I’m concerned that it’s an inauspicious start to my guest blogging to begin with a post about how I would like to dress people other than me. But you know what? I’m going to roll with it, because this is what’s been on my mind recently! Also, I am a bossy person, and I want to give lots of unsolicited advice.
I actually think the men in my life are pretty well-dressed, and they generally manage it all on their own. Once my dad discovered darker wash, slimmer fitting Levi’s, he managed to pull out a uniform that really works for him. Aside from my brother’s occasional penchant for glitz in the form of brightly colored high-top Nikes, he’s also on top of the stylish thing.
I don’t get to overhaul men’s wardrobes all that often, which makes it extra-exciting when someone says to me, “Tell me what to wear! I’ll listen to anything you say!” (Always dangerous. I talk a lot.) So recently when my boyfriend said that (actually, he said it the night we met, but he’s kept reiterating it, so I’m pretty sure it wasn’t just a way to get me to talk to him), I started building a fantasy men’s wardrobe plan.
I’m working at a buy-sell-trade store that gets great sellers in. Just yesterday, a really rad gentlemen came in to sell and as I chatted him up in the typical way, I learned that he has a position high up in J. Crew menswear operations. Naturally, I asked him about where he thought menswear was headed, because that’s important to my job, but also in my life. I love the J. Crew menswear look: plaid shirts, dark-wash straight-leg denim, waxed canvas jackets, leather detailing, chunky knits, lace-up boots. For a mass retailer, they do a really good job of paying attention to the tiny things.
Rad Gentleman, who I think would enjoy being referred to as such, told me something really exciting that will interest all of you who loved Thom’s post about menswear’s zeitgeist moment (so, everyone): J. Crew recently partnered with Lee jeans to rerelease the 101, a cut famously worn by Mr. James Dean (every intelligently well-dressed man’s style icon) and which haven’t been produced in many years!
I’m not saying you need to save up all your money for a pair of the selvedge version (the red and white stitching is killer) but a couple hundred bucks is a pretty small amount to wear something exactly like Mr. Dean’s.
Like eyeglasses and leather jackets, trendy denim styles come in and out of fashion really fast. The cut you were wearing two seasons ago might not be what you’d buy right now. Scott and I were going through a stack of his old jeans from 2005-ish on, and the difference was pretty drastic. Guys, remember when you were wearing boot-cut Diesels with that awful streaky weave? Well, I do.
The thing is, you were probably looking at pictures of Steve McQueen et. al. back then too, and wondering, “Why doesn’t anything in the Gap look like this?” So take advantage of this awesome period of 1950s revivalism and invest. (Or, you know, buy used! It’s so much better.) The straight-to-slim leg and solid blue wash will look good for a long time.
Most men hate shopping, which I thought was a stereotype until I worked in a retail store and heard men utter the phrase, “I hate this,” about 80 times a day. They hate letting women dress them too, but I think this is mostly because they’re letting the wrong people take charge of their wardrobes. Not to malign stylish ladies out there, but just because you like it doesn’t mean it will work for the guy you’re dressing. Men come up to me all day long asking, “Does this look too tight?” “Are these sleeves too long?” “Can I pull off the rolled denim thing?” I give my honest opinion, and I tell them that the most important thing is that they feel comfortable in the garment.
You can buy all the nicest menswear in the world, but if it doesn’t fit perfectly and you don’t feel right in it, you’ll never wear it. You’ll deviate to your worn-in pants and your oversized sweatshirts. And that would be such a shame. I promise, you’ll feel good if you look good. Find someone you trust, who’s honest with you, and whose style you admire–male, female, or etc. They’ll steer you right.
I’m not quite sure where I meant to go with this, but I think next week I’ll actually talk about girls. Or at least, girl clothes. I just really needed to get this menswear thing out of my head. It’s one thing if you don’t care about dressing well–that’s fine! Clothes aren’t your priority! But if you want to change your style, set forth without fear. There’s super-cool stuff out there.