Cartoon-clad clothes are all the rage, but are they really suitable for grown men?
Blue. Spikey. Fast. What more could a boy want from a childhood hero? I’m talking, of course, about Sonic the Hedgehog – the computer game character that transcended the consoles and came to adorn bedroom walls, caps, jackets, rucksacks and t-shirts. (I personally had the PJs!) For any boy growing up in the ‘90s, some sort of Sonic merchandise was absolutely de rigueur. Indeed, animated characters of every kind were in vogue. Remember Fido Dido the 7UP mascot? He lounged his way onto many a t-shirt and low-cut vest. And then there was Dennis the Menace and Gnasher; you could even find them on underpants. And what about Batman? The Pink Panther? And Ninja Turtles? …I could go on, but you get the idea – cartoons on clothes were dead cool in the ‘90s. Importantly, though, they were cool FOR KIDS. (And perhaps the odd raver.) Now, they’re “in” for adults too. And I have to say, I find this development a little weird.
Take the latest, limited edition, collection from Ellesse, for example. It’s a collaboration with Loony Tunes and it’s all ‘80s/’90s-inspired t-shirts, sweatshirts and jackets – with Bugs, Tweety and Sylvester placed playfully around the pockets, zips and seams. It’s cool stuff. I do like it. But at the same time, you have to admit that it wouldn’t look amiss on a six-year-old.
Men of the past dressed with considerable panache. They cut a dash. Chaps of the Regency period rode about wearing tailcoats and cravats; Victorians wore top hats and carried ornate canes. Men in the sixties went for trilbies and natty suits, and even their hippy counterparts put together some rather fetching looks – think of Jimmy Hendrix and his bandanas and jackets. In 2022, what do we find? Men opting for multi-coloured trainers with bits of plastic hanging off them, and t-shirts adorned with cutesy-wootsy characters. I’m not at all sure this is the thing....
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