Friday, June 24, 2011

A Case of Extremes

I love my new iPhone. I've had it for about a month, and every day I'm blown away by its capabilities. In a span of five minutes, I can be playing Angry Birds while listening to Internet radio on my Pandora app and be interrupted to respond to a text message about whether or not I received an e-mail on which I was copied. For a phone, it also has a pretty sweet camera feature that allows me to take a snapshot of something whenever the opportunity arises to do so. Hence, the photo you see above (I've covered the subject's face in both a fake mustache and a seemingly all-too-appropriate American flag icon, courtesy of Forgive the fuzziness; I'm a crap photographer and you people will just have to deal with that.

Anyone who rides public transportation regularly knows that it offers ample opportunity to see some full-blown ridiculousness. Sure, there's the standard fare: the guy who's been running the same "I have cancer and need money for medicine" bit for a decade now, and there are plenty of people hawking "CD's, DVD's, incense, and body oils" to passersby. More interestingly, I've also seen breakdancing trios and a cappella groups on subways, and I've drunkenly watched an elderly, insane homeless woman hurl change at people on a bus only to witness her exit that bus at the next stop and see her pants fall down, exposing her bare ass to everyone else unfortunate enough to be on a SEPTA vehicle at three in the morning.

But I digress. After I got over the initial shock of seeing the guy in this photo, I realized that this outfit is an extreme case of mixing two complete sartorial opposites. One way defines camouflage as "a device or stratagem used for concealment." In other words, wearing camo is supposed to allow the wearer to avoid being spotted, to blend in so well that he or she becomes nearly invisible. Donning a pink wig, on the other hand, has the complete opposite effect of camouflage and stands out even more with that as its backdrop. It screams for attention and will do nothing to help you blend in with your surroundings. There's no doubt in my mind that this man's enemies will spot him easily.

The lesson here? Feel free to blend the high and the low, but don't go crazy with it. Jeans and a tie can certainly look great together, but sweatpants and a suit jacket are a different story. If it's attention you crave, blending sartorial extremes is a good way to get it. It's negative attention, however, and it's important to remember that you'll be looked upon as misguided or foolish as opposed to well-dressed. Everything in moderation, folks.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Word About Sunglasses

Wearing a suit and tie is like building a house: once you have a good foundation, the accoutrements end up doing most of the talking. One house's fireplace is like a suit jacket's lining, just as its curtains are equivalent to a tie, and its windows akin to sunglasses. When all the elements of building a home are harmonious, you get a beautiful place to live. When all elements of a suit are harmonious, you get a beautiful thing to wear.

On that note, I need to do a PSA in regards to men wearing athletic wraparound sunglasses like Oakleys with their suits. At a rudimentary level, all of your accessories should be as dressy as your suit; this is why we wear dress shoes instead of sneakers and leather-band watches as opposed to plastic digital ones. The same logic calls for sunglasses. Wraparound sunglasses are athletic wear and look terrible with suitings. Wearing one with the other makes as much sense as outfitting a stately, luxurious house with tacky Christmas lights.

A better option? Depending on the shape of your face, aviators can be a killer choice, as evidenced on Brad Pitt above (though I question his decision to go sans handkerchief). Well-made aviators have slim lines that sync up well with those of a suit's, and they're also easy to throw on with a t-shirt and jeans. Persols like the ones Steve McQueen wore in The Thomas Crowne Affair are clearly mega-ballin', as evidenced in the photo above. As far as price goes, you can find either of these silhouettes at any price point, from ultra-cheap to Bill Gates-thinks-it's-prohibitively expensive. Once you find a silhouette that meshes well with your facial structure, you'll see that you'll look so much better in these than your wraparounds that you'll probably leave the latter for athletic wear exclusively.