The Founding Fathers and Fashion | HumorOutcasts

The Founding Fathers and Fashion

July 6, 2018

Men wore clothes that were as colorful as the ladies’ garb.  One male fashion  plate in New York ordered a suit of “superfine scarlet plush and a vest of light  blue splash.”

                                                          What Life Was Like in 1776, Thomas  Fleming


We were sitting in Independence Hall, waiting for the final version of the  Declaration of Independence to come back from Congress.  As you can imagine,  it’d been a long wait.  Talk about a horse designed by committee!  Jefferson had  dashed off a first draft in two shakes of a lamb’s tail, then had gone out to  pick up his dry cleaning.  He wanted to be wearin’ his superfine lime green  MacDaddy Founding Fathers lounge suit when it came time to read his “We hold  these truths to be self-evident” gag from the balcony, and who could blame  him?

Now things were bogged down in minutiae.  I can’t believe they wasted a half  hour debating the “Oxford comma” in the clause “He has plundered our seas,  ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.”   Put it in, take it out–who cares?  Nobody’s going to be reading the thing in 242 years anyway.

My only quarrel was with “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”   Shouldn’t we say “and the pursuit of truly superfine, bad-ass clothes with  honking big hats and walking sticks?”  I mean, what’s the point of having a  revolution if you can’t be a fashion revolutionary?  All men may be created  equal, but not all clothes–you dig what I’m sayin’?

Uh-oh–here comes John Adams, that disputatious little jerk from  Massachusetts.  What’s he wearing?  Oh . . . my . . . freaking God.  He looks  like a John Daly wannabe heading to the 19th hole after a round of golf at the  Presidents Course in Quincy, Mass.  Talk about South Shore Tacky!

John Adams: First rule of business fashion: Never brown in  town.


What’s he talkin’ about?  We don’t need a Declaration of Independence because  Parliament in the Prohibitory  Act did bladda bladda whatta whatta?  Why is he always so . . . angry, and  uptight?  If they hadn’t thrown all that tea in Boston Harbor they wouldn’t have  the coffee jitters.  Hey Adams–switch to decaf, would ya?  Don’t be bringin’  that Hooters Tour shit in here–we’re trying to declare our independence from  hidebound haberdashery conventions of the old world!  Go burn a witch–you’ll feel better.

What a sorehead.  Here comes Jefferson–now there’s a man with  style.  Good taste in wine and wenches.  Let’s see who he’s wearing.   Ab-so-lute-ly stunning!  A fur collar–what a fashion breakthrough!  I hold that  stylin’ truth to be self-evident, that’s fo sho!

I can just imagine a future American President in the White House telling a  gathering of award-winning designers that he’s present at probably the greatest  concentration of fashion talent in this house except for perhaps those times  when Thomas Jefferson ate alone.

Con Chapman

I'm a Boston-area writer, author of two novels (most recently "Making Partner"), a baseball book about the Red Sox and the Yankees ("The Year of the Gerbil"), ten published plays and 45 books of humor available in print and Kindle formats on My latest book "Scooter & Skipper Blow Things Up!" was released by HumorOutcasts Press last year. My humor has appeared in The Atlantic, The Christian Science Monitor, The Boston Globe and Barron's, and I am working on a biography of Johnny Hodges, Duke Ellington's long-time alto sax player for Oxford University Press .

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