By Gordon T Hughes Jr.
When you meet a guy, be it in the theatre district where I do most of my work, or in mid-town somewhere, and he is wearing a coat and tie, and tells you he lives in the West Village, it is most likely this writer.
When I first moved to the Village in the 1990s, I would walk to my subway entrance and I would wave to the one other guy wearing a tie, and we would both laugh, because neckties were virtually non-existent below 14th Street.
Now, I never see him at Panino Mucho Gusto Cafe where, even back then I got my morning cup of joe before heading to my publishing job in midtown. Over the years, we would nod or say good-morning to one another. Back then there were still the remnants of tie-dye, bell bottom pants for men, goofy hats and the rainbow flag was finally beginning to make a real presence. Curb side parking was Range Rover free. Back then, there were still VW vans with peace signs on the back bumper.
And yes, there was one guy, and me, in a suit and tie.
I have seen styles change over the years. It went from tie dye, old worn, flared jeans to very expensive jeans from stores like Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs and downtown Barney’s. Lots of older businesses began moving out of the Village to be replaced by the stores that were selling new, younger residents these trendy looks. It was now what they called shabby cosmopolitan. These outfits were even seen in Mucho Gusto. Not a lot, but indeed, there were sightings among the berets and baseball caps.
So now, I fast forward to today’s fashions. Men are wearing suits and slacks with tight ankles, no socks, and no matter what the color of the outfits, shoes are tan or light brown. They replaced the long toed black shoes of yore.
For this observation I’m only focusing on men’s fashion. So, when I drop into Mucho Gusto for my morning jolt, the outfits have not changed that much in there, but on Hudson, as I watch men going to work, nowadays, it’s much more business like. Suits, well pressed shirts, very narrow lapels and not a tie to be seen.
That is except for that one guy, and me, who pass one another, wave and say good morning.
We are still the guys who wear the ties in the West Village.