#Menswear is not the sole arbiter of style: or, don’t be a dick
I had a minor revelation at work today. Minor because it’s not going to blow anybody’s fucking mind. A revelation, because it finally helped an idea I’d been having for a while now “click”.
So this guy comes in (calls himself Picasso) in super baggy, slightly sagged gray nylon cargo pants and a wife-lover, tattoos all over, small Nike drawstring bag, etc… (you can imagine the type). He’s raving to his lady friend how much he loves this store, how awesome all our stuff is, etc…
Now this strikes me as odd. We have some awesome stuff for #menswear types, for Mainer types and for vintage-y hipster types, but not much in the way of serious white boy street wear.
Still, he comes from the back of the store with a pair of seriously distressed (super-baggy) jeans and a t-shirt with a graphic of a bunch of skulls and shit, angels & demons fighting, in the super-busy ‘Ed Hardy’ style. He holds them up to the mirror and says,
“This look’ll be awesome. Can you hold this stuff for me?”
I say yeah. He holds the stuff up again.
“You think this looks good?”
And I sort of nod my head.
I put them on hold, for “Picasso” and chuckle. I chuckle because I realized something.
I don’t have anything to say as to whether or not that’s a “good look.”
Think about it? What would I say? I’m standing there in red suede wingtips and a vest/tie combo. I’m supposed to tell him “oh no, go with some wool trousers and a blue OCBD (never mind explaining what an OCBD is, or how trousers should fit).
I mean, I’m in the perfect position to do that! He’s literally asking me “do you think this looks good?” I think,
“Of course I don’t! Look at me! You think that the guy in a tie and straight fitting dark selvage denim is gonna rock your look? Get real! Get your shit together man!”
But then I think again. What would that accomplish? He’s really going to go out and toss all his distressed jeans and ed hardy type shirts on my say so? Of course not. You think if he shows up looking like #menswear all his friends are going to dap him up and go “yo son, you looking fresh!” Fuck no!
Now before you get all #menswear on me, I think this guy should dress better. I wish everyone did! But that’s a pipe dream, people have to come to it themselves. And this is where the revelation comes in.
#Menswear should make dressing better easy, but often it makes dressing better really. fucking. hard.
Because we’re a group who have started to consider ourselves the sole arbiters of taste. We have “style”, we’re “stunting” guys, “styling” on them. It’s easy to say “#menswear is a circle jerk and I’m sick of it!” (as has been the prevailing attitude for the last week or so). It’s much harder to really think of how to develop your personal style.
#Menswear, a world of “essentials” that the bloggerati can’t agree on, the NTB signal and Nick Wooster confusing everyone into matching their shirt to their tie to their pocket square to their custom made mismatched brogues, is a vast and scary place for people who haven’t quite yet made the sartorial commitment to dressing like a grown up (or like however I dress).
So what’s a blogger to do? Well, first I’d say be nice. Sure there’s people out there that hit “reblog” without thinking. But who are they? They’re not the tastemakers, they’re not “important”, they’re trying! By trying to “stunt” them and show them what’s up, show them how smart we are, show them how many obscure tailoring terms we know, show them how long our lapel rolls are, and generally taking every opportunity to shit on people who would like to dress better, but haven’t quite figured out their thing yet, we drive them away.
Second, I’d say to remember that #menswear is only one stylistic option. The best one to be sure (I mean… I’m here right? I obviously support this community’s ideals); but still just one of many. If people at a turning point come here (to the blogosphere) and find a bunch of shitheads, smarmily telling them their lapels are too narrow/wide and that they don’t have a fully canvassed jacket or whatever, we scare them away. And if they aren’t coming here, if they’re still off in their business casual world and don’t care to change, we’re not going to change any minds by trying to show them that we dress better than you man, and you should know that I’m styling on you!
I certainly don’t want this to come across as a blanket screed. There’s plenty of #menswear bloggers that are super-nice, super-helpful, and just want to see a better dressed world. But there’s also plenty just driving a new form of consumerism, one based in nicer stuff for sure, but still based in the idea that to bring yourself up, someone else must be brought down.
And it’s a shame that people so concerned with presenting themselves on the outside spend so little time truly considering how they come across.
EDIT: I have added quotation marks to ‘important’ in paragraph “So what’s a blogger to do?”
30 Notes/ Hide
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- graemewa said: Droppin’ knowledge like it’s college
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- goingoutgoingin said: fucking love this. been shouting it for a while.
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- thesilentist said: Funny, I was just about to write an essay about how dickblogging was going to be the next big thing in #menswear…
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- m0ym0y said: your points on a new kind of consumerism, is spot on…since the tumbles was set ablaze on dmonks i was this close to convincing myself that i should be on that level then i came to my senses but i’m still prone to the occasional nylite purchase :(
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