It’s safe to say that our first edition of “Girl’s Eye View” divided reader opinion as much as the ladies we asked themselves. Whether you consider it a blessing or a curse (we’re still undecided), the women referenced here are incredibly vocal about menswear and personal style.
Occasionally over-critical, occasionally foul-mouthed, but always, always justifiable in some capacity, today our panel takes on the menswear’s most hated. From carrot fit to crushed velvet, diamond earrings to dungarees, the plague of bad apparel is an endless, bloodthirsty battle that can rope in even the sharpest of dressers.
Despite his immersion in the world of menswear, FashionBeans’ own Murray Clark isn’t exempt. A good friend of his once pointed to the red string that was tied around his ankle and guffawed uncontrollably, joined by snorts of other comrades as he pitifully defended himself. It was all very Nurse Ratched, if you ask him.
It was actually a gift he’d picked up traveling (a hideous stereotype, admittedly), but it just goes to show that falling into the sartorial snake pit is easier than you think. When you fall prey, some girls can devour you in mere moments.
Without further ado, feast your eyes on what the girls think are the biggest sartorial sins of men nowadays…
Suz, 31, Copywriter
Most Hated: Lens-less Fashion Spectacles
When it comes to her most hated piece, Suz from Surrey is quick to point the finger at those lens-less fashion spectacles we’ve been misled to believe will make one look so very clever.
Going so far as to consider them “the equivalent of carrying around a Nuts mag with a Socrates cover stuck on,” the so-called geek chic piece is a move of war criminal proportions. Lazy, often cheap looking and a little bit Reading Festival circa 2008, there is absolutely, without question, no room for glasses without the glass. No exceptions.
Her reasoning? “Real geeks live and die for that literary s***; if you can’t be bothered to ruin your eyesight for real, get off the bus.” Enough said.
The Fix: High Quality Eyewear
If you do happen to find yourself aiming for the “geek” look, and you would like to add a touch of it to your look this summer, make sure that, no matter what, you do not, under any circumstances, forget the chic. You might be wondering where it is you’re supposed to find high quality eyewear that actually possesses this cryptic sought-after glass. If that’s the case, well, vintage-looking sunglasses are really and truly a great place to start and with brands such as Cutler & Gross, Illesteva, and Han Kjobenhavn offering high quality frames combined with those quirky, old school aesthetics you might find so tantalizing, you can’t go wrong.
While clear acetate frames and on-trend rounded silhouettes are particularly great for this look, there is a wee bit of a catch. Are you ready? You will have to be sure to take off those sunnies inside/at night. We’re begging you; society’s begging you; women are begging you.
Dimitra, 30, Online Editor
Most Hated: Super Skinny Jeans
Although Dimitra may be from Athens, poorly orchestrated menswear, as it happens, seems to be a true global epidemic—the cure for which, men really are, thankfully, quite determined to administer, and expediently too. No matter where they hail from, it would appear that women are quite quick in their diagnoses and even more expedient in prescribing a cure.
“Super skinny jeans are the worst,” she whimpers (unfortunately, I happen to be a tad too inept to make an animated gif of her eye roll—it’s particularly devastating though and really sets the mood). “Turned up at the bottom, they’re horrible.”
I must admit though that spray-on denims are a very, very speedy route to dismantling an otherwise meticulously sculpted silhouette and they can create all sorts of uneven proportions.
The Fix: Skinny/Slim Cuts
Let’s be clear about something before we get started here: it’s not that there is anything particularly wrong with skinny jeans. You just have to be extra cautious that the skinny you’re choosing to wear is the right amount of skinny. You’ll also have to be careful to ensure that you’re giving your legs a bit of breathing room. That’s the key right there.
Helen, 26, PR Executive
Most Hated: Casual Waistcoats
While ever so quick to tell us about her love of navy tailoring in our previous edition of “Girl’s Eye View,” Helen is, if possible, even quicker to spout her hate of waistcoats with casual wear.
