When the Needles polyester mesh cardigans dropped at the start of last season I was troubled. They made me want to dress like a 70s sex panther. The kind of guy with a banging moustache, a taste for Cinzano Bianco and rotating water beds. I mean, see-through paisley, that’s key-party guest-list right there.
The problem? I’m not a sexy man. I’m a grumpy man. I always take a book to the beach. I’ve never chopped wood with an axe. My dancing is too kicky.
So I didn’t buy a sexy see-though cardigan. I continued buying sensible knitwear and Comme shirts, force quitting any further thoughts of the Boogie Nights lifestyle.
Then I saw this.
It’s a mesh jersey cardigan from Toga Virilis, new in at Goodhood. I don’t often spend £392 on something that is mostly transparent. That said, maybe this is the garment I need? A piece that will turn me from a porcine-bodied grouch, into an erotic disco fireball, the kind of oily lothario women with bad taste can’t wait to sniff.
Next time I’m in Goodhood I’m going to try this bad boy on for size. I guess you’d just wear a plain white tee underneath? (Obviously nips-out is not on the table.)
I say I’ll try it on — and maybe if the store is particularly quiet I will — but I’m under no illusions. I genuinely respect that this piece exists and I’m sure on someone it’d look magnificent. I’m just 99% sure that I’d look like Right Said Fred. And not even early 90s, Deeply Dippy, Right Said Fred, I’m talking Right Said Fred now.
Reductive and lazy it may be, but I often think that style-focused dudes can be split into two clear camps: cool, but fundamentally utilitarian, or sexy.
One side masks the body beneath layers of robust cottons and wools and is no stranger to a technical anorak. The other (a spectacle common to Pitti Uomo, Zara shop boys and trains into Shoreditch on a Saturday night) is all about the tight ass, the nipped waist, the exposed chest and the pointy loafer.
I suspect the psychology of the latter isn’t far removed from the unreconstructed, alpha-male peacocks of the 1970s. Look at me, look at my abs, look at my thighs, just imagine my pendulous wang.
As I say, this is not me. And I’m not entirely sure a nylon and polyurethane cardie is going to get me there. Still I do kind of like it. If only because it offers a glimpse through the mirrored ceiling into a life unled.