Every week a different FADER staff member will pick a clothing item or accessory that he or she has lately been spending a lot of time with—or would like to—and write a little love letter to it. We would’ve done a column on who we’re dating but that seemed a little bit much. This week Alex Frank writes about the Burkman Brothers Tiger Print Shirt.
I’ve come, of late, to embrace a style that is relatively new to me. There’s no official name for it, but I’ve seen it creeping over the guys of New York, especially as the days get warmer and a bit more relaxed. I call it "dude style," and the easiest way to describe it is to say that it’s the lazy side of prep. I mean that as a compliment. If you’ve ever seen John Lurie on his strange early '90s TV show Fishing With John you’ll have a sense of what I mean. Always drinking a pony-neck beer, Lurie wore oddball all-over-print button-down shirts, usually left unbuttoned, lazy khakis rolled haphazardly above the ankle and a beat-up faded baseball cap or bucket cap. He sat on a boat with a fishing rod, not doing much but drinking and chatting with surly celebrity friends like Tom Waits and Matt Dillon. The show, and his look, had a princely, charismatic lethargy to it. It’s no Thom Browne suit, but the look worked for Lurie, and perhaps it inspired more than a few New York guys, because I see it popping up everywhere. Caution is needed, though, because trying this look means you’re about one puka shell necklace away from something you don’t want to be.
I am not a dude, per se, but I’ve decided to take some cues. This Burkman Brothers shirt is my first step. It is, in fact, the perfect first step towards dude bliss because it lives at the halfway point between being a really casual shirt and one that is truly gentlemanly. The print is great—an aged faded tiger, the perfect symbol for the guy that fancies himself a bit soft, proud, and weathered around the edges. The sleeves are comfortably and informally long on the bicep too, because no dude, I imagine, wants his sleeves creeping up too high. The deep navy blue is at once regal and inconspicuous. I probably won't wear it unbuttoned like Mr. Lurie, but I think that's okay, because the true dude thing to do is keep doing it at my own speed.