Welcome to Deep Cuts, a series where we dive headfirst into the sources of inspiration, obscure or otherwise, that inform the way we’re dressing now. First up, an ode to WFH style done right, of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, a proto-WFH classic where not much work gets done, but, as it turns out, many, many fits are gotten off.
As far as its legacy goes, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off has little left to prove. The peak-’80s John Hughes classic has long since earned its place in the canon of films beloved by adults and children alike, buoyed in part by the titular character’s ability to flaunt his disdain for authority at every turn, all with a sly grin permanently plastered to his face. Hughes deftly captures the ebullient feeling of those days when everything seems to go your way, leaving Matthew Broderick to imbue Ferris —the charming layabout who always seems a step ahead of the bumbling grown-ups running in circles around him—with an indefatigable sense of devil-may-care charisma.
Watching the movie, you get the sense that you’re tuning in to a typical day-in-the-life of a preternaturally clever teen who’s got it all figured out. Everything about Ferris radiates ease. But Ferris Bueller is not a day-in-the-life movie. Ferris Bueller is a lifestyle movie, contingent on the conceit that you’ll buy into the merits of Ferris’ shenanigans as a wholly warranted middle finger to The Man. And in order to sell you on Ferris’ specific brand of slacker-chic, the film offers up a masterclass in easeful, “Oh, this old thing?” dressing particularly suited to the reality of life on lockdown and this current moment in menswear.
When Ferris first calls up Cameron, his chronically under-the-weather best friend (a young Alan Ruck, of Succession fame), he does it wearing a near-perfect WFH fit: a boldly-printed camp collar shirt, heavily-cuffed pinstriped suit pants, a thick pair of cream-colored ragg socks, and some well-worn Chucks. When he pulls up in a fire-engine red Ferrari to snag his girlfriend from school he’s wearing a bucket hat, a pair of heavily-tinted clubmaster sunglasses, and a tan mac coat thrown on over a suit, a winking simulacrum of conventional office attire. And when the trio ventures out into the big city, Cameron comes through in what might be the best damn outfit of the movie: a red Gordie Howe hockey jersey, a clashing plaid newsboy cap, and perfectly-cut chinos cuffed to reveal white socks and pair of classic penny loafers.
Later, as Cameron considers his soured relationship with his dad, he swaps out the jersey for a ragged undershirt and suspenders (worn with a belt?!) in a perfect picture of nonchalant preppy cool. And who doesn’t remember the first time they saw Broderick gyrating mid-parade to the dulcet tones of The Beatles’ “Twist and Shout,” decked out in a low slung, leopard-print cardigan vest, voluminous pleated trousers, and a pair of white bucks (a fit so good it looks like it could’ve shimmied straight off the float and onto the Kapital webstore)?
Taken in aggregate, the movie offers a smorgasbord of privileged WASP-ish style, filtered through the same spirit of gleeful subversion that animates Ferris’s antics throughout the film. (If nothing else, Ferris Bueller is also a story centered around the low-stakes, idyllic lifestyles of wealthy, white suburbanites, as told through Ferris and his friends’ efforts to distance themselves from the era’s excesses, even as they benefit from the perks they enable.) If the movie isn’t already remembered as one of the most stylish of its time, it should be. Scrolling through stills from the set makes for an experience akin to flipping through a scarily on-point spring/summer 2020 lookbook or trawling the IG account of any menswear-enthused, extremely online dude, berets and all.
Ferris Bueller might be most famous as the rascally goof who encourages us all to slow down and take stock of what really matters, even as the well-oiled money-making machine of corporate America churns obliviously on. But to make the character believable, and one for the ages, Broderick and co. had to dress the part first. To paraphrase the movie’s most famous line: Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and get dressed for it once in a while, you could miss it.
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Source : Esquire