We know the East Bay ain’t exactly Paris. Just take a look around, and you’ll see what we mean. This watery wonderland may be beautiful, but many here could use some fashion prodding. First and foremost: socks with Birkenstocks. That should be illegal. Need we even mention comb-overs for balding men with scrawny ponytails? And there are so many people here with greasy hair, untucked shirts, and drab, mismatched clothing that one has to wonder what terrible experience they have had with color and cleanliness. This holiday season, Queer Eye for the East Bay is giving a few local icons some desperately needed fashion advice. In the interest of civic pride, we offer these tips.
Oakland Raiders owner and Pro Football Hall of Famer
You’re a big deal in the world of sports, and you make a lot of money. So why do you look like you just escaped from a fat farm? A man like you can afford cashmere and Armani. There are places to shop other than Big 5 Sporting Goods.
White sweat suits should never be worn by a man. In fact, sweat suits of any kind should never be worn by a man unless he’s sweating, and the closest you get to sweat is in the Raiders locker room. And white pants should never be worn by a man unless he’s in the Navy. A nice V-neck cashmere sweater over some tailored slacks would tell the world you work among athletes, but that your sense of style extends beyond the locker room. And get a new pair of sunglasses immediately. These look like they were given to you back in 1962 when you first became coach of the Raiders. The mini-pompadour thing in the front of your hair also is about four decades behind the times and harks back to the days of Vitalis. The wet head is dead, baby. Long live the dry look.
Big gold rings and loud flashy watches didn’t work for mobsters, and they don’t work for you, either. A sleek, understated timepiece would signal your success, but not scream “tacky” the way the ghetto/Mafia jewelry does. Two things men should never ever wear: sandals with socks, and pinkie rings.
Vallejo rapper and Blackhawk resident, born Earl Stevens
Forty-water, you should pay heed,
Be a buppie, go uppity, learn the Blackhawk creed
Forget the mobbity mobbity
Diversify your portfolio and become snobbity snobbity
Yadda yadda yadda blah de de blahdity
Really, Earl, don’t you know
Lounging in sweat suits is so terribly gauche
Correct attire is polo whites over croquettes, not toast
By the way, we call them
“trophy wives,” not “ho’s”
To be completely frank, we’re not at all concerned
With your ghetto celebrity status
Although apparently hard-earned
Although you can conjugate nouns and verbs
It’s a different world living in the suburbs
Surrounded by people, originally from Connecticut
Who, too, know the difference between a subject and a predicate
Although we country clubbers can’t help but admire
The oft-stated fact that you aspire
To sport iced-out gold Rolexes
We don’t pop our collars
Allow us to inform you, er, holler
There’s no smoking weed in our Lexuses
We’re not trying, dear fellow, to flambostulate
But the only marinating we do is with tri-tip steak
Forget going sidewayz, if you must smob
Instead concentrate on being a rich snob
Invest in stock shares and be prepared
To make the acquaintance of your neighbor, Doctor Bob
Mr. Stevens, it truly behooves you to change your ways
Only mention broccoli with hollandaise
Put away the Carlo Rossi, let us show you how to be flossy
Wear hand-tailored suits when sipping Chianti
Lunch with a Du Pont fils, up to Tahoe with Jet Skis
And say “Bless you,” not “Damn, motherfucker,” should someone sneeze
Nationally known chef and Berkeley restaurateur
Alice, we bow to your culinary genius. We know you are the patron saint for marvelous, organic, seasonal food and are a world-class restaurateur. Why not look world-class too? What is this getup? Cancer patient on the mend who wears her grandmother’s shawl for comfort?
First and foremost, that thing on your head — those things you always wear on your head — looks like it was bought at a medical supply store for people suffering from terrible head wounds. Dump the wraps and get a good haircut instead. Choose a flattering color, a bob, some bangs, or even a short pixie do; anything but those awful hat/beret/do-rag things. The high-collared shirt buttoned up to your chin is way too prissy and uptight for a world-class gal like yourself. Tell the world that you cook and have sex too! If you’re not comfortable with something fitted, try a short black wool jacket over a pretty salmon- or violet-colored shell. Think Eileen Fisher. She has gorgeous and simple clothing in bold, vibrant colors that can be toned down with black, gray, or brown sweaters and jackets. Come to think of it, a choker, some earrings, a little bling-bling might pick things up a bit, too. Your mantra should be: “I cook organic vegetables, but don’t want to look like them.”
We know you are a good guy who combats blindness in the Third World, teaches children to be creative, and inspires ice-cream makers. Perhaps you even are the “walking public announcement for positive social change and compassion” your Web site proclaims you to be. But do you also need to be a 3-D advertisement for bad taste? Just because you emceed Woodstock doesn’t give you a fashion pass for all of eternity. Good lord, who picked your clothes out? Helen Keller?
The way to really be subversive is to look good while you’re doing it. Let’s start with your hair. It looks like it was styled by licking a light socket. A nice trim would do you a world of good. Lose the hat, too. Your multicolored shirt/tent with the winged arms screams, “I am irrelevant!” Listen, you’re pushing seventy now; enough with the tie-dye. Look at your pal, Bob Dylan. He looks good in his simple but stylish denims and blacks. Why not go for a nice hip black or denim overshirt with a collar and a few buttons?
Balloon pants were never in and never looked good on anyone. A pair of gray flannel trousers or some cuffed dress pants will do more to inspire the kids who come to your Camp Winnarainbow than the clown shmattas. Teach them, Wavy, that being creative and following your own path in life doesn’t mean looking like a mental case or the creative visualization of a headache. We know you live in a Berkeley commune and no one in a communal house would dare stoop to the level of criticizing another’s clothing, but white sneakers should only be worn by nurses, and even there we’re not so sure it’s a good idea. Loafers would work for you, or even some of those clunky leather boots with a zipper on the side. Remember when you get dressed that playing a clown and looking like one are two vastly different things.