I imagine that these are way overpriced but should be easy to DIY.
Hipsters and SWPL’s have developed an affinity for tradition when it comes to clothing and other “safe” areas. For a man in the alt right, this can be the same conundrum with dressing well.
With shows like Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire gaining in popularity, along with the economy leading consumers to focus on quality and pine for the nostalgia of better times, menswear is becoming more and more popular. Five years ago you had to hunt long and hard to find a shirt that fit well off the rack or shell out the bucks to have a tailor bring it in for you. Now even low-end brands like Old Navy are offering their “slim collections.” That same trim shirt would have made you stand out from the crowd before and now it’ll barely get you a second glance. Don’t believe me? Head to the mall this holiday season. I’m constantly surprised by how many well-dressed men there are at stores like Nordstrom’s and even H&M; and I live in Salt Lake – not exactly a fashion mecca.
It’s only inevitable that as you start to dress better you’re going to be making choices that can be seen on hipsters, SWPL’s or actual WASP’s and Yuppies. I grew up as a punk/ska/bmx kid and the idea of wearing anything preppy was heresy.
But there’s a difference between us and the other guys who dress well. For them, the clothes are their substance. They use their clothing as a way to fit in. The hipsters will wear traditionally masculine clothing in an ironic way because they believe they’re well above the need to think in terms of gender and they think their women love them because they’re sensitive. We wear them because we respect ourselves enough to dress like men instead of teenagers. Metrosexuals will wear fitted clothes as a way accentuate their perfectly sculpted figures without a single hair or thread out of place in an attempt to show the world their attention to grooming and sartorial detail rivals that of their women. We wear fitted clothes because we know they are more functional and because they flatter a man and convey his concern for his appearance. Brand-whores will wear logos and be walking billboards for their favorite companies in an attempt to curry favor or impress their peers by their brand loyalty alone. We buy specific brands because the clothes they make are quality and are a good investment, even if no one besides us ever knows which company made our suits or shoes.
They are worn and defined by their clothes. We use our clothes as a way to communicate what we already internally are. I can show up at a party wearing the same jacket or pants as one of the hipster kids, but I’ll still look different, because I carry myself differently. This blog is not about how you can use clothes to define you; it’s about how you can use them to communicate what your actions have already defined you to be.
OneSTDV had a post about Tim Tebow making people uncomfortable because he is serious in a silly and ironic world. Most men, even those who dress well do so as a costume. It may be intentional – which falls in the realm of ironic; or it may be unintentional and earnest – which falls in the realm of silly. When a man, who knows his worth as a man and doesn’t apologize for being one, dresses well, it won’t be a costume, but a tool to help him accomplish his other goals.
With fit being the most important aspect of dressing well, most men who are just starting out are left in a tough spot. Either they pay for all new clothes, or they pay to have their existing clothing altered. Neither one is an especially cheap option.
My recommendation is to start off buying one new piece or having your tailor tweak with one existing piece at a time .
For most of us, our clothes don’t fit because they’re too large. Let’s say you have to wear a shirt and tie to the office every day like I do. That’s a lot of button-up shirts to replace. There’s a cheater option though, and this option is a lot easier now that the winter months are upon us.
Here’s a picture of an old shirt I have that doesn’t see much rotation in my closet. The sleeves are too billowy and the body of the shirt balloons out at my pants – not particularly flattering. I like the color of this shirt and it’s a good one to have around if the laundry hasn’t been done and I’m in a pinch.
Here’s my cheater solution. With a fitted sweater over the top, no one has any idea how poorly this fits. I still get the color on the cuffs and collar and I don’t have to have it altered. On top of that, the sweater will work with any shirt I have that doesn’t fit.
And here it is with my jacket on as well.
The sweater cost me ten bucks at H&M a couple of years ago. Cheaper than having a single shirt altered and now I can wear a few extras that hang out in my closet if I want to. Easy.
