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Monday, February 1, 2016

Careful, Don't Drink The Kool-Aid

In November 1978 Jim Jones convinced 900 members of Peoples Temple to drink a mixture of a powdered flavoured soft drink, what is commonly now referred to as the "kool-aid" owing to a popular brand at that time, and laced it with cyanide. It was a terrible scene. A mass execution

Today the expression is commonly used to humorously denote people changing their preference for something by persuasion, herd mentality, peer pressure, popularity and just plain old effective advertising (think iPhone).

Some time ago a fellow member of a meditation group that I sometimes go to happened to have a coffee with me and we began to stew over the real versus persuasive arguments for and against meditation. We both agreed that the technique worked but that we didn't wish to buy into the vast majority of hog wash and additional 'lifestyle' wacko-jacko that came with the group mentality of those that become lifelong followers of the practice. Neither of us felt the need to go bath in the freezing Himalayan Ganges waters of Rishikesh in India nor did we wish to give up butter for ghee. We loved our meditation but, as my friend aptly put it - "I'm not drinking the kool-aid".

In menswear it is about creating an image that people can buy into. It's lovely to create a sense of romance with those images but more often than not the consumer has absolutely no inclination to wear the look that if being offered as "this season's soup du jour". The most wonderful example I can think of is the turtle neck knitted sweater or jersey top with a woollen suit. It's been having a huge day across social media and on the styled looks of those that dress to be snapped by street fashion photographers. But is it genuinely a look you could wear in Australia?

To my mind the answer is.... maybe in Melbourne. Certainly not for Sydney. There are probably two months of the year in July and August where one might consider this a possibility but as a general rule it never gets that cold nor do men get that feminine. If you are one of the few that genuinely wears a suit to work then you will most definitely not have an office that will embrace a turtle neck switch out for a collared shirt. If you were going out Friday night for cocktails, this might be an option, though the moment you enter a bar and it gets hot you will find yourself being strangled by that turtle neck and pray for someone to bring you some scissors. 

To my mind the only opportunity you might have to wear a turtle neck is in the countryside or in the Alpine region of Australia coupled with a tweed jacket. The rest of it, all the romance and imagery created around this look, is an impractical persuasion to try and make you drink the Kool-Aid. Don't drink the Kool-Aid. 

A romantic but impractical trend - the turtle neck and suit look. Source: Pinterest

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