“You remind me of my year 10 history teacher. I unashamedly flirted with him[,] yet on reflection, he was a man in his thirties that had caffeine shakes and was bored of his wife. Not something I want.” Well, alright, that’s probably not really the reaction you would hope to elicit from a woman, is it? No, we didn’t think so. This is why if you’re into looking unmatched, confused, and very, very much like Helen’s history teacher, please do yourself and us a favor—and be sure to avoid this poorly executed ensemble. Honestly, it will just save all of us, especially you, a lot of unnecessary trouble.
The Fix: Smart-Casual Ensembles
You’re a fan of waistcoats, you say? Well there’s no issue there. In fact, go right ahead, go and wear them to your heart’s content, but be wary. If you are going to wear a waistcoat, you have to be sure that you do it right. A waistcoat is a wonderful and stylish piece when worn right, and it needs to be treasured and treated as such. After all, it truly has the potential to instantly transform an outfit, making it and, in turn, you, appear extremely well put together. You really do need to be careful about what you pair it with, as it should be matched with smart-casual or formal pieces. After all, we don’t want to encounter the previously mentioned jarring aesthetics, now do we? No, we didn’t think so.
Martha, 26, Fashion Assistant
Most Hated: Statement “Fashion” Necklaces
For Martha, the ultimate menswear faux pas has to be…fashion necklaces.
“They’re a complete disaster, especially rosary beads because they’re just so ridiculous.” But her ardent hatred for these accessories isn’t just limited to religious iconography—oh no, this distaste comes from a place so unthinkably passionate that it’s difficult to match—“Wooden beads with the horrific twine and tusk scream try-hard Cornwall wannabe. And gangster bling in any form is really quite silly, but I shouldn’t need to say that.”
The long and short of it is, if it’s going to be hanging from your neck and making a “statement,” particularly if it’s day in and day out, you best remove it immediately. Simplicity is key. After all, “less is more” has to be one of the old adages for a reason, yeah?
The Fix: Minimal Styles
Clearly, you should be doing any and everything to avoid the brash, over-the-top styles and instead do your utmost to gravitate toward simpler, more timeless necklaces and pendants that can easily epitomise your personal style, rather than that of a brand’s.
While it’s completely fine to go and make a necklace one of your signature pieces, there’s something you can do to lessen the chances of repelling ladies left and right. Rather than jump at the first and most prominent piece you lay your eyes on, take the effort to look around. Invest in high quality metals and premium materials so your signature is thought of as a classy addition rather than appearing to be a cheap afterthought.
Lily, 26, Recruitment Consultant
Most Hated: Three-Quarter Length Trousers
After a summer spent viewing some of the very best (and the very worst) menswear pieces, Lily has grown to hate one trend in particular: three-quarter length trousers.
“You know the type: a middle aged dad would wear them in Sharm El Sheikh. Ill[-]fitting, too long, cargo-ish material – just so incredibly ugly.” As menswear continues to make leaps and bounds, there are still those poor fellows who are just getting left behind and the three-quarter length trouser can be like an old friend from the wrong crowd, a comfort in the isolation, but a recipe for absolute disaster in the long run.
The real tell-tale sign of one such case would be any pair of trousers that can be qualified as “sporty,” incorporates toggles, or might often be worn with mid-calf socks. All of the above just force us to question anyone claiming to be of the sartorial kind.
The Fix: Cropped Trousers/No Break
It’s officially time for every one of you blokes, regardless of your taste, age, and the like, to ditch the three-quarter lengths and upgrade your style. For a sharp and summer-appropriate way of staying cool, why not consider getting your trousers hemmed with no break (or do it yourself, as demonstrated here)? This way, you will maintain your sartorial dignity and you’ll still be able to feel that refreshing breeze around your ankles when going sockless.
If you’re slightly more adventurous and would like your trousers to reflect that side of you, an alternative comes in the form of slightly cropped trousers. They’re particularly well-suited for those uncharacteristically hot summer days.
Aleisha, 28, Advertising Assistant
Most Hated: Over-Branded Denim
“Over[-]branded denim makes me feel sick,” Aleisha very proudly proclaims.
