May 22, 2009

what we (really) want men to wear

It's been awhile, but I thought I'd revisit the weekly style post since I recently had a spirited email exchange with a style expert about her thoughts on men's fashion dos & don'ts.

I hope you will find it of interest as she finally agreed to let me reprint her thoughts anonymously here at Trust Your Style just in time for the long weekend.

mj: What are your pet peeves?

"I can't stand Birkenstocks or Tivos on men. I don't want to see men's feet in sandals or flip-flops unless they're at the beach. The exception to this rule is the tanned feet and legs of surfers who effortlessly look great in leather flip flops and slip-ons. Oh did I mention legs? I don't care how trendy the trend, I really don't want to see a guy in shorts--surfers excluded--unless it's the Fourth of July. Especially when they're pasty white. Please don't wear shorts with athletic socks and big white leather tennis shoes, it's the equivalent to the Juicy Couture sweat suit for women. Yuck. And the men who wear polo shirts day in and day out here in So Cal--so horribly un-chic!"

Marlon Brando

mj: What about suits?

While an expensive suit is a step in the right direction, don't get me started on tight Italian suits that look good on skinny actors but practically no one else. It just screams of trying too hard. It may sound boring, but since so many men have ventured out to 'creatively' express themselves with fashion, my advice is stick with classics that are tailored. Less is more."

mj: Okay then. Thank you for sharing.

Paul Newman

I think trying too hard is the key to the whole issue. If you think I'm kidding, there's a style forum where comments about men trying too hard in fashion rages endlessly and pages of google results for "trying too hard, men's fashion".

Muhammad Ali

So what do women really want to see men wearing? I think a blog over at nailed it ages ago when I read and heartily agreed with the fact that a man who doesn't try too hard to look good is sexy. Personally I like classics on men. And a guy who spends more time picking out their clothes and putting them on than me is a red flag. (Don't be shocked, not counting hair, I'm usually done in under 5 mins, or 10 if it's a big event). I'm a big believer that any time spent on clothes should happen before they're purchased not after. For casual, which is where most fashion craziness seems to happen: worn leather bombers, aviator sunglasses, jeans--not the designer kind, desert boots, bucks (but not two-toned leather oxfords) are some of my favorites on men. I'd rather see a guy wearing a good watch than an embellished shirt or designer jeans any day. Everything worn in but not worn out. Clean but not overly manicured. Of course, there's an exception to every rule and I think a guy can wear anything as long as he does it with confidence and I'll leave it at that.

Avedon's style to me, is quintessential perfection.

I also love Sam Shepard's style but a black tee with a suit, not so much (exception being Armani and George Clooney in Armani).

Alright ladies, what do you like your men to wear?

If you're thinking I'm being unfairly harsh on men today, to balance it out I encourage you to read this insightful look into what men want women to wear, entitled, Darling, you absolute fright, actually"--apparently there's very little that stylish men like about current fashion trends on women.


Tina { Luphia Loves... } said...

this has been such an interesting read!

my bf is a bit of a geek (in a good way) so i never get him to wear anything too trendy, also somehow i don't find trendy men attractive, the one that just shop from Gap is good enough for me, haha :)

Rachel Follett said...

She has got a great view point and she is so right in that when men try too hard it doesn't look good. Nice post!

Courtney said...

Haha- love this post! My hubby's style is pretty classic, not too trendy, and I like it. His style has evolved since we first started dating, and I'd say it's definitely evolved for the better (oh man, although the other night he did wear white tube socks with black soccer shoes and mesh shorts when we were going to pick up dinner-- he had been working out and simply changed shoes from his running shoes to his soccer shoes! I asked if he really wanted to wear that out, and he reminded me he wasn't getting out of the car... fair enough.) And I do know that I have a pair of heels that he loathes, although anytime I wear them out, I get compliments... from women :)

Brent said...

I always love these kind of interviews, even if they confirm my suspicion that it's difficult to dress the "right" way. When I've put the question to the various women in my life, the answers that come back are so varied and incompatible as to be confusing and all but useless. Men's style magazines don't really help, either, as their advice ends up adding to the cacophony. Gap jeans are good for some women; others want something more fitted. Who's to know what's right?

For me, the best systematic approach to style came from Alan Flusser's "Clothes and the Man," which now has to be twenty-five years old, but remains a classic, the blue-blazer of books. I've never known whether women find Flusser's advice useful for men, but it greatly influenced my office wear for years. It's ironic, however, that in recent times we've abandoned the suit in exchange for ... well, I think it's something we haven't quite worked out yet. I miss the suit; it was so easy!

Sometimes I'll see a wonderfully dressed woman and wonder what the male equivalent would be. Of course, the guy on her arm so often is dressed in a T-shirt and trainers, so it's confusing. Is this what she hoped for from her date when she put together her outfit for the day? Then again, how important is it really that he dress well? If women are more interested in these questions, perhaps men would be the wiser just to defer style issues to the most significant woman in their lives.

Sarah Klassen said...

My guy is even more particular about his fashion than I. (which is fairly difficult!) He pays close attention to every single detail. Surprisingly, he has taught me a few tricks about clothes and has inspired me to try a few new looks!

My favorite look on him: incredible jeans, a beautifully fitted and slightly detailed button down shirt, and unique shoes. (He and I both dislike large branding plastered across clothing) As for accessories, I love a guy that can pull off a bold watch. Super sexy. I believe details can make a look go from cool to hot. / When you look at him, you know he's a designer - but in a good way! - Did I mention that he's a very fun shopping partner?

Mary Jo from TrustYourStyle said...

I'm loving all of these comments and really wanted to post a lot more about suits but the whole thing was getting long, so more on that soon! Thank you all for sharing, and please keep the comments coming, this one is an interesting debate I think.

m e l i g r o s a said...

I like the occasional thick-frame glasses, something about elbow patches drives me nuts and well-suited clothes according to their body. Once a man know what suits him in style, and knows how to sport it, it can be highly sexy! oh, I love men!! ;D

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