Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Break From The Norm

Being a 20-something packing a smartphone in 2010, I update my Facebook status regularly on all sorts of inane crap. One of my most recent status updates, regarding some women's tendency to mistake leggings for actual pants, generated quite a few comments. My buddy Dan suggested I write about it, and while I know this is a men's style blog, I feel strongly about this issue and have decided to throw a curveball.

Sometimes, leggings work. A girl I know recently told me of an outfit she wore to work which included leggings, a long sweater that hit just above mid-thigh or so, some kind of cool belt to create a semi-high-waisted look, ballet flats, and some unique jewelry. This works because:

a) This girl is very, very stylish and good-looking in the first place, so she's got a leg up, and

b) The leggings were not mistaken as pants (i.e. worn by themselves). She knew that the first things to do when rocking leggings are to cover your ass and conceal any potential camel toe. Or, in the case of some more unfortunate women, moose knuckle.

On the other hand, solo leggings with Uggs and some poofy Juicy Couture jacket that hits at the waist look like shit. The whole getup looks slovenly, even if you have an ass that could beat Jennifer Lopez's in a street fight. Like sweatpants, wearing leggings by themselves in public projects to the world that you don't care about how you look, and, by extension, how others perceive you.

Seriously, if you want to look casual, wear a pair of jeans. That's why they exist. If it's too hot for jeans, get a pair of shorts. Or wear a skirt. Dressing casually does not preclude you from dressing decently, no matter your sex.

Ladies, thank you for your attention to this serious matter.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Sweatpants Aren't Alright

I wish you could have been there, really. There I was in Center City, walking away from Rittenhouse Park after having finished a delicious lunch from the Pad Thai Shack. It was a gorgeous day, and the positivity in the air was nearly palpable.

Then some dickhead walks by wearing an orange t-shirt with grey sweatpants, the legs of which were tucked into his black leather combat boots.

This was nothing less than an affront to my senses; I was stunned. So stunned, in fact, that I couldn't get my phone out in time to take a decent enough picture to post here. Just take my word for it when I say that the idea was the same as the picture of the woman above, but with shorter boots and a t-shirt instead of a sport coat.

You might be wondering, "Why is this such a big deal, Mike? Does wearing sweatpants really make you a dickhead?"

In the aforementioned context, you can bet your balls it does. Here's why:

Sweatpants are made for working out, helping people move, painting, sleeping, or being under the age of ten. They are not an article of clothing that's in any way fashionable. They flatter neither men nor women, and if you become in any way aroused, everyone will know (and hopefully be impressed). In fact, my old friend Matt once said, "If you wear sweatpants out of the house, that means you've lost the will to live." I couldn't agree with him more.

The man in question, however, is different. He hadn't lost the will to live; in fact, tucking his sweatpants into his boots was his misguided stab at being fashionable. Dude thought he was hot shit, but dude was wrong. The look was intentional, which makes it a particularly egregious breach of good taste. I'm not personally a huge fan of wearing combat boots unless you're actually, you know, in combat, but it's trendy these days, and had he simply substituted jeans for the sweatpants, he would have at least not looked sloppy.

Guys, here's a good rule of thumb: Don't wear sweatpants outside of the house or the gym (transit to and from the gym applies too, that's why they have locker rooms). It's sloppy and projects to the world that you could care less about how you look, which means you could care less about how you're perceived by others.

You're better than that, and you know it.

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Thomas Crowne Affair, or Why You Should Emulate Pierce Brosnan When Wearing A Suit


I watched the 1999 remake of The Thomas Crowne Affair this past weekend. I know this isn't a film blog, but here's my review:

It was crap. True, you get to see Rene Russo's cans, but

A) They're not that spectacular, and

B) Her character sets feminism back oh, I don't know, about 100 years or so. She apparently can't be a serious businesswoman in the presence of a dashing, handsome rich man who happens to betray her trust over and over again. And the end scene where Pierce magically shows up on the plane to hand her a tissue as she begins crying because he hurt her yet again? That's so insanely farfetched it belongs in a romantic comedy. He might as well be god-damned Hugh Grant.

But I digress. The saving grace was Pierce's wardrobe. That son of a bitch can dress, and you can tell he took a couple of cues from Steve McQueen, pictured at the above right as the OG Thomas Crowne from the sixties' original. We're talking full-blown men's sartorial splendor, here. He's completely comfortable in his suits at all times, and while Messrs. McQueen and Brosnan probably achieved this by having bespoke suits made for them, you can closely approximate this by finding a good tailor who will do what you ask.

Pay attention to the details of the photos above, namely the following:

  • The collar of the jacket always allows for about 3/4" of shirt collar to show.
  • See the shirt cuff peeking out from the jacket sleeve? That's intentional, and it should be 1/4"-1/2" of cuff showing.
  • See the dent below the knot in the tie? It's called a dimple, and you should always have one. For a good instructional video, click here.
  • For a dash of elegance, throw on some French cuffs.
  • As far as pattern coordination goes, you can't miss with a muted suit, white shirt, and boldly patterned tie. Or, in the case of Steve McQueen, bold suit with muted shirt and tie.
  • Get yourself a decent-looking watch with a leather band.
  • If you're going sans tie, lose the t-shirt underneath.
  • Always, always, wear a pocket square with a suit jacket. It must never, under any circumstances, match your tie.
Guys, if you follow these tips, you will look better than 90% of the schlubs wearing suits. If you're bent on seeing Pierce's suits in action, it's worth it to rent the movie and pay particular attention to the first ten or fifteen minutes. Just keep it on mute and you'll be fine.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Dude, Pull Up Your Pants

I've been seeing far too many boxer shorts lately.

I don't know if it ever left, but the trend of wearing your pants LITERALLY halfway down your tucas seems to be more common. Then again, we're living in an era of easily accessible, inexpensive, tailored-looking men's clothing. Perhaps the pants-too-low guys are just more noticeable when surrounded by the pants-in-or-around-the-correct-general-vicinity guys. In any case, here's my beef with the whole thing:

Pants are made to be worn at or around your waist. Sure, different styles of pants have different "rises" (a term that refers to where the waistband of the pants sit in relation to your natural waist), but they all have one thing in common:

They cover your ass. Completely and literally.

True, it's your right to wear your clothes in any way you choose to do so, and you guys may think you're hot stuff showing off your Calvin Kleins, but trust me, no one wants to see your underwear. In fact, the term "underwear" exists for a reason and is about as self-explanatory as any word could be; you don't need a degree in fucking etymology to figure out that it's to be worn UNDER your other garments, to be seen only by you and/or your significant other.

Guys, please pull up your pants. If you don't, you may end up like the poor gentleman on this video.