Me and My RTs


Göran R Buckhorn writes:

When I was living in Sweden, working as an editor at a small publishing firm, the company sometimes threw a party to promote or launch a new book. The old owner of the company had a big heart and an equally big wallet so nothing was spared when it came to fine dining and drinks, and for days after my colleagues and I were sitting in our offices in a most agreeable cocktail mist, especially when our headaches were finally gone. Of course, then I was young and could take whatever was flung in my direction, something that I could not do today.

I do not really miss those days, but as now it has been many years since I last attended a ‘book party’, I was happy to receive an invitation a couple of weeks ago to a book launching party at Polo Ralph Lauren shop in Fifth Avenue, New York City. The party is, the invitation reads, ‘to celebrate the publication of Mr. Carlson’s new book’. ‘Mr. Carlson’ is of course Jack Carlson and his ‘new book’ is, of course, the marvellous Rowing Blazers.

HTBS has several times written about Jack’s book: for example, Tim Koch wrote about the launch party held in London in June and later wrote a very favourable review about the book. Rowers and regatta organisers, and those who have published books on rowing that have been published this year, have to excuse me for writing this, but no one has managed to promote our sport during 2014 so skillfully to rowers and non-rowers as Jack and the companies publishing his book. Several magazines on both sides of the pond have published articles or reviews on Rowing Blazers, giving the sport of rowing a heap of good promotion and PR.

That Rowing Blazers has ended up on top here on HTBS is not only because the book is well-written and has some ‘culture’ but also because it combines things that we like to write about: rowing, tradition, and men’s clothing; for example, Tim has written about Blues in Bags and I have written some entries about rowing ties (see also under the ‘tag’ “well-dressed gents”).

But back to the launch party for Rowing Blazers. Already when Jack’s book was first launched in London, I knew that there would be a party for the book in Boston or New York in the early autumn. I therefore took the opportunity to do a little shopping for some new trousers, and in a shop in Hartford, Connecticut, I found the perfect pair of trousers to go with my ‘rowing blazer’. However, my dear wife, ‘Mrs. B.’, looked very skeptical when I showed her my new find. ‘They are red,’ she said, as if I had missed the obvious thing when I bought them. ‘Yes, yes, aren’t they fancy and wouldn’t they go brilliantly with my blazer,’ I said. ‘Yes, dear,’ she simply answered.

Two old toffs at Henley Royal – looking good!

It seems red trousers, also known as simply ‘RTs’, come with a lot of baggage. The British website YouGov writes that red trousers on men is ‘a fashion faux pas’ and that gentlemen should be warned, ‘Wearing red trousers will not win you many admirers’. Well, to be honest, being in my ‘50s, I do not really give a toss what people say or think about me or my clothes. For some people in Great Britain, wearing RTs is very upper-middle class. Henry Conway is defending red trousers on men in an article in the Guardian, but also writes that RTs are ‘a badge of the toff, or pseudo-toffish aspirant’. Well, call me a rowing ‘toff’, I do not care. A blog on my side and coming to my and all other lobster-legged men’s aid is “Look at my fxxxxxx red trousers!”

However, a little bit of warning if you are at the launch party for Rowing Blazers at Polo Ralph Lauren shop in New York: if you see a middle-aged toff in some RTs, thinking it is yours truly, be aware, it is not! I will be in Sweden at that time for a big family party, probably not wearing my new RTs.

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