I knew I was in trouble as soon as I turned the page and saw the headline.
Let’s be clear: There’s fashion, high fashion, haute couture – whatever – and then there’s the place a thousand miles from that. That second one is where I live. Button-down shirt and a tie, and we’re good to go. Let’s not get carried away.
So as I flip through the weekend papers, I only quickly scan the latest about art, lifestyle, leisure, wine, the sale of a California mansion by celeb A to celeb B, and, of course, style. Whatever that is. (Yes, I do read the book reviews first. So I’m old. Sue me.)
But I felt the Earth wobble on its axis when I read a Wall Street Journal headline – “Trout And About” – next to a photo that screamed this cannot be right.
Yes, friends. In some trendy circles, fashion designers are selling high-dollar fly-fishing vests for everyday wear. They are finding customers willing to bite.
It’s all about the pockets, and I get that. Moderation is a virtue, we once were told, but no more. This is a bad idea whose time has come.
The Journal says these things descend from a humbler version of the fly-fishing vest, with pocket after pocket used “for stockpiling lures.”
Let me tell you something. I have fly-fished – badly but doggedly – for years, and actual lures make up about 3 percent of the stuff in those pockets. The rest is ancillary – tools, floats, weights, line and leaders, maybe a peanut butter sandwich – that one must have. This is the little fly-shop stuff for which one happily goes bankrupt because that one extra thing might be what it takes to catch an actual fish.
But I digress.
We all have pocket stuff: phones, pens, keys, handkerchiefs, chapstick, loose change, lottery tickets, grocery lists, packs of gum, pocket knives, what have you. Women carry purses, but most dudes I know aren’t willing to go there.
So what’s the dude-acceptable workaround? If the concern is about whispers and stares, I’m not sure showing up for church in a 15-pocket fly-fishing vest will work.
Then again, if you could slip a Starbucks frappuccino in there, you might win a convert or two. You go first, and let me know how it works.
Who knows? Maybe this will catch on. It’s a darned sight better than cargo shorts, and you still see those.
My fear is that this will become all the rage. Prices will rise, the industry will over-expand, the winds of fashion inevitably will shift, and the whole thing will collapse.
Then one day I’ll go looking for a non-Gucci fly-fishing vest – just standard Cabela’s, please – and find none to be had. Another excuse for why the big one got away.
Jeff Fox is The Examiner’s editor. Reach him at 816-350-6365 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He’s on Twitter @FoxEJC.