Take the Moron Out of the Oxymoron- Men’s Fashion
OK Clever Guys- I am certain most of these observations are irrelevant to you- but, perhaps you can pass on this information to the 90% of dudes whose version of fashion couldn’t make a high light reel in late June. Fashion for men doesn’t have to be an oxymoron- just a few moments of consideration before you roll out of bed and leave the house will help take the moron out of the equation.
Where to begin? We can start with undergarments- why not? I’m a big fan. For most men, the underwear they select has more to do with comfort than appearance- so, for you boys who insist on classic boxer shorts- it’s time to explore (because frankly, they’re not hot and we don’t care if you are comfortable or not).
The boxer brief is a longer version of the brief and ideally clings to fit thighs. There are so many options out there- it is hard NOT to come by a boxer brief by your favorite boxer or brief manufacturer. 2xist is my personal favorite for looks- but truth be told, they’re a bit thin and do not hold up well. 2xist does, however, make a nice variety of undershirts, which deviate from the classic t, classic v or typical tank. 2xist is a more fashionable option as well is Nicole Miller, Versace, Calvin Klein, DKNY- but don’t discount Fruit of the Loom and Hanes for stylish and durable undies.
Please note: I made no mention of bikinis or thongs and shudder at the thought there are leather and rubber underwear for men. None of these seem very Clever as there is bound to be some chafing? Yikes. Do not get me wrong- there are women out there who like this type of thing, but if I were you- I would not strut out of the bathroom in a leather jock strap the first time you are intimate. Unless you have discussed your proclivities, it might scare the bejesus out of her- she will certainly be wondering when you will unveil the restraints and cat o’ nine tails to flog her with.
Undershirts are a hot debate and a personal preference. I will say- if your shirt is see through- light-weight white, you need some type of undershirt. Do not even consider a low v-neck sweater without something lying beneath.
No one should wear mesh except a football player in a practice jersey.
Less is best when it comes to so many things- most notably, cologne and jewelry. If we smell you coming before we see you- not good. If you are wearing more jewelry than we are- odd. Nothing wrong with a modest necklace, a bracelet, a watch and a ring- but you don’t have to wear every single piece of jewelry you own every time you leave the house. I operate on the gym rule- if you can’t wear it to the gym- don’t wear it everyday.
Did I say gym? It pains me to think of gym attire. A comfortable pair of shorts and a shirt or tank will suffice. No one wants to see your package- seriously. SERIOUSLY. If your shorts are so tight or brief as to leave everyone in a heightened state preparing for peeking, slippage or god forbid that unexpected response- you are inappropriately dressed. Under Armour is a fantastic brand of fitted but modest and stylish work out apparel. Classics are Nike and Adidas- both of which are available at nationwide outlets.
Ed Hardy- over it.
Once a Sigma Chi, always a Sigma Chi- right? Perhaps in theory, but this does not mean you have to dress like a frat boy for the rest of your life. Khaki and chambray is a cop out and any Clever girl would read it as an insult. Put some effort into it- hell, just a different color shirt!
Affliction is becoming just that. A definite malady for the onlooker. It is not a uniform, guys.You don’t have to be clad head to toe- the beanie or cap, the jewelry, the tee, the shirt, the jeans, the footwear, the belt, the wallet- honestly, if you must afflict- BREAK IT UP! Try the jeans and a normal plain white shirt or tight plain black t-shirt. Or, if you are addicted to the t-shirts every single dude on the face of the earth has- then wear them with a NON- Affliction jean and boot. This eyesore is similar to the guy who is swathed in Polo- the logo leaping off cotton and the obviously Polo red boat shoe- you are just asking to get your ass kicked by a dude rigged out in Affliction.
Speaking of belts, if you have belt loops and you tuck your shirt in- you are obligated to find a belt. If you don’t own one, because you are the dude who is perennially tucking your shirt in with no belt- go buy one. Target, Neiman’s, Banana Republic- they are everywhere and in every size. Just a hint- your belt buckle should never be bigger than your head.
