and should probably go straight back to that thrift store.

And then we finally caught up with the rest of the spring menswear collections from Paris and Milan.

Specifically—Prada, super relevant, features shirts and pants and jackets covered in palm trees and surfboards. Jean Paul Gaultier, not really that relevant but it'll probably inspire some designer at Topshop, features sherbert-hued photographic prints and garlands of hibiscus traveling up and down cotton pants. And Valentino, also not exactly relevant because who buys (or sells) Valentino menswear—but omigod we want this entire collection so someone please tell us—features subtle photo-printed palm-trees-at-night scenery.

So, in fairness, we guess we can let a little Hawaiiana slide next summer. But only if it's Valentino. And I'm the one wearing it.

· Love, Frank [Racked]