Pretty in pink

My general fashion rule for a sports coat is this: Navy only unless you’ve just won a golf tournament.

Pink blazer
Steve Jukes, former chairman of the Cherry Blossom Festival Board, sporting the pink blazer, in this photo at the announcement of Karen Jordan Lambert, a former Mercer colleague, as the new executive director of the festival back in October 2009. Festival founder Carolyn Crayton is also on hand.

As the 2011 Cherry Blossom Festival comes to a close this weekend in my former city of residence, Macon, Ga., I have been reminded of the proud tradition carried on by so many Macon patriarchs and men married to Macon matriarchs. The wearing of the pink blazer.

Southern towns and colorful festivals go together like pecans and Karo syrup, but seeing grown men in pink blazers can be startling. I’m convinced that the busloads of tourists who flock to Macon to see the more than 300,000 Yoshino cherry trees are most awed by the number of men in pink blazers.

This may be the reason I ultimately had to leave Macon. I had lived there 10 years and was approaching the point in my “Maconness” when I had a decision to make: Would I, too, succumb to the wearing of the pink? Could I be a true Maconite without it?

At a time of year when everything from pancakes to poodles turns pink, the pink blazer crowd still tends to be more mature. Unless you are hosting the Miss Cherry Blossom pageant, if you’re under 50, you probably don’t own a pink blazer.

Don’t hear me judging. I’m not qualified to comment on fashion in any way. It’s just something of a phenomenon that Southern men who are notoriously macho would succumb to a pink wardrobe so completely during the festival.

Here are my five best guesses at explaining this phenomenon:

  1. Civic pride. Nothing says “I’m proud to be a Maconite” like draping yourself in pink.
  2. Marital requirement. Why does a man wear anything? Their wives make them. Half the guys I know wouldn’t wear socks if their wives didn’t make them.
  3. A sense of style finely tuned over decades. Every man reaches that point in his life when fashion sense is replaced by stubbornness and personal awareness is replaced by apathy.
  4. Everybody else is doing it. That excuse never held water with my mom, but I offer it as a possible explanation.
  5. You are a “spring” in the fashion color palette. Nothing accentuates blue eyes quite like a nice, pink jacket.
Pink blazer on parade
Pink blazer on parade

So there you have it. The day I see a pink blazer on a man somewhere other than Macon during the 10-day festival, I promise to immediately update the blog with photos.

If you really want to throw people off, show up at church in a pink blazer about mid-February and listen to the number of people who ask, “Is it Cherry Blossom time already?”

Wear it with pride, my Macon brothers. I’m not man enough.

3 thoughts on “Pretty in pink

  1. Lance, this post is spot-on. I can’t wait for your post on bow ties. I’m sure I know someone who could be quoted if needed…

  2. Brother Lance, you’ve been tactful (and perhaps a bit reserved) in your guessing toward explaining this phenomenon. But then again, I’ve seldom known you to spend a chip you didn’t HAVE to spend. However, I did note your peculiar choice of the term “pride.”

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