Anything which might be considered a “get- up” or a “costume” is absurd looking. For the young set- the “skater” look, the “goth” thing? None of it looks good- actually it looks ridiculous and so does your hair you brush from your eyes every four point five seconds. Does every item of apparel you own have to be from Hot Topic, Zumies, or Pac Sun? Or is it not possible to skate unless? I get the comfort issue- but it doesn’t require you looking exactly like every other dude hanging in the theater parking lot.
If your friend shows up wearing a knit skull cap- take yours off, or play rock, paper, scissors to determine which of you gets to sport it for the time you are together- otherwise- we are all laughing at you.
Sunglasses inside- you look stupid and NO ONE thinks you’re famous. As a matter of fact, I was out over the weekend and Billy Zane was having lunch next to me- he was not wearing sunglasses- and HE was in Titanic and Tombstone, thusly, famous. Same for Mike Modano today- middle of the day- in door- in public- no sunglasses- there is no good reason for it- again, it looks stupid.
As I said before- anyone who thinks a dog is man’s best friend has never owned a really great pair of jeans. Denim has long been the cotton bottom of choice for comfort and its never ending popularity has lured even the highest end designers into the game. Versace, Armani, Gucci and D&G are all representing. Regardless of your preference- there are two absolutes- jeans should neither be too tight or too loose.
Baggy jeans look bad. I’m not suggesting second skin denim- they should simply rest somewhere near your body- if you are trying to hide some weight- this makes you look bigger and dumpier.
It’s better to have two or three really well made and perfectly fitting jeans than fifteen pair that look like you borrowed them from someone twice your size or half your size. If your inseam is longer than thirty four- there are a few brands you might try- Seven, AG, Bibliotheque and Rock and Republic offer a thirty six or jeans of an equivalent length.Longer than this and you might likely find yourself (not for the first time) at a store or boutique for taller gentlemen.
I’m not encouraging your to spend a month’s salary on a pair of jeans- though it’s possible even if you are the CEO of Disney- it seems there is no ceiling on the price of denim. There are ways of beating the system- Last Call, Neiman Marcus Outlets and Off Fifth- the outlet for Saks Fifth Avenue, Syms and Men’s Warehouse are excellent resources for denim at easily forty to seventy percent off. Express, Calvin Klein, Gap, AG (my ultimate favorite jean for Clever Girls and Clever Guys), Simon Miller, True Religion (which I detest on 90 percent of people), Rock and Republic (my big time fave) are all great brands, which will fit any budget.
The ill-fitting suit follows the same path as jeans. It is better, in my opinion, to have a couple really well made and classically cut suits in black and navy- than ten poorly constructed, shoddily finished out “suits”. If image matters in your business- dress the part- always.
Do not stay tied into the traditional striped power tie- there are too many options- virtually every men’s store and designer has a line of ties to meet any price point. Let the neck accessory tie into your personality- it’s a little window into who you are.
The wallet chain- No Comment
No matter how hard you try- there is really NO reason to have your shirt unbuttoned lower than between your pecs unless you have a shirt on underneath.
I am all for casual, but put on some freaking pants occasionally. I have a friend who wears cargo shorts year round. If it’s cold, he adds fleece and a jacket. What is the deal? Further- have a sense of occasion- please do not go to dinner at Morton’s of Chicago in the same outfit you wore to Hooter’s for lunch. While the economy has caused many upscale eateries to relax their dress codes- it is still offensive to those who bother to make an effort beyond rolling out of bed.
