An Addendum to the Matter of the Poofy Shirt.

So I referenced the other day my adoption of the Poofy Shirt as part of my ongoing aesthetic. I in fact first mentioned this back in the fall, though, when I noted that I might be approaching too swiftly the look of “Jerry Seinfeld in the pirate shirt”.

Well, flash forward to one day in December while I was out shopping a bit in Waikiki. Wouldn’t you know it, but one store actually had a Funko Pop of Mr. Seinfeld in that exact outfit! Yes, of course I bought it.


Obviously it’s all in the attitude. Jerry didn’t wanna look like a pirate, whereas…well, I don’t necessarily wanna look like a pirate, but as a cottagecore Renfest thing? Yeah, I’m totally on board with that.

But you know, this does raise an interesting question–interesting to me, anyway. I know that fashions change, but why did the “poofy” (for lack of a better term) shirt seem to vanish so decisively from men’s fashions? When did we collectively decide that lean, “athletic” fits are the thing, body types be damned? To see men in any kind of “poofy wear”, one has to go to a Renaissance Faire or watch a movie like a pirate film or a fantasy film or a historical epic. I make no secret that one of my personal fashion models is Kevin Costner in Dances With Wolves:

Now, if I want to emulate that look, I find myself turning to women for fashion inspiration (or “inspo” as the kids are calling it). Here is Tasmanian chef and cookbook author Sarah Glover, for instance:

And I never understand why more cooks don’t wear overalls! They’re perfect for cooking! Lots of pockets for stuff like thermometers or whatnot, and if you have a hammer loop you can hang a towel down there for wiping your hands!

Or these two images, from vintage clothing dealers I follow on Instagram:

I don’t really understand the way we’ve decided that entire areas of fashion and clothing are either masculine or feminine and that the twain shall not meet. And it’s not just in the arena of poofy tops with a bit of fringey-lacey stuff on them. It’s also in the colors we endorse. Everyone knows that pink is a “feminine” color…but thing is? Once upon a time, it wasn’t. But just try to find a pink cable-knit sweater for men these days. I’d have an easier time finding a pink poofy shirt….

Hey, wait a minute….


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One Response to An Addendum to the Matter of the Poofy Shirt.

  1. Jason says:

    You ask “When did we collectively decide that lean, “athletic” fits are the thing, body types be damned?”

    Well, I may be speaking out of my rear end here, but at a guess, I would say it happened as a result of the Industrial Revolution and increasing mechanization, same reason long hair on men went out of fashion. Can’t have loose hair and clothes around all those chattering machines unless you want to lose a body part. So once again… capitalism, man.

    Incidentally I’m fully onboard with looking to Lew-ten-ten Dunbar for fashion tips. I’ve been trying to find something like that red patterned shirt from the coffee grinder scene for 30 years…

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