Friday, September 28, 2012

Ask-A-Dude: Fashion Edition!


Hello, everyone! Welcome back to another edition of Ask-a-Dude!

Remember, you can ask your own questions using the submission form on the right!


Today's question is:

  
Q: Why do guys have such terrible fashion sense? 

A: Before I reply, I should provide some context so you can determine for yourself if I'm qualified to answer this question.

As I sit here typing this, I'm wearing:

1. A dickey*
2. A smile
3. Nothing else

Okay, wow, that cleared most of the room. The rest of you can move up and fill in the front rows. . .No? Okay, let's move on.

Men's fashion used to be simple. You wore the skin of whatever you killed for dinner and there was a certain sexy masculinity in that. It helped that there were very few mastadons that would be caught dead in cheap acrylics or bad Ed Hardy motifs (*koff* redundant *koff-kaff*).

The result was that everyone on the savanna dressed like a mack daddy pimp.
Mastodon fur was VERY popular at this year's New York Fashion Week
Unfortunately, guys seem to have lost the early promise of those beautiful natural materials. We've replaced virility and confidence with a desperate attempt at building a wardrobe to make us look like our manly ancestors. Only it's as if we're working off a ghost image of what we thought made early males catnip for the ladies. 
WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2010
And what animal did you kill, exactly, to get that coat?
Long hair? Check.
Fur? Check.
Creepy angry-pout? Check.
Visual "stud" metaphor? Erm, yeah, you're trying too hard. 

The thing is, we want to look good, we really do. If we've got a romantic date or special occasion coming up, we'll set aside up to twenty whole minutes to shop for something nice to wear. Ignore for the moment that we spend less time shopping for clothes than we do trying to find a parking spot close to the entrance or that we focus more on hitting urinal cookies dead center than we do on fashion. At least we're trying. And if men have learned one lesson from kindergarten (and then indiscriminately applied it to everything, everywhere for the rest of their lives), trying is good enough.

Part of the struggle for modern men is that we are overwhelmed by choices. When I head to the local mall to pick out a nice dress shirt, I'm bombarded with incomprehensible babble. Am I looking for a pointed, wide or button down collar? Would I prefer turnback, button or French cuffs? Do I want a tailored look or a classic fit? What are my thoughts on plackets?

I don't know what you're saying! Just make me sexy, already! 
Choose the wrong placket and you're f***ed
Once the questions start, we do that thing men do where we try to sound like we know what we're talking about when we don't.

"Uh, you know what, let me make discrete inquiries with my valet vis-a-vis yoke preferences at which time I'll return to this haberdashery posthaste."

We rush out of there and on the way back home we pick up some polos from the discount rack at the Dollar Store. The fact that those "polos" are actually terry cloth bibs is irrelevant.

If a guy is intoxicated by love, experiencing Vulcan pon farr, or just really determined to shop for himself, he'll do the same thing that worked for him when he couldn't defeat Skyrim's Alduin: he'll look for a walkthrough. This consists of checking a few online fashion sites, maybe leafing through an issue of GQ, and then trying to emulate what he sees.

Guys, let me emphasize, this is a HUGE mistake. This is working the karaoke scene for a few days and then thinking you have what it takes to sing backup for Rihanna.

Oops, sorry, let me put that through Google Translate (Mars to Venus setting): This is like reffing college football and  thinking you have what it takes to officiate in the NFL.
Never Forget
Here's why this is such a terrible idea, guys. Let's say you see an image like this:
It was Suspect #3, officer. Only he had a mask and called himself Bane.
You don't understand that most of us will never, ever pull off any of that. In a Skyrim walkthrough, you do exactly what the instructions tell you. Soon you're married to Lydia and building a log cabin in Winterhold for you and your adopted kids.

But a fashion spread isn't a walkthrough. It's not saying, "Wear this," it's saying, "Observe these lines, these elements, this is fashionable. Now go forth and incorporate the essence of this into your wardrobe."

Here, you try.
Christmas Just Vomited
The day innocence died
Nope. Nope, nope, nope.

Probably the biggest reason men have such terrible taste in fashion is because we ask for fashion advice just like women do (but with wildly different results).

Ladies, same scenario, you're getting ready to go dancing or out to a romantic dinner. Who do you ask for advice on what to wear?

a. Female BFF
b. Favorite spinster aunt
c. College sorority sister
d. Gay male friend 
e. Sixteen year old neighbor who insists Chipotle is now and has always been clothing-optional

If you answered 'e' I have news for you. You're a dude.

The real issue isn't that guys don't ask for fashion advice, it's that they ask for it all the time. Unfortunately they're asking other guys. 

Dude: How do I look?
Brohan: Call the morgue. You're killing it, Dude.
Dude: Really? The Borat mankini--
Brohan: Under the Liberace cape? Oh, yeah. Fully.
Dude: Cool. Final question. Assless chaps. Yay or nay? 
Brohan: What have I always told you about chaps?
Dude: Chaps make the chap.
Brohan: Dude, fer real, I think I just got dust in both my eyes. 

Ladies, the last time men had any fashion sense was the last time it was still acceptable to wear fur. And since your guy is getting such terrible fashion advice from his male friends, it's up to you to educate him without triggering the You're Smothering Me protein (which itself is an expression of the Quit Trying to Change Me gene).

Subtly hint that, just maybe, his tuxedo print t-shirt is so special, it's like Jordan's #23 and should be retired, to be replaced by this nice Lacoste polo that appeared miraculously in his closet.

Another trick: be alert to any time he drools during a Hollywood blockbuster. If the main character has a fashion sense you like, you can take the opportunity to point out that, honey, you're just as sexy as James Bond and, oh, wow, where did this Tom Ford boutique come from? 

Once you've got him dressing like he takes pride in his appearance, you can move on to his scent.

Start by tossing out his collection of Polo for Men (also known as "high school water") and anything that can't be used to split wood but has Axe in its name anyway.

Next, give him a Silkwood shower. . . 


*I'm talking about detachable shirt bosom like this one.

File:Fiberloid shirt dickey.jpg




Copil is very fond of his shirt bosoms. They go really well with his trouser asses. This and other fashion tips can be found on Twitter (@Copil).

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