Troy Bishopp, The Grass Whisperer
Have you ever worn something that you were razzed about? Did you ever wear it a second (or third) time to give it back to the naysayers because you don’t care about their opinion anyway? Apparently, a middle-aged, calloused hand, grass farmer is supposed to look a certain way in public. Here in lies my struggle between country fashion and the connotation that you are an edgy city hipster.
I remember very well being led by Daniel Kline into the Winter Green-up Conference donning an authentic set of horse’s blinder headgear. There was the time I wore a tweed coat, cow tie and jeans into the then Senator Clinton’s office in Washington, D.C and walked right past all the confused, power-suiting lobbyists to the staff’s adulation that “the grass farmer” is here. And I have worn more stylish real-grass hats then I can remember.
This is all well and good as long as I keep within my genre of farming and don’t do anything really crazy, like having your hair spiked and cemented with gel while wearing a pea coat accessorized with a man scarf. Heaven forbid!
I thrive on the ridicule of ignorance by the “What not to Wear” crowd as I try to bolster my personal confidence through my wardrobe choices not related to stepping in a ripe cow-pie. And as an aside, my wife thinks (which is the only opinion that really matters), I’m extra handsome in some of these fine threads. The man scarf wearing phenomenon seems to have brought a heightened level of consternation by many who say “you can’t wear one of those and you certainly don’t tie them in knots”.
I feel it’s time a farmer clears the air on man scarves before anyone else gets hurt.
I googled man scarf and got 38 million hits. Call me slow but it seems they are popular. They come in all styles, lengths, colors, patterns and materials including a duct tape one. They are worn year round. They keep your neck warm in winter and the sun out in the summer. They can be a functional necessity or add flair to any ensemble.
According to www.artofmanliness.com, “Wearing the rectangular piece of fabric does an excellent job of protecting a man’s neck. Scarves can add a strong element of style, especially when they introduce color to an otherwise bland outfit. However, in less functional roles (such as wearing a light-weight scarf indoors in lieu of a necktie) the man doing so needs to be very comfortable in his own personal style”.
“Most scarves aren’t made for men–we are a very small part of the market and as such you may find a scarf in the menswear sale rack that is questionable. And unless you’re Steven Tyler, you should stay away from feminine-looking scarves. Here is how to spot a scarf designed for your wife: Any scarf in an animal print, bright pink, juicy magenta, electric blue or any large knitted scarf that could double as a blanket. Anything with excessive fringes, multi-colored pom-pom tips or elaborately beaded scarves. Anything that comes with a pin or is advertised to be worn with a scarf pin. Men do not wear scarf pins.”
I found at least 11 ways to tie a man scarf with comical names like: The Parisian knot, the drape, the reverse drape, the reverse drape tuck, the reverse drape cross, the fake knot, the over-hand, the chest warmer, the once around, the twice around, the four in hand. I have my own farmstead versions that include, over the Gaelic, the Vermont crunchy, the snow-blower, the cow taster and my personal favorite, the grasser knot, which resembles a clover.
When folks pick on me, I remind them that military personnel, rugged outdoorsman, sports figures and popular celebrities including “The Rock” are all wearing scarves. I’ve even seen some young farmers have one on with their tee-shirt. I’m just trying to keep up with the fashionistas.
The scarf has been around for centuries as a functional tool against the elements. It’s nice to see it used as a value-added product from the farms that produce the raw product. It also helps you look great and give a little swagger to your step. I won’t impose my fashion views on anyone but suffice it to say I endorse the man scarf for jazzing up the denim in your life or stepping out on the town.
Maybe now when someone asks you, what’s with the man scarf? You’ll have some ammo to debate the merits of your awesome look. “Conformity is the only real fashion crime” ~ Simon Doonan
Published in Country Folks and Editor newspapers