Fashion trends normally take me by surprise. I don’t notice them until their peak of popularity has passed — sometimes by years.
I occasionally wore too-short shorts until “Magnum, P.I.” reruns made them a laughingstock. I discovered the denim jacket about the time most other people were donating them to Goodwill. I wore a turtleneck sweater long after they became passé.
My own standards of personal attire tend to revolve around khaki pants and dull plaid shirts. It’s hard to spot me in a crowd, because I blend in with all the other middle-aged men with nonexistent fashion taste.
So when I received an email touting an effort to launch a new global fashion trend for men, I opened the message thinking it might be my ticket to finally be on the cutting edge, to become the fashion envy of Traverse City, perhaps all of northwest Lower Michigan.
The email began with some intriguing lines: “Say goodbye to pants in this scorching hot weather. With temperatures rising to record highs, a Dutch company comes with a solution to at least drop your pants this summer.”
I suspect “least” is a translation error; they probably meant “last.” If they actually did mean “least,” I wonder what else they’re thinking about dropping this summer.
At that point in the message, I realized this new offering from the fashion world might droop beyond my personal threshold of social comfort. I believe in comfortable clothing, but there are limits to how far I’ll take that concept.
Then came the description of the actual product being touted: “Boxer shorts with pockets. They are called Pockies and are now available for the American public.”
After all that build up, the publicity team from the Netherlands admitted they’re basically selling pairs of shorts at $30 a pop plus shipping. I was disappointed. The concept being touted as fresh actually is probably historically older than the concept of long pants. Didn’t shorts burst onto the fashion scene shortly after the kilt arrived 300 years ago?
“Pockies” are just shorts made of thin material. Photographs on the company’s website depict a variety of young men garbed in Pockies, socks and bathrobes lounging on couches and posing on city streets. The models look relaxed.
I don’t claim to understand the nuances of northern European marketing imagery. One publicity photo shows a torso, clad only in a pair of Pockies, holding a classic Nintendo video game controller, with its wire leading into one of the Pockies pockets, no video screen in evidence. Another image depicts a Pockies-wearing man, casually holding a Bartlett pear in one hand.
The tagline at www.pockies.com reads “Because pants slow you down.”
I guess shorts are quicker to pull on since you don’t need to deal with pushing your feet through all that extra leg fabric. Joggers tend to wear shorts, so maybe they also allow you to run faster than long pants.
Back when “Magnum, P.I.” was fresh television fare, shorts were shorter than they typically are today. Current fashion trends have men’s shorts hemlines below the knee. I’m trying to stick with the times, and that’s the length I’m wearing this summer.
But all that extra fabric tends to bind around the knees. I’m thinking about finding a pair of shots just a tad shorter that allow free knee movement.
I guess I could try a pair of Pockies — but the material looks a bit thin for my taste in public wear. I’m a few years older than the demographic the company obviously is aiming for. But that doesn’t mean the product is destined for failure.
The Pockies website states that the company’s first production run sold out. So the buying public is snapping up underwear with pockets.
Today’s electronic retail marketplace allows entrepreneurs anywhere to connect with potential buyers everywhere. Not everyone needs to understand a product. It’s enough that a sufficient number of people are willing to buy it, whatever it is.
Maybe in a decade or so, after Pockies have faded from the fashion scene, I’ll try a pair.