Sports related apparel- I am talking about jerseys etc … perfect for game day- hell, I’m the first person to show up in my perfectly preserved for game day Anthony Carter jersey- but I’m not going to wear it out for the evening unless we’re headed to a sports bar. Sports apparel is not for EVERYDAY- it should not comprise 90% of your wardrobe unless you ARE a professional athlete- even then …
OK, Clever Guys- while some need nothing other than a well worn pair of jeans and an untucked white or otherwise fabulous shirt- the look is evolving a bit again. Layers have not been so popular in a long time. Don’t be afraid to mix it up with a traditional button down and a sweater- leave the shirt untucked in direct defiance to what your mother would prefer.It looks really good. Wear a sweater and t-shirt with a light weight jacket or blazer over the top- anything goes, but if at any point you think- does this look ridiculous? The answer is yes. Change.
Leather is huge- as usual. Outer and casual wear has never been so hip and hot so don’t be afraid to use light-weight leather jackets as accessories to remain on while inside. Don’t blow the whole look by throwing on the quilted overcoat you wore in college. A wool over coat for business attire, shorter wool coats are great for casual, quilted hip length jackets are really hot for winter this year and don’t be afraid to add gloves, scarves and hats to stay warm (and don’t worry, I have a manly solution for what to do with all that crap while it’s not on your body).
Men are champing at the bit for a carry-all, which does not translate to purse- or man bag or murse. Since few can function- even on a day off without a laptop- the need for a computer case has resolved this issue to a certain degree. Fatboy makes a huge variety of bags for men in all shapes, sizes and colors. Some even have a “back pack” esque look so there is no way anyone would accuse you of being a chick. You can count on Italian designers to come through with great carry-alls for men. A lot of companies are referring to them as messenger bags- designed to be slung over the shoulder upright or diagonally.Prada, Gucci, Coach, Fendi, Tumi, Burburry, and Jack Spade have great options spanning computer case, brief case and carry-all. Don’t be intimidated- no one is laughing unless it’s a tote or a hobo style purse.
It’s never been a better time to invest in shoes, simply for the fact the options are endless.Men are embracing the flip-flop and sandal (please make certain you have a pedicure), which is a great option with jeans, shorts, casual slacks- but please stop there. I saw a dude with wool suit slacks on the other day with flip-flops and there was no making the leap.Don’t get me wrong- the right guy could pull off a slim fitting wool trouser, fitted long sleeve t-shirt with matching flip flop and belt- but this is tough, my personal theory is if you are wearing wool- wear a close toed shoe.
Driving moccasins actually have a purpose- so if you have a sports car which aligns your foot in a more lateral than upright position when accelerating- you might want to spare your fabulous loafers by investing in a shoe which will take the beating.
My chief complain with shoes is when they are worn inappropriately. Do not wear a dressy loafer, wing-tip or boot with a highly relaxed jean and t-shirt look. If you prefer a more polished casual look than jeans- slacks and a sweater perhaps- wear those more sophisticated shoes and the inverse is true.
My personal advice regarding shoes and boots is to purchase classic items instead of trendy ones. Mark Nason and Robert Wayne are hot now- but for how long? Donald Pliner is a great option for a good looking shoe which tends to “emulate” the current styles of Gucci and Prada. If your means allow- I highly suggest a few pair of timeless Prada or Gucci loafers or boots in black and brown- they will serve you well and for a long time- similar to a high dollar “escort”.
It must be said- if you prefer a boot- please make sure it is high enough on the calf so your pant or jean is not hung up on them every, single time you stand. It is distracting and potentially embarrassing as you think you are flawless but you look clueless. Gucci and Paul Smith both have gorgeous boots which come well above the ankle- eliminating the potential for becoming hung up.
Is this overwhelming? OK- here are some ideas-
Trust a well put together female friend to accompany you shopping for clothing.
Avoid patterns and color if you are not truly comfortable in them.
Think layers to bulk up a slender or fit frame and slightly loser fitting clothing if you are looking to lose some weight.
If you have the means- head to a store such as Neiman Marcus or Saks and select a personal shopper- be advised, it is their job to sell you stuff- so let them know upfront you need guidance but will make all final decisions regarding price. Barney’s is another great store with valuable staff who function as personal shoppers.
I’ll expect a great showing tomorrow- be intentional, Clever Guys. Clever Girls notice effort.