Who is Jeffrey,
and should we listen?
A glimpse into my past and current thinking on the matter of Dandyism.
I should start by claiming that I know nothing of modern men's fashion for in my honest opinion there isn't any! The fashion industry has failed us all!? Unless you want to call that common drivel of pant slack, with unbutton shirt hanging out, loosely tied neck-tie, herd gear clothing--fashion? If so, then don't presume that you know more then me, for I've got shoes older than you, lots of them; most of them are older then me! Though, if you strive and wish for something classic and true, and would like to know more about Antique or Vintage fashion, then I might be just the man of intrigue and knowledge for you to pull up a chair and abide awhile and listen?
So, you might be curious to know my credentials on men's fashion, I have none! My professional degree is in Broadcasting Radio & Television with an emphasis in Production and Animation; topping it all off with an AA in University Studies. I owe all that I've learned on men's attire to years of personal research from being intriqued with eclectic hobbies as well as my extreme penchant for being painfully accurate at most things that I attempt to do; along with those few gentlemen that have been doing this longer, or just might know more then me that have contributed to my on-going success in this lifestyle. Yet, two years ago I was asked to speak about my accumulated knowledge and to show my collection of Gentlemen's accouterments to the Greater Bay Area Costumes Guild of Northern California; there's a lot of knowledge in this group and I was very honored that they wanted to hear me speak. My discussion was mainly about the history, researching, and how to attain Gentlemen's accoutrements in this day and age for all who were in attendance. But I digress...
I will not bore you with every detail of my existence, instead I will tell you the basics that I'm rather proud about. I was born in San Francisco at Kaiser on Geary St. in March of 1966; and grew up in a small town just south on the Peninsula. I come from a family that is middle class, and I was raised with three sisters; to which we all were lucky enough to have studied six years of dance, mainly tap, jazz, and waltzing; my involvement started from being dragged to the dance studio; literally. These dance lessons introduced me to a lot of music and old movies then that I probably would never had had any interest in, plus my grandmother said she knew Fred Astaire; both were from Omaha, NE. By age ten, I was doing theater and after graduating from High School I was called to audition for a role in 'Of Thee I Sing,' a local community theater production that went on to be preformed in front of 10,000 people at the Democratic Convention for Mondale, Ferraro also in attendance was Jesse Jackson in 1984.
I first really got into fashion while attending church, I probably learned how to tie a neck tie around twelve years of age. I distinctively remember that when I was graduating from eighth grade, I had to have an off-white suit, and it was paired with a stripe blue shirt and tie; it was mid '79, and my parents complied. My next calling was as a senior in high school, I had aspirations of becoming a lobbyist, so I went on a school program called Close-Up that lets you view the government for a week. This led my folks to have to purchase more clothes that would be appropriate for Washington DC; a new suit, shoes, top coat; I looked really sharp and like a young Republican. During that trip I had a lot of girls from TX interested in me; that was the other state we were rooming with, and also participating in the program. This female admiration was quite a boost, for most students from my high school knew who I was from being involved with student government and sports, but they didn't know me on a personal level, so their eyes were opened; I had a girlfriend in jr. high, just not one again until senior year. While at the nations capital, I sat on numerous debates, heard Jesse Jackson speak at Georgetown, and got onto the floor of the House of Representatives; which would never happen now! Another big deal was going to a New Wave/ Punk Rock store called Commander Salamander in George Town that blew my mind away! Prior to taking my senior photos (summer just before) I was waiting for the right time to go MOD and after Close-Up that was my time; prior to that I was preppy, a joey (surfer clothes, didn't surf), a rocker (high rider opposed to a being a low rider). I stated wearing black clothes, parting my hair on the side, skinny ties, pegging my jeans, penny loafers, trench coat, RayBan Wayfarer sunglasses; all I was missing was the Vespa, or Lambretta scooter! Yes, I was a Mod when it was still cool, and none of us were sporting tattoos or piercings; except for a left-sided earring or two. I personally was not into the George Michael look; see he was telling us then that he was on the fence! Geez, those things in retrospect? Anyways, I worked at a conservative department store and dyed hair and punk clothing was not going to land me a job anywhere other then Tower Records; and they certainly had their fill of visually undesireables already; so I took the New Romantic look to a healthy level.
Okay, I know what you're saying, "Duran Duran sucks!" Yes, I agree with you on that, but you are forgetting other great acts that had been doing this for awhile before they made us chew that wad of bubble gum! A few in mentioning, David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Adam and the Ants, ABC, Spandau Ballet, INXS, and many more that made us sit-up straight and take notice of fashion.
MORE TO COME.... I'm TIRED and GOING TO BED. Bad grammar, spelling errors, all will be corrected and more info will soon follow!
To the world at large that might be reading this: Yes, we have a fashion scene here in San Francisco. Though it might be hard to find sometimes.