The internet is a weird and wonderful place. But mostly weird. And kind of dangerous. Hidden amongst the maybe-legal-maybe-not highs, hit men job boards, wives-to-buy and other bytes of vice are some truly bizarre and seriously questionable pieces of style advice.
They’re in your forums, and your feeds, your viral content aggregators and your video sharing websites. They’re even in your online magazines. But fear not, because we’re calling bulls**t on the bogus style doctors. Stay safe, kids.
1. “Turn down the contrast to hide your man boobs.”
“Minimise the colour contrast between the upper and lower halves of your body.”
Sorry, what? Last time we checked ‘man boobs’ (‘moobs’, ‘chesticles’) weren’t a cosmetic annoyance you could quickly cover up with an optical illusion, but an actual medical condition (gynecomastia) instead. And one that can have some seriously damaging effects on self-esteem, too.
The only ‘trick’ to nipping (sorry) man boobs in the bud is surgery, not dressing head-to-toe in the same colour. So don’t believe the hype.
2. “Ignore fashion trends.”
“Yes, because that’s really what this whole multibillion-dollar industry is all about, isn’t it? Inner beauty.” – to quote a man from a film.
Of course, there’s some sense in advising a man to tread carefully through each season’s trends (not everyone’s going to be stoked about floral silk shirts or get hot under the collar for a Cuban heel), but to avoid them altogether? Well, what’s the point?
Trends are transient. Hence the name. If you want to look good, you get to know what works for you and what doesn’t, taking or leaving trends based on whether they suit you or not.
Ignore them altogether and yes, you could look good, but only for a year in every 20 or so. The choice is yours.
3. “Buy three staple pieces every other season to keep your wardrobe up-to-date.”
Why three pieces?! Why every other season?! So many numbers, so little logic.
Your clothes – unlike your iPhone – aren’t necessarily victims of built-in obsolescence, which means (despite the inherent vagaries of fashion) you don’t need to replace three perfectly good pieces every year simply for the sake of it.
Anyway, if we’re talking ‘staples’ here, you shouldn’t need to replace them until you’ve worn them right out. Which shouldn’t be just 12 months after you bought them.
4. “A gentleman carries a handkerchief in his front breast pocket.”
And stands up when a woman enters a room? Give us a break.
The basics of being a gentleman have nothing to do with where you place your accessories, and everything to do with not being a dick. Plain and simple.
If a neatly folded pocket square happens to perfectly polish off your suit, then go for it, put it in your breast pocket and walk proud. But don’t do it because of someone’s arbitrary, outdated idea of what makes for good etiquette.
(Also, is there such a thing as a back breast pocket?)
5. “You need more than one pair of shoes, but not too much more.”
Too many, too many more. This piece of would-be wisdom is about as useful as its grammar is acceptable. Which is not really at all.
Unless you literally never leave your house, you absolutely do need more than one pair of shoes. However, you don’t (we concede there is some truth to this badly articulated bit of advice) necessarily need six, or ten, or twenty pair of shoes.
But you will – depending on your lifestyle – need at least three: one for casual wear; one for the office and occasions that call for smart-casual; and one for fixing up for formal engagements.
6. “Bath regularly.”
Is this code? Are we missing something here?
We came across this in a list of ’15 grooming tips for men’ and all we can say is that if you do, by some mind-bendingly confusing and slightly concerning turn of events, actually consider this a grooming tip rather than the first step in basic hygiene, then, please pull up a pew and get comfortable, because we’ve got a lot of ground to cover. (Start here.)