Around 2008, give or take a year, the most unexpected rock ’n’ roll sport out there was golf. SoCal punks, aging headbangers, and rap-music moguls were all signing up for country club memberships. And in an ironic twist of rebellious behaviour, they weren’t saying “fuck you” to the good-old-boys club with street-entrenched fashion statements.
Instead, they wholeheartedly embraced the ugliest, most in-your-face old-school trends. Gaudy plaids, clashing neons and pastels, geezer-esque flat caps—you name it. And they made their point: this isn’t your white, upper-middle-class uncle’s sport anymore. Mohawks and classic tartan knickers? Why the fug not?
So now that they’ve got your attention, stylistically, they don’t have to try so hard. No more clashing of the two worlds. That’s why this season’s trends are more about melding: it’s prep school (but not in a sickly privileged, Chuck Bass kind of way) meets skater subculture.
Imagine if the Z-Boys had spent their summers vacationing at the Kennedy Compound on Cape Cod, and you’ll get an idea of what’s the latest in cool tee-off garb. The Cali counterculture influences are so subtle, Grandpa won’t even known his golf shorts are riffing on a classic boarding-bottoms design. Bobby Pasternak agrees. He’s co-owner of Quagmire, a Toronto-based label that specializes in hip, but wearable, golf duds.
“I think the really bright colours, the bright lime greens, were done last year, two years ago, so you could be as loud as you could and be as obnoxious as you could,” says Pasternak, who’s calling from his Hogtown home base. “That’s what caught people’s eye, caught the buzz, and I think that really helped with the younger trend of golf, but now it’s more about fashion, as opposed to just being bright and obnoxious.”
Take Quagmire TripleBogey cotton-polyester shorts ($69) for instance. Yes, they’re still plaid, but it’s not a dense, seizure-inducing tartan. It’s a wider black-and-white pattern, which makes these bottoms a complementary basic for almost any kind of T-shirt. For guys, there’s the BigDog ($69) style, which has the same pattern as well as the same basic cut—only with a longer, straighter leg. And, according to Pasternak’s partner, Geoff Tait, men of all ages dig these beach-inspired golfing staples.
“The old boys love ’em ’cause they’ve got deep pockets and it’s a nice plaid—guys like that don’t really give a shit about what the brand is,” says Tait, during a phone interview with the Straight. “It’s a matter of ”˜Oh, these shorts are nice.’ Whether it’s supposed to be for an 18-year-old kid or not, they don’t really care.”
As for the ladies’ golf dresses, the sporty polo styles are still all the rage on the driving range. But there are some updated versions that combine bad-ass ethos with prep-school tradition. Quagmire’s ServerGirl ($69), for example—which comes in solid green, black, white, and pink—is essentially the same timeless mini that debutantes know and love so much, only this one has a slouchier waist, so you can pair it with a slightly rocked-out, low-slung belt í la Kate Moss.
For shirts, Quagmire offers an array of popped-collar bad boys made from recycled polyester. However, as Pasternak explains, this eco-friendly gesture is lost on most hard-core putters.
“It’s good for a story on the back of the hanging tag,” admits Pasternak, “but to be completely honest, no, no one really cares.”
So, for now, the Quagmire creative team is leaving the emphasis on its regular golf shirts made from brand-new polyester and finished with their patented fast-drying, odour-resistant, breathable, antibacterial Gud N’ Dri finish.
In terms of design, this entrepreneurial duo keeps it simple, but still gives a nod to all the rebellious duffers and pros out there with the cotton-spandex Gimmee T for ladies ($69), which comes in pink, white, grey, and black and features a sporadic, off-kilter argyle pattern on the front. And for the fellas, there’s the polyester Blade T ($79) that has a random criss-crossing pattern and comes in a blue, green, or pink combos. It’s different, but not totally out there.
“That’s kind of our craziest shirt and it’s not even that crazy,” says Pasternak. “We’ve gone from our totally crazy shirts where people were like, ”˜What the hell is that?’ to a little more”¦not basic, but definitely more wearable.”