It was reported in today’s Puerto Rican paper, El Nuevo Día, that young people in the islands of extremely handsome old men (nothing personal here), manipulating mamas and descendants of Kufferstein are discovering and recycling grunge: the mismatch fashion popular during the eighties. What a shock! And this early in the morning, while viewing the turquoise waters of the sea, the abstract brushes of diverse pastels in the sky and the rising sun, I had to be reminded of my multi-generational separation from those making fashion statements.
What am I to do with such news? To be forced to reflect upon aging and fashion currents is not easy, particularly when I was considered a leading force in creating fashionable trends in the very hot town facing the Caribbean Sea; that place there over there where I saw my identity crushed by the desire to eat forbidden fruits.
When grunge was in vogue I was already a middle-age man, and now grunge is retro. Since self restraint and propriety were always my guiding social pillars, I will face the disturbing news with dignity and controlled judgment. And controlled judgment will be very much needed and required when facing those youngsters wearing flannel shirts, boots, fatigue pants and whatever those “quincalleros” wear in very hot weather.
Yes, quincalleros as in quincallas, those stores quite popular before the mega ones took over the shopping centers of the world. In quincallas everything was sold: from clothes to Lladró-like figurines. And everything on top of everything is what the grungies wear. They remind me of those ladies in the Upper West side of New York who seem to choose their clothing by simply walking into their closets and letting shirts, skirts, shawls, lots of jewelry fall onto them. Take the 104 bus, the Broadway and Barbara local, and you will see lots of overly dressed matrons. If the NYC Upper West Side ladies look like Christmas Trees, the grungies look like left over woods-men.
Fashion slaves have existed for a very long time but to wear so much clothing in the Caribbean has to be a real sacrifice. Not for me. As I face from my balcony the turquoise waters of the sea, I conclude that ways must be found to regenerate myself. I will look for my “pra pra” hats, espadrilles, linen pants and shirts, and refuse to be out of fashion.