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Sunday, May 8, 2005

How to look hot or not

Staff Writer

This story is part of a package. To read the introduction, please click here.
Dressing properly for a barbecue party is a daunting task.

Is there anything more embarrassing than attempting to light the charcoal wearing last year's T-shirt? Don't fret. There's a JT fashionista (of a fashion) here to help you put the heat to the meat in style.

First, the hat. A white chef's hat exudes tradition and a sense of trust, but there's the disadvantage of appearing elitist at an otherwise egalitarian function. Those wishing to make a proletarian statement should don caps advertising their favorite baseball team (excepting, obviously, the Yankees, Mariners, Dodgers or Yomiuri Giants), chewing tobacco, bait and tackle shop, or hometown restaurant -- preferably a barbecue joint or truck stop. Caps should be worn with the bill facing forward, as wearing them backward is so 1990s.

Feeling a bit more bohemian? Bandanas remain happily in style, go well with tie-dyed shirts and pants, and can be worn even by people who don't like reggae.

Second, the sunglasses. Since time began, the central question regarding sunglasses has remained unanswered. Which sets the mood of a BBQ better: "ZZ Top" cheap sunglasses or traditional aviator glasses? The debate continues, but in this expert's humble opinion, the sharply dressed man, and woman, should go with the ZZ Top eye shades. Besides, you won't feel as bad when you fall on them and break them during the ultimate frisbee game.

Hearty thumbs-up

Next, and most importantly, the shirt. Fashion gurus generally give a hearty thumbs-up to T-shirts with the names of Asian grunge bands, obscure 1970s British folk-rock groups, and pretentious, but forgotten, American underground bands of the 1980s. Also winning approval are jerseys of defunct professional sports teams (bonus points for Seattle Pilots or Cleveland Barons jerseys), and T-shirts with Steve Bell cartoons, drawings by semi-famous African artists, or logos of your favorite bar in Southeast Asia or North Africa. Anything with "Ichiro" or "Matsui" written on it is clearly declasse, and should be avoided at all costs. But if you really want to burn up the BBQ fashion runway, a T-shirt with The Japan Times' logo simply screams cutting edge.

As for pants, pretty much anything goes, though discretion should be the better part of taste. The appetite for a medium-rare steak diminishes rapidly when it's cooked by a fat, pasty, middle-aged white guy wearing a thong bikini brief that leaves nothing to the imagination. Of course, plaid slacks should be avoided unless you're entertaining older wealthy conservative folks or anyone from Nagoya. In which case, it's doubtful you'll follow the above tips, anyway.

Finally, the shoes, you ask? What shoes? It's a barbecue for Pete's sake. Go barefoot or, if you must, don a pair of sandals.

For other stories in this package, please click the following links:

It's time to get out there and grrrrrrrill! By ERIC JOHNSTON Where to go for a lark in the park By ERIC JOHNSTON and SETSUKO KAMIYA Grilling he who would be Barbecue King By ERIC JOHNSTON

Goodies just a click away By ERIC JOHNSTON

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