TUTTLE MODE

by James Tuttle

Gentle reader,

Move over New Jersey.  Now there’s something meat-headier!  Yes, Texas has taken your place as the stupidest place in America; at least until Rick Perry moves away or some reality show producer decides to take a drive through West Virginia.  In honor of my fabulous friend Cynthia’s birthday-with-a-zero this week, I thought I’d take a look at the Lone Star State’s newest show A-List: Dallas.  You see, Cynthia is a Dallas native and she was rather disapproving when I reviewed the train wreck that is Bravo’s Most Eligible Dallas.  I believe she said something like, “Being from Dallas, I had to see if any of these pompous asses were related to me.  Thank God, I don’t know any of them.”  You can always count on Cynthia to get to the point.

James Clippinger redefines hay fever. (From clippingertwins.com)

Even though I drive past a huge Sunset Boulevard billboard for this show that features a bunch of uncomfortable looking people and the caption “Housewives with Balls, Y’all” on my way into Beverly Hills every morning, I’ve neglected tuning into this obvious MENSA brain trust until last Friday when there was nothing else on television.  I mean, really, there was nothing.  I don’t even bother anymore with HGTV and its endless House Hunters and House Hunters International bullshit and Say Yes to the Dress was playing back-to-back over on Style Network so I was kind of stuck with Logo’s gay-ass answer to the Real Housewives franchise.

So, let’s begin with the main gay, shall we?  Levi looks a bit hunky in the preview clips but, in his close ups with the oversized ten-gallon cowboy hat, he seems like he has a lazy eye or is drunk, maybe both.  Anyway, he stops into a local modeling agency to book some guys to model his new Inchwear underwear line at “an upscale party” then eagerly mentions how he wants the models to “try on underwear” so many times that I already feel uncomfortable for them.  And isn’t it illegal for a bunch of people to be trying on the same underwear?

A-List: Dallas' Levi. Wonky eye for a queer guy.

I guess the model-casting people know their shit because Levi ogles and oozes over each model as they slip on this underwear and work their man-bits in the office and, wouldn’t you know it, they all book the job.  In the midst of discovering these future supermodels, there’s a moment more awkward that the rest when Levi explains the Inchwear concept to one of them.  He winks like an old lizard at the poor kid then says salaciously, “You’re wearing a ten.”  Sure enough, the guy’s briefs have 10” printed on them in huge numbers right next to his dick.  They also come in 8” and 9” and have measuring tapes printed on the waistbands, in case you’re interested.

Sleazy enough to send you scurrying back into the closet.

After this completely businesslike casting session, the show becomes a succession of staged, contrived conversations that lead relentlessly along the narrow track of the plot to the climactic underwear launch party held at a private home that clearly hasn’t been redecorated since the early 1980s.  The partygoers are dressed in ill-fitting shorts and t-shirts like fat Americans on holiday even though, as Levi tells us, “There’s a lot riding on this party tonight.”  So why do his guests all look like they got their outfits at Sears?

The gang is all here, of course, and their Goldilocks (a bear’s fag hag), Ashley, is pissed off because her mediocre photos of token black queen Philip wearing the Inchwear brand weren’t blown up and posted around the event like she expected.  After some semi-heated discussions, she slings a couple of cocktails at Levi, glass and all, but it doesn’t come as much of a surprise.  After all, how much class do you expect from a girl who works out in full makeup and spandex ensembles worthy of a “Let’s Get Physical” video remake?

A-List: Dallas' Ashley. A Barbie girl in a Barbie world.

The whole thing is kind of a manipulated mess, I guess, but I love when they do things like swear each other to secrecy by saying, “You have to promise me you won’t say anything.  Not one WORD!”  Um, you’re saying this in front of a camera crew, you fucking moron, and the cameras are rolling and you’re even cheating to show your best side.  It’s not like we forgot you were on TV.  Unfortunately, now I can’t wait to see what happens next week.

Bel Air Polo party at Jonathan Adler.

I luckily didn’t have to worry much about what was on television the rest of the weekend because the Bel Air Polo Club and the Gay Polo League hosted the Pacific Coast Arena Polo Finals and, as a proud member of both, I had to turn up to as many events as possible.  Since I was working both days, I sadly couldn’t play in the tournament but I made it to our cocktail party launch on Thursday night at the charming Jonathan Adler store on Melrose that was sponsored by Grey Goose vodka and Magnolia restaurant.

Jonathan Adler party guests (Photo: G. Wildman)

I thought I’d be the only asshole showing up at a home décor boutique in full polo regalia because Chip, our Gay Polo leader, had texted asking me to wear my old boots, white jeans and polo jerseys and I always fall for that shit.  Luckily, a bunch of others did as well and I didn’t look like a complete idiot.  The Adler shop is bright and full of beautifully crafted furniture, objets and Pop Art-y books.  I fell in love with a wonderfully musky candle cradled in white ceramic, but one look at my feet reminded me that I was saving up for new polo boots so I had to put the damn thing back.

Chip McKenney and James Tweten of the Gay Polo League.

I also managed to get out to the L.A. Equestrian Center in time for the High Goal Exhibition Match on Saturday night and found a big crowd braving the cold night for exciting arena polo.  It was even more rewarding to see my polo coaches, Erik Wright and Jared Sheldon, playing on opposing teams and doing all the things they tell me not to do, like backing the ball when there’s no one on your team to pick it up.  Thanks, guys!  You looked great, though.  Really.

Western-themed fashion images from Marie Claire.

Being around all these horses, boots and Texans brings me to a huge fashion trend this fall that is confusing for me personally.  You see, growing up in the American West to a family of horse breeders who drove pickup trucks and wore cowboy boots without irony, I have a difficult time equating western wear with fashion.  Maybe Chinese people feel the same way about the mandarin collars and Mao jackets that I think are so chic and exotic.  Nevertheless, there is a Western influence this season that looks so effortless and comfortable and is also a great way to bring the chambray shirts, suede boots and denim that you may already own up to date.

Proenza Schouler/Isabel Marant looks for Fall 2011.

For guidance, you could check out the Navajo-inspired fabrics at Proenza Schouler but I much prefer the fringe and denim at Isabel Marant, which feels a little rock ‘n’ roll, as well.  We’ve already covered the exquisite prairie theme at this season’s Rodarte but those long skirts and coats in colors from maize and the sky definitely deserve another browse.  Ralph Lauren’s Spring 2011 was on the verge of cowgirl costume but he had some great ideas for accessorizing so I wholeheartedly recommend taking a look at the collection.  Just don’t do the cowboy boots and the prairie skirt and the Navajo bag AND the big belt buckle unless you’re going to a theme party as Annie Oakley.  Actually, don’t do it then, either.

Western accessorizing at Ralph Lauren Spring 2011.

I think the secret to making this western trend successful is mixing fabrics, textures and accessories like you might do on the ranch.  Try using leather vests or pants; suede boots and jackets; denim jeans, skirts and jackets; fur vests and collars; and cotton, flannel or lace blouses in new combinations, just keeping that western idea in the back of your mind.  If you’re short on accessories, steer clear of Barney’s for once because the best old belts and bolo ties are going to be in the vintage shops.  You don’t want to look too polished and you should really avoid piling on the western details to the point of looking like a tack shop.  I mean, you’re going to lunch or to the office; not to a dude ranch.  It bears mentioning that a real cowboy doesn’t give a shit if his boots are a little scuffed up and he really doesn’t care if they match his belt or his saddlebags.  He’ll wear a shearling vest over a plaid shirt without worrying what color they are and I think you should, too.  But, most of all, remember to have a little fun.

Yee haw!

Much love,

xxJames