Clothes (Don’t) Make The Man

I remember when men’s fashion consisted of the colour of your shirt, the width of your lapel and the size of your tie.  We’ve come a long way since those heady days when nobody gave a damn what men looked like.  These days, men are breaking out of their no-style straitjackets and showing the world just how ridiculous they can look — given half a chance.  Here are some examples of male fashion statements in the 21st century.

Bush Baby Beards — Unlike their Old Testament cousins. these neatly trimmed wannabes are the fashion statement of a man who desperately wants to be trendy but has minivan payments, a massive mortgage and a job he can’t afford to lose.

Popped collars — Usually found on Lacoste Shirts (those three-button alligator abominations.) They’re the international symbol for “My father’s a lawyer, and now I’m a lawyer, too.”

Half Zippered Polar Fleece — Nothing says Suburban Dad like half zippered polar fleece.

Faux Hawk Hair — For the man who doesn’t have the stones to go full Mohawk.

Tattoos (neck, face or armband) — You think you look like a badass. Guess again!  You look like your IQ and your fashion sense are permanently stuck in the 80s.

Backwards (or sideways) Baseball Hats — The universal style of the heterosexual man who hasn’t quite figured out why women tend to avoid him.

Flip Flops — Except for the beach, the gym and Walmart, grown men wear shoes.  They just do.

Skinny Jeans — No room for your keys, your phone or your genitalia.  No wonder so few hipsters have kids.

Plaid Shirts — OMG!  They’re still around.  Hey, buddy!  You’re not cool..  You’re a waiter from Queens.

Corn Rows — Normally found on a young man who’s just returned from a Mexican vacation.  His girlfriend thought it would look cute, and he thought he’d get laid.  (They were both wrong.)

Ear Gauge — These tell the world you’ve worked at Starbucks for so long you’re finally on the day shift.

The Man Bun — Just sad.  Really, really sad.

Beanie Caps — Whoever keeps resurrecting this damn things oughtta be ashamed.

Zany Socks — Unless you’re a tenured Art History professor, terminally English or a certified pompous ass zany socks do not make you any more interesting than you already aren’t.

And finally:

The Gangsta Hoodie — If you’re over thirty and still wearing the gangsta hoodie, you need to take a look at your life.  Seriously, something‘s not working.

I Love Fashion!

fashion

I love fashion a lot more than most heterosexual men my age.  It’s one of those things that happened early on in life (as a teenager, I was seduced by Coco Chanel’s “little black dress”) and it has continued ever since.  You see, to me, fashion is more than adornment.  It’s the vision and ability to turn a two dimensional material into a three-dimensional piece of art, using only colour and texture — while simultaneously being handcuffed to the standard contours of the human body.  Plus, it’s all about sex!

Anyway, yesterday was the end of Haute Couture Week in Paris.  This is when designers from all over the world gather in the City of Light to eat, drink, pontificate and play silly buggers with the female form.  (There is a Homme Week, but nobody cares.  After all, after Armani, what can you do with a suit?)  The thing is Haute Couture isn’t about clothes.  It’s walking avant-garde: the fringe of fashion that sets the tone for the middle.  It’s the stuff that women don’t actually wear, because it’s outrageously expensive, 90% of it is hideous and you can’t sit down.  Yet the catwalks are full, the streets are alive with fashionistas, the media is having multiple orgasms, and everybody from Marks and Spencer to Emmanuel Macron is taking notice.  This is because (despite what virtuous sophomore millennials will tell you) fashion is a serious component of human society – and always will be.  (Even the hillbilly Neanderthals wore baubles and beads.)

The truth is fashion is our most basic form of communication.  Check it out!  When you walk into a room and someone is standing there, you have no idea who or what they are – zoologist to axe murderer.  You can’t hear, smell, touch or taste them, so you rely on your eyes for social cues, and a suit and tie send a different message from dirty jeans and a torn t-shirt. (FYI We can yip all day about being non-judgemental, but the fact is we all do first impressions — it’s instinctual — and it’s one of the reasons our species dominates this planet.)

Fashion is the shorthand we use to tell the world where we fit.  Whether we shop at Dollarama or Dolce & Gabbana, we choose our clothes to reflect our personality, our status, our mood and, in some cases, our occupation, our sexuality and even our level of self-esteem.  Fashion is our opinion of ourselves and our world without ever saying a word.  That’s why puritanical societies that fear opinion restrict fashion.

There was nothing spectacular about this year’s Haute Couture: a lot of beads and sleeves and Karl Lagerfeld didn’t wave to the crowd (the guy’s 85.)  However, like every year, it set the stage for February, a month of pret a porter (ready to wear) in New York, London, Milan (Berlin and Tokyo are in there somewhere) and finally back to Paris.  This is where the big girls come to play– and I can hardly wait.

I’ve Discovered Sexy

sexySummer isn’t over yet, but it’s so close I can smell the leaves thinking about dropping off the trees.  Yahoo!  So, it’s time to get serious again ’cause serious is the new sexy.  (Well — not really — but smart guys can dream.)  Anyway, sexy is that elusive quality that some people have and most people want.  Personally, I think it’s hidden away in our DNA somewhere, just screaming to get out.  Unfortunately, most of us are kinda deaf.  Fortunately, though, after years of research, I’ve come up with a few clothing ideas guaranteed to transform the inner dork we all possess into the sensual creature we all want to be.  So forget leather and lace, folks: here’s what you need to look sexy — and if ya look sexy, you’re gonna feel sexy — and if ya feel sexy, trust me, that’s all ya need.

Boots — A gentlemen might wear Oxford brogues, but bad boys wear boots.

Slingback heels — Leave the stilettos in the closet, girls; they’re overkill.  Sexy is subtle.  All you need is enough heel to make that light, crisp click when you walk — ’cause that tells the world you’re female.

Gloves — I don’t even have to explain this one.

Matching underwear — Nobody knows but you, and there’s nothing sexier than secrets.

An Armani suit — Women look at Armani the way men look at lingerie.

Tight White T-shirts — This inexpensive little item transcends gender.  Keep it tight, keep it electric white, and — whatever you do — don’t go nuts with the neckline.

Levis — Like the t-shirt, levis don’t care if you’re male or female, but when they’re worn properly, even the casual observer should be able to tell the difference — from a distance.

A Hat — Ladies only.  Unfortunately, most men have no idea how to wear a hat properly, and they usually end up looking like somebody’s Uncle Ernie.  On the other hand, give a woman — any woman — a hat and she’s suddenly more sophisticated — and a helluva lot more fun.

But the sexiest thing on the planet is:

Sunglasses — If the eyes are the windows of the soul, sunglasses make everyone mysterious — the central ingredient in sexy.  Sunglasses are made for spies, movie stars and fighter pilots.  But the weird thing is you don’t even have to wear sunglasses to be sexy.  Just put them in your hair, hang them from your shirt or, hell, even hold them in your hand.  Take them off with one hand, put them on with two, twist them, twirl them, chew on their ends.  Even the simple gesture of tilting them down to peek over the top is worth two Don Juans and a Mata Hari.  Total sex!  The fact is, sunglasses are so sexy they ought to be “adults only.”