Without pointing the finger at any one brand in particular (just go ahead and feel free to use your imagination, mates), there is, in actuality, nothing cheaper than an expensive pair of jeans that loves to boast an all-over logo. Nasty, tasteless, and well beyond the realm of 1990s boy bands, any excessive branding is a sartorial move gone wrong.
Overthinking and overdressing are, as you can imagine, very common problems—with which you yourself might even be able to empathize.
The Fix: Minimal Denim
If you know what’s good for your image, and we are really hopeful that you do, then don’t be one of those blokes who’s a right sucker for branding. The most iconic denim labels of our time—think Levi’s, Nudie, Edwin, A.P.C, Acne, et al. are always sure to focus on their product and manufacturing processes, rather than over-the-top slogans, logos, or patches.
If you still happen to find yourself caught up in brands and wondering which of these classics—both in terms of brand and wash—you should be sure to seek out first, well, we’ve got you covered. If you try and keep an eye out for a pair of classic indigo jeans, specifically a pair that’s high quality raw or organic denim, you’ll be off to a good start. These are, as you might have guessed, sure to never go out of style. In fact, they are the type that will only get better with wear. How do you top that?
Jenny, 25, Media Executive
Most Hated: Ultra-Masculine
In true Yorkshire style, Jenny had more than enough to say when it came to her most hated menswear pieces. However, we’re only going to focus on her shortlist. This included over-the-top military (almost to the point of costume) and low scoop/v-necks. “Tacky, cheap-looking and boring,” this combination of design aesthetic and jock-inspired apparel tries so unbelievably hard to be masculine that it ends up appearing the complete opposite, and becomes a turn-off.
It seems that we actually have one gentleman in particular who we can blame for setting the standard so astronomically high. “If you’re not Ryan Gosling, you can’t pull it off.” Just another example of the man placing the rest of us in his shadow—where is your solidarity, brother?
The Fix: Timeless & Classic
There is one thing that we can take solace in though, and that’s the fact that there are certain styles and key pieces that will never go out of fashion. Just think crew necks, leather jackets—one of the few pieces that we can agree makes near everyone look good—navy tailoring, khaki chinos, and the like, and breathe a sigh of relief as you remember these. Unlike the very root of the ultra-masculine style, you don’t have to try too hard when you’re relying on these pieces, which is probably a refreshing change. Not only is it so exceedingly easy to pair such classic and versatile pieces together, but they will always help you to create stylish, masculine looks without betraying even an ounce of try hard.
Jacqueline, 51, A Beloved Mother
Most Hated: Shoe Trainers
It seems that the mantra of “Mum knows best” rings true—though did we ever really doubt it? As such, we had to refer to the opinion of one such mum, this one being that of our Clark’s. As the woman who raised our Assistant Editor, and did so while decking her children out in Converse and varsity jackets (what an underrated gift the 1990s were to us all), giving her a call was, as you can guess, imperative.
“Shoe trainers,” she automatically replies. “You know those disgusting brown and black things with the thin laces and naff soles? They’re awful, aren’t they[,] Murray?” It’s probably no surprise that he readily agrees with this sentiment, saying that, “They truly, truly are.” He also urges you to, “Avoid this footwear like the plague if you have any fraction of self-respect.” There you have it from the man himself, no arguing there.
The Fix: Nice Try
This is one menswear blunder for which we’re not going to even think about offering up a fix, because frankly, as we’ve mentioned, Mum usually knows best. If even your mum, the one woman who is supposed to love you and, by consequence, your sense of style—no matter how questionable it may be—happens to find shoe trainers detestable, there’s probably no coming back from that. That does bring us to one other key point though: when and where would you actually find an appropriate occasion to wear them? How often do you see runners in Regents or Hyde donning shoe trainers? Does the bloke on the treadmill next to yours tend to wear them as he’s confidently raking in his mileage? If you’ve answered yes to either of these questions, we implore you to pay it forward and do your fellow man a courtesy: don’t let him wear shoe trainers. Just choose one or the other.