#TBT: Sweater Queens

By Christopher Harrity

Originally published on Advocate.com August 14 2014 7:45 AM ET

Before frenulum piercings, before neck tattoos, before beardos, a young or young-appearing gay gentleman strove for a relaxed sophistication. Perhaps a nice ID bracelet. A good Cartier tank watch. A class ring. A splash of Guerlain Vetiver. You ordered a dry martini at the bar, unless you had a signature drink like a Rob Roy or a Sazerac. And yes, even though you were in a gay bar, you did not talk about being gay, my dear.

Decked out in sweaters, ascots, and dickeys, the boys felt more than ready for a night of alcohol and bitter laughter.

Inbred royals set the trends for gay men everywhere.

More inbred royals in case you didn't get that.

"I feel you touching my foot, Ned. Don't toy with me. I'm delicate right now."

Mr. Livermore, the vice principal, had a modeling contract on the side that few of the students knew about.

After some mulled wine and some shooters of rye whiskey, the boys started losing the sweaters but fast.

Manfred felt terribly clever in his faux tank and pleather pants. He had conquered the world of illusion.

Belted with bullets: terrorist chic.

I'm not fat. I'm husky.

Hold the phone! I found a new recruit for the mini-cowl neck sweater club!

Leslie knew he was taking risks going to the Carriage Trade in his new placket-front perforated sweater — completely unbuttoned!

Some men like to have the ears undraped for easy access.

Steven had a hunch he would be a big hit with the boys at the peace rally with his banjo and his leather pants. The sweater vest his mother made topped off the dazzling effect.

There was a joke we used to tell: A man at the bar drunkenly tells his friend, "My mother made me a homosexual." His companion blithely replies, "Can she knit me one too?"

Queens from the Planet Cardigan.

Tim felt positively nifty in his matching sweater and helmet.

We were positively mesmerized when Arthur stolled into the bar with his dog Max in matching sweaters.

Yes, there was a demand for a magazine called Men in Belted Sweaters.

Jay felt his impatience peaking. One more crack from his longtime roomate Glenn about his "net worth" and he was going to flip his lid!

It was a strange summer of knits.

No, dear, he doesn't think you're hot, he's appalled at your roots.

Promise you won't wear that sweater with those white shorts again, will you, Earl?

Queens from the Planet Shetlandia. Note loafers.

So as you head into fall and perk up your wardrobe with some toasty little sweaters, remember the long history that knits us together as stylish gay men.