Lee Westerner - King of the mild frontier.

It's easy to view the fifties with super rose-colored glasses. The late fifties, even more so. There was still a nice blend of fifties squareness with sixties craziness seeping in around the edges. It's easy to get the idea that everything was cool looking and wildly futuristic. Then there's this: the western trend.

"Demand is terrific!" I think that's more of a wish than a statement., as in "Demand is a terrific thing to have!" Just like wearing a "Life of the party" hat or an "I'm hilarious" t-shirt. If it were true, you wouldn't need to tell everyone.

Burbling up from the pre-teen end of pop culture thanks to the popularity of Davey Crocket and stuff like that, there was a "trickle up" effect that had suburban teens and possibly adults dressing kind of cowboyishly. Even if you've never seen a steer and can't tie a knot, you could dress like a hard-workin', ruff 'n tumble, injun-shootin' cowboy and get in on the trend of ethnocentric entertainment.

Lee made it easy for visually illiterate men to match their clothes. What matches your beige denim trousers? Your beige denim jacket! Garanimals wouldn't be invented for another twenty years or whatever, and no self-respectin' cowboy gives a hoot about understanding the rudiments of color theory. That's fer girls!  So, identically colored denim is the very thing for a young man struggling to find his role in a still-conservative-for-now late fifties Eisenhower administration. Hyper-butch head to toe denim, the great outdoors and a cartoonish image of ruggedness are what make a man. Apart from the advent of Garanimals, know what else will happen in twenty years or so? Hyper-masculine personal imagery will come to embody a very different subculture than it does in '58.

This scrappy high school junior is listening to records with his best gal... or, at least he was a second ago. His work is done here, and now it's time for him to take his record and spread the word about Cliff Richard to every town on the prairie, one sophomore at a time. Thanks, Denim Man, for bringing Cliff to the people and teaching us about being a man. And thanks for being so non-threateningly rugged in your beige Lee-sure suit.

Let bigger = click.


BakedSalmon said...

This marks the first (and last) time anyone ever stated 'New note in High Styling", either spoken or written. The folks at Lee had the cajones to try it out. Ran it up the flagpole, so to speak. When nobody 'saluted it', well, would you believe that faded and tattered strands of that statement remain on the same corroded pole to this very day? Of course not. That is a ridiculous idea.
And whats with the broad? Hey, isn't that one of the 'Twindows' sisters? (see Phil-Are-Go, 3/7/2012). Lady! What happened to your sister? Let me guess: she was making a play for Mr. '78 RPMs', right? But you didn't dig that. No, you didn't dig that at all!
So this was 'date night' in the late 50s? Clarence rapidly trying out his new 'deep-pocket' trousers, while Mary Lou does her best to !!*&%!#! up the vinyl by persistently laying them all out flat on the boars hair rug. Way to go gang. I better not see you two making anything that resembles 'eye contact'.
I think my work is done here. Sorry about the rant. Trouble at home. You get the idea.

PhilAreGo@gmail.com said...

Thank you for helping me deride the recreation of these vibrant youths. Their attitudes about denim are far off the mark. "Boar's hair rug". Wow! That's news to me, but it definitely sounds obsolete! Thanks for commenting, Fil!


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