A few days ago, The Shophound was walking on Fifth Avenue, and it occurred to us that we should at least have a quick look at the new Tommy Bahama brand palace as we passed by.
Then we thought, "Ecch, Tommy Bahama," and kept walking on to Saks.
It turns out the Critical Shopper John Caramanica has a stronger stomach for such things than we do in today's Thursday Styles. He braves the store for us, and confirms what we had suspected all along: The brand is basically the fashion version of an endless Jimmy Buffett song. For a moment, we thought we had misjudged when he mentions a pair of "orange suede crepe-soled wingtip made by Alfred Sargent for Tommy Bahama, which costs $500". That appealed to our penchant for fine, expensive English-made shoes in screw-you colors, but perhaps they are an aberration. Despite the lavish, ersatz tropical setting, final judgement of the actual product is pretty much what we expected:
And the clothes? Largely unbearable, in Halloween-costume cuts and in lazy color combinations (when they’re not purposefully dull). They draw attention to the wearer and are advertisements for his ability not to care about what he’s wearing. Maybe they are the mark of a true man.
Yeah, so we aren't really missing anything, but our shopper should take care. Tommy Bahama remains a hugely popular brand worn by millions. We hope you aren't in for a Guy Fieri-style backlash.
Critical Shopper: A Discomforting Trip to the Isle of Wealth By Jon Caramanica (NYTimes)
Tommy Bahama 551 Fifth Avenue at 45th Street, Midtown