When you work (read: linger) within the fashion industry, you end up hearing some truly absurd things. Some of them are only slightly weird and therefore passable. For example, you overhear some chick in Somerset House informing the person who paid her a compliment on her yellow shoes that “they’re actually considered maize around here” and you let it slide. It’s all semantics at the end of the day.
However, some of the things you hear are just so truly out of this world that you have to stop, place a hand on the perpetrators shoulder and say “I’m sorry, what are you chatting?”
The trouble with hearing this sort of outrageous stuff is that it often revolves around preconceived rules on what is and what is not stylish. The sort of information that gets filtered down, simplified and passed on to people outside of the fashion world through various media outlets. This, in my experience, means I end up hearing them repeated by my dad.
Now there’s nothing wrong with my old man’s style. He does well with what he’s got, and playing to our strengths is all any of us can do. However, like most people who pick up the signals sent down from up high, he does have a few stalwart rules about fashion and style (and himself) that can never be broken. But he’s just plain wrong. And I’m going to explain why.
So without further ado, consider this the greatest hits of Shit My Dad Says: The Style Edition.
Oh man, I hate this one. It’s a prime example of how the fashion industry can have serious side effects on the way people dress.
As menswear tends to only ever operate in extremes – declaring something as essential or the only [insert item of clothing here] you need – it can often be confusing when the very same piece is declared back ‘in’ again a few years later. I can honestly see an article being published in the not too distant future declaring ‘pleats are back in… again’. And the cycle will repeat until we all die a very horrible, sartorially-induced death.
In actual fact, pleats serve a very specific purpose when dressing your body type. For the larger gentlemen amongst our readership, they can help accommodate the way your hips and waist become wider when you sit down. They also help your trouser drape in a cleaner, sharper line. Therefore, guys carrying a bit of timber will actually look slimmer with pleats in their trousers.
So, rather than believing everything you read as gospel, try deciding what looks best on you in the mirror first by paying attention to the proportions and lines of your body.
What does that EVEN mean? First of all, this one doesn’t stem directly from the fashion industry but from an old saying that was popular during the late nineteenth, early twentieth century.
Traditionally, Englishmen that worked in the city would wear black, blue and grey and, upon returning to their homes in the country at the end of the day or at the weekend, would change into the more country appropriate colour of brown. This resulted in the belief within English society that brown should not be worn in the city because it would communicate to others that you were not ready for business; dressed casual or off duty.
However, the main thing to remember about this old maxim is this – it’s the twenty-first century, bitches! We successfully dropped a man from space! You can have a sex change! You can eat a battered mars bar! Wear brown. Wear it more than black. Or less, I don’t care.
Sure, traditional country fabrics like tweed look better in brown and other achromatic colours, but that doesn’t mean you can’t wear them in town. Heed the words of the ever inspirational Tupac Shakur and wake up “screaming f*ck the world”! Rather than my old man, who wakes up creaking.
Sure, that sentence seems pretty harmless on its own, right? Wrong! Because he asks me for it regardless of what he’s wearing.
When you’re wearing a suit, a tie bar is perfectly acceptable. In fact, as long as it is not wider than the width of your tie, I encourage it. It’s both a practical and stylish addition to your look.
However, I don’t encourage you to wear it when you’re already wearing an item that keeps your tie secure and out of your face when moving – such as a waistcoat, cardigan or, God forbid, a v-neck jumper. That’s just overkill and pointless. It makes no sense. A tie bar does not a stylish man make.
In part two, we cover the subjects of navy and black, what qualifies as evening wear and what other items of clothing larger guys can wear (sorry Pops). But whilst you wait, why not get involved in the comments section and share some of the other preposterous theories on men’s fashion you have come across…