One Memorable Look: Mr David Lynch’s Surprisingly Normal Uniform
Mr David Lynch in his office, Los Angeles, October 1984. Photograph by Ms Ann Summa/Getty Images
Earlier this year, a number of keen internet observers noticed some similarities between the state of the world and a Mr Stephen King novel. The grim resemblance is undeniable, but I find myself following a more apt figurehead to make sense of these chaotic times, especially given Mr King’s knack for bad endings and the latest glimmer of hope on the horizon. Someone with a certain idiosyncratic panache that perfectly captures this lingering collective dream state we’re experiencing. Someone with a flair for the surreal and excellent personal style to match. Someone who will tell me the weather without fail. That someone is Mr David Lynch.
The past year has all the hallmarks of a classic Mr Lynch film, drifting from a lucid daydream where time seemingly stands still to a grotesque nightmare in a mind-bending sequence one can hardly keep up with. Day after day, we face plot twists of epic proportions, and yet the gravity of world events can sometimes feel elusive and uncanny when they’re not directly in front of us. It’s as though CNN is stitching together elements from Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive, with a dash of Twin Peaks’ bizarro homeyness thrown in for good measure.
All the while, Mr Lynch has dutifully been uploading daily weather reports on YouTube from his Los Angeles home, along with an enigmatic raffle with no clear rhyme or reason. With that Lynchian patchwork of plot devices in full effect, it would serve us well to follow the artist and filmmaker’s lead as we navigate these tumultuous times.
Mr Lynch is one of those directors who we speak of in terms of his oeuvre, a body of work that is relentlessly vivisected by critics and appreciated as a whole greater than the sum of its twisted parts. It’s with that spirit that we bend the boundaries of our One Memorable Looks and break down Mr Lynch’s consistent series of memorable outfits that rarely stray from a simple yet effective formula: well-worn slacks, a dress shirt buttoned all the way up, and a hearty – often navy – blazer. Throw in some dust and detritus from hours spent in the studio and you’ve got a timeless, utilitarian uniform that can handle whatever comes your way.
Mr David Lynch on the set of Inland Empire, Poland, 2006. Photograph by Studio Canal/Everett Collection/Bridgeman Images
This ensemble uniform has served Mr Lynch well over the years, seamlessly ushering him from film sets to festivals and press junkets while cementing his status as an unconventional style icon. The outfit remains effortless and devoid of the twee affectations that plague certain auteurs in his industry. Maybe it’s the understated elegance of a simple suit jacket that’s refreshing if not slightly anachronistic amid today’s sea of brand logos, hoodies and graphic tees, or the off-kilter proportions of a top-button missing a tie. Whatever it is – and with Mr Lynch, there never really is a clear explanation – certain elements of style can be gleaned to advance your personal uniform.
For starters, consistency in one’s wardrobe may very well be the balm for the chaos of today, not to mention the mark of a genius (See: Dr Albert Einstein and Mr Steve Jobs). Then there’s the act of dressing up, something that’s been neglected among the legion of remote workers who have resigned themselves to sweatpants just out of frame during video calls. The old adage “look good, feel good,” is as important as ever, so actually making an effort to elevate your day-to-day get-up will go a long way toward cultivating a positive headspace. All it really takes is throwing on a blazer (unstructured, for maximum WFH comfort).
Finally, with winter just getting started, you’ll want to incorporate some versatile layers into your rotation. Opt for a cashmere-jersey blazer for the extra warmth. And always have a crisp-white dress-shirt at the ready.
With only about six weeks left to go before the new year (can you believe it?), it’s clear we still haven’t quite reached the cinematic climax of 2020. While we should certainly take a page out of Mr Lynch’s sartorial playbook, let’s do our part to make sure 2021 goes off-script in a good way. At the very least, we can hope for that familiar forecast bookending every one of Mr Lynch’s weather dispatches: “Once these clouds dissipate, we should be seeing beautiful blue skies and golden sunshine all along the way.”