Monday, April 15, 2013

Addressing the (limited) downsides to sartorial enlightenment

If you ask me, the downsides to becoming more sartorially educated are very limited, but they do exist. Beyond the struggle of knowing what looks really good while not being able to afford to actually purchase it, one ‘con’ stands out among the rest in my mind. And that would be having to watch the way that everyone else dresses. OK that came across as relatively pretentious, so I’ll amend that a bit. It’s having to watch the way that other people dress who really should know better. For those near and dear to you, the biggest downside is probably hearing you point these things out ALL the time.

The worst was probably the presidential election. I’m a big politics buff and followed the campaigns and debates very closely, which mean these politicians spent a lot of time on the TV in my house. I’m also on a crusade to get my girlfriend to be more interested in and attentive to politics, which meant I was forcing her to watch all of the developments with me. You have no idea how tired she got of hearing “Man, Romney’s suit is clearly two sizes too big.” “What was Obama thinking wearing that wide Double Windsor with such a narrow point collar?” “Can’t these millionaires afford a tailor? Or at least a stylist?”

Even beyond the politicians, who we pretty much expect to dress like frat dads, I see fashion flaws everywhere. Red carpet events, where stylists are paid by the boatload to make celebs look nice, constantly have me pointing to excessively baggy or long pants, like no one read any of the zillion articles advocating little-to-no-break (readers take note)! TV shows (like HIMYM, which we mentioned last week) bring out a lot of criticism when it comes to fit, but here it’s not only the bad that I have to complain about….has anyone noticed how damn well those poor penniless kids in Shameless manage to dress? Sure, you aren’t seeing any three-piece suits or designer labels, but everything fits like a glove. Even in Mad Men, one of the most watched shows among the menswear community, there are faux pas that I just can’t help but notice - have you seen how low Pete Campbell wears his tie clips?

Sometimes you just have to turn your sartorial judgement off. Like I said, any politician is basically born with a ‘Zero’ in the style factor (with limited exceptions). Sportscasters are by far the worst, but luckily you can just shut your eyes and listen to them yammer and not miss a whole lot. Anything made in the 90’s should probably just automatically be considered a fashion failure, and move on (see Friends, Dawson’s Creek, etc.) On the upside, it’s that much more refreshing to find pop-culture instances of great fit and style outside of the fashion world and obvious selections like Mad Men. I love the way Ben Wyatt dresses on Parks and Recs, all the while embracing his nerdiness. Quirky shows like Bored To Death let Ted Danson show off an awesome dapper side previously relatively unseen. But I have it on good record that the next time my girlfriend hears “Hey Babe! Come see how poofythis guys shirt is. Go see a tailor, buddy!” while I’m watching TV, she’s going to leave me for a quieter, albeit less dapper man.

Two final points to be made here: First, people do notice! I’m an ass and a creep like this, but I constantly judge people’s clothing, whether you’re a TV anchor or some college kid on the train. Second, as always, pay attention to what we post, as well as the plethora of other menswear blogs that are out there, and it’s really pretty easy to avoid these glaring mistakes. As a matter of fact, I was inspired to write this post in the first place as I prepare Wednesday’s post regarding tie clips and how to wear them, as all I kept thinking was, “I just want to tell them not to wear them like Pete Campbell!”


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