Many women love a bad boy. James Dean’s character Jim Stark in Rebel Without a Cause, Bender in The Breakfast Club, Jason Bourne, all edgy, moody characters that get female hearts racing and temperatures rising. Some women like real life bad boys, Colin Farrell, Russell Brand, and Robert Downey Jr to name a few.
Personally, I prefer my men without any added drama. I can do without the heartache, the headache and the general worry that bad boys bring. I like a peaceful, low profile life, so the only type of bad boy I’m interested in these days is a man with bad boy style. Meet my new friend John.
I’ve been seeing John around the city for a number of years now and his consistent “swag” and non-conformist style have always caught my eye, along with the eyes of many other people. Notably women, and almost always very young women. In fact, when I took this photo of him I had to almost elbow my way through a small group of excitable nineteen year olds who were curious about his clothes and personal life in equal measure.
I don’t have the guts to ask John how old he is, but I reckon he must be at least seventy. Seventy years old and no beige slacks, button front tank tops or velcro comfort shoes in sight. I’ve never seen John wearing anything less than a three piece suit complete with matching cap and shoes, as though he always has to be ready for any impromptu formal engagement he may have to attend at the drop of a perfectly co-ordinated hat. John is the perfect embodiment of the term, “suited and booted”, and he’s my new muse.
I took this photo of him in December. It was the middle of winter, freezing cold, and there he was walking around in a cream coloured jacquard three piece suit, full of the joys of spring. A beacon of optimism amidst a sea of sombrely coloured winter coats. Some days his three piece is baby blue, sometimes it’s pink. I’ve never seen him wear black and if I did it would raise my eyebrows even more.
That’s why I love him. He neither dresses how he’s expected to “for his age,” nor for the time of year. He wears whatever he jolly well wants to. Fashion’s unwritten rule is that pastel colours are for the summer only and woe betide any fool who dares to wear them in the winter, and even more woe to betide anyone with the affront to wear white in the winter. Not winter white, ice white. I guess I must be double the fool because it’s been snowing this afternoon, and here I am wearing a pale pink and (ice) white candy striped vintage dress.
I bought this dress about two years ago but have never worn it as I’ve been waiting for the weather to be hot enough. To me, it’s such an unapologetically 'summertime' dress that I’ve not felt inclined to wear it below thirty degrees. We’ve had good weather in the two years I’ve had it of course, but I’ve still never worn it as I guess the occasion just never arose in tandem with the sweltering weather.
It hangs patiently in my wardrobe throughout the winter, knowing that it will be months before there is even the slightest chance that it might get an airing. But today, inspired by John, it’s making its debut in February. Rules are made to be broken, and unwritten fashion rules are there to be obliterated altogether.
The shops are looking brighter and fresher with new spring stock, and much of it is in candy-colour pastels that make you just want to shiver, wrap your scarf a little tighter around your neck, and ignore it all until the sun comes back out. Right now I’m sick of the winter palette of black and rich muted tones. I need a serious colour injection and like John, I don’t see why I should wait until June to wear pastels.
Bring on the mint green, lemon yellow and pale peach. John is leading the winter pastel revolution and I’m marching on confidently behind.