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Men’s fashion is an art form September 15, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Fashion.

Summer is ending, and this means fashion no-nos galore, including baggy pants, popped collars, white socks and the dreaded jean short. But even those of you who don’t boast these items have a thing or two to learn about dressing yourselves.

Yes, that’s right. Every single one of you. Half of you seem to have the idea that it’s okay to dress as though your mother picks out your clothes during her weekly trips to the mall, and the other half seem to think it’s acceptable to dress like an Urban Outfitters or American Eagle mannequin. I don’t know where you’ve gotten these ideas from, but it has to stop. Now.

Like it or not, fashion is an art form. Like art, fashion requires that you consider elements such as color, shape and line, this means no matching plaid with stripes! Like art, fashion is accessible to and appreciable by all, not simply the financial elite. And best of all, as with any art form, there is an objective standard for fashion.

I know that part comes as a shock to some of you, but no, what looks good on a man is not simply a fleeting impulse determined by societal consensus, and it is not wholly subjective. We use the same criteria when examining an outfit as we do when examining a painting. Sure, we can sometimes be misled by popularity and novelty, but even the most ignorant trend-whore instinctively “knows” whether an outfit is good or bad.

Is it shallow to be concerned with appearances? Maybe, but it’s unavoidable. Even the most skeptical among you still put on clean clothes every day, and you probably wear a shirt and tie to job interviews. These are signs of acceptance that, just as you form snap judgments based on how others appear at first glance, so, too, will others judge you.

Luckily, being stylish isn’t a matter of wearing $80 Armani Exchange shirts, $170 Diesel  jeans, flashy sunglasses or pink Lacoste polos. In fact, common sense, not a fat wallet, is the best tool you have.

Examples of common sense rules include: Wear athletic clothing, including baseball caps, only if you’re heading to or from the sports centre. Ensure that all shirts and pants fit properly, neither skintight nor baggy. Avoid square-toed shoes, as well as cheap-looking shorts. Never put a hoodie under another jacket.

A word about bootcut: If it were meant to be worn with sneakers and sandals, it would be called “sneakers-and-sandals cut.” Leave the Hot Topic-style sayings, the polos with cute little animals stitched on, and the sky-blue, vertical-striped shirts with the rest of your high school clothes. You’re an adult now. It’s time to dress like one. Failure to do sends a message to your peers not to take you seriously, and it transmits a strong “Don’t breed with me!” signal to potential mates.

If you’re still completely lost, fear not. The “keep it simple” principle always applies.

Clean, conservative articles like spartan shirts, fitted jeans and pants, and classic sneakers are timeless elements that ought to be a part of every man’s wardrobe. Best of all, they can be acquired for very cheap; a properly cared-for pair of dry Levi’s will last you longer than their pre-distressed mall-brand equivalents, and they’ll cost you less money in the end. Most other items you need can be bought on the Internet or in thrift stores, and if all else fails, the nearest H&M is only a drive away.

Take the time to learn what looks good on you, and fill out your wardrobe with outfits that aren’t eyesores waiting to be worn. Your friends, and the people who pass you on the mall, will silently thank you for it.

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