By The Duke of Fremont Street
Years and years ago, when I was a small boy staying with my grandparents in rural Missouri for part of my summer vacations, I remember waking quite early each morning to the aroma of strong coffee percolating and bacon sizzling on the stove. Cloudy-eyed, half awake and half asleep, I’d start my day watching my grandfather as he sat at the kitchen table sipping his piping black coffee out of his saucer as he intently pondered over the many things grandfathers ponder. Not one time did I arise before this country gentleman.
Grandpa was always immaculately dressed. Daily he’d wear a stylish suit, a crisp starched shirt and silk tie, highly polished footwear and a snappy fedora or Western style Stetson. He would start my day with parables of days gone by or short limericks illustrating many of life’s lessons to be learned. To this day, many of his wise words and parables still resonate in my mind. In particular he often said: “Dress up and be somebody!” At the time the words went in one ear and out the other; however, over the years I have never forgotten his wise consul and live by his words to this day.
Based on years of observations and comments, I believe one of the most recognizable facets of my persona is my attire. I attribute much of my
attitude towards fashion to his grandfatherly guidance. With that being stated, I personally am distressed that today, for the most part, my grandfather’s wise words fall on deaf ears. As you, the reader, are already aware, we live in a world where dining establishments have to plead with and beg their patrons to put clothes and shoes on before entering. I’m troubled that the vast majority of people I meet have totally forsaken fashion and style and insist on being sloppy and disheveled.
I’m addressing everyone, not just today’s youth. Most 60-year-old men dress like 9-year-olds today with their baggy shorts, “wife-beater” tee shirts and flip-flops. Oh, and let’s throw in a backwards ball cap to top off this ensemble. I’ve been approached by many that have said, “Man, you look great. I used to dress like you.” Although I always acknowledge the compliment and offer my gratitude, I refrain from commenting on how I really feel: “What happened? Did you die? Why do you think personal appearance no longer matters?”
Well, enough about my disappointment with American’s fashion statements today. On a positive note I come in contact with many that
resist this deplorable trend, individuals such as Nelson Sardelli, Dondino Melchiorre, Angelo Cassaro, Peter Pavone, Lou Toomin, John
Amato, John J Flood and Gary Rogers, to name but a few. When I attend my F.I.O.R.E. meetings and Italian American Club meetings I am
refreshed to witness other club members that still dress with style and panache. In my opinion these gentlemen are very positive role models and I wish to recognize them for resisting the popular notion that it is fashionable to appear homeless. I am especially thrilled when I see young gentlemen take pride in their appearance.
In my opinion you only live once and you only have one shot at making a striking first impression. May I suggest that you harken to my grandfather’s wise words: “Dress Up And Be Somebody!”—Price Catlet Wall