If you go the cheater route, get a neutral color. Things like grey, blue and brown go with almost everything. I personally avoid black because it’s too overplayed but if that’s your personal preference, run with it. The sweater isn’t a permanent solution but it’s a good cheater option while you’re building up your others.
Positive masculinity on TV is a rare find these days. I’m entertained by shows like Modern Family, the Big Bang Theory, and the Office, but none of these has any example of a good male role model I’d want my sons to look up to.
On the opposite end there are shows that portray masculine, alpha males who are entirely morally ambiguous. There’s a lot to be learned about proper frame and growing a spine in shows like Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire; but at the end of the day, it feels like you’re cheering on the bad guy half the time (because you are).
That being said, there are a few shows that I’ve stumbled upon recently that have really piqued my interest and portray positive male role models. None of them is perfect and all three are tainted by writers still adhering to the modern zeitgeist of feminism, but the good in these shows far outweighs the bad.
Was on NBC and only lasted two seasons – which is too bad because this is a great show. My wife and I just finished watching the entire series on Hulu and we both enjoyed it.
Life follows the story of Charlie Crews who joins the LAPD as a detective after serving 12 years of a wrongful life sentence. He was framed as a cop and sentenced to life in prison but was proven innocent after 12 years.
It follows the typical cop formula of each episode containing its own crime but still telling a larger story overall. What makes Life so good is how Charlie handles adversity. He seeks out justice on his own when the system fails him but he never loses his frame. He converted to Buddhism in prison and uses his Zen practice to always be in control and impervious to the majority of emotions that come from working in a high-stress job like LAPD homicide. Crews doesn’t bury nor does he ignore his emotions, he controls and channels them. It’s a perfect example of the balance illustrated in the saying “A man who is controlled by his emotions is a child. A man who has no emotions is a robot.”
Manly traits: Frame control, emotional control, strong sense of justice and fairness, ability to get back up after being knocked down, confidence without excessive bravado.
Neal Caffry is a world-famous con artist who ends up teaming up with the FBI agent who caught him. I like both of these characters quite a bit. Peter Burke – the FBI agent- is a good example of your average man who loves his wife and his job and does his best to take care of both. No flash, no complaints, just going after what he wants and doing it well.
Neal on the other hand, is a great example of a likeable cad. Woman love him, everything always goes his way, he’s handsome and dresses impeccably. (For a site about men’s style, this is the show I recommend most to step up your clothing game.) He’s also another great example of frame control. Rather than using Zen and being willing to make everyone else uncomfortable while in his own frame, Neal is the perfect example of amused mastery. He’s so used to everything working out for him, that it’s rare to see him even break a sweat. I’m only a few episodes into the series and I’ve seen him con his way into and out of a good number of situations. These are streaming on Netflix.
Manly traits: Frame control, amused mastery, adaptability, excessive confidence without arrogance, stylishness.
Of the three, this is my favorite. Airs on FX with season three starting in January, Justified follows US Marshall Raylan Givens as he’s sent back to work in Harlan County Kentucky. Givens is a bit trigger happy by modern standards but would’ve been considered relatively tame a hundred years ago. He’s quiet and in control. Great example of a Sigma male.
The majority of this show takes place in the sticks of nowhere Kentucky. The people are poor and have strong Southern roots. Essentially the men are men with the women being feminine in comparison but tougher than any man in suburbia. Of the two seasons already aired, there are steady recurring characters and a main antagonist with minor side stories each episode.
Givens is another great example of you – guessed it – frame control. The man never loses his cool. Guns, girls, whatever, he’s calm and collected. He’s also unhesitant when it comes to making quick decisions. He trusts his instincts and acts accordingly.
Givens is also a bit of a peacock. His trademark is slim jeans, boots and his omnipresent cowboy hat. He stands out as much in Kentucky as he would in California in his get up, but he pulls it off well and owns the style. He wears the clothes rather than letting his clothes wear him.
Manly traits: Frame control, strong sense of justice, stoicism, dry humor
There are a lot of similarities in these three shows besides the fact that they’re all cop shows (just realized that as I started typing this article). The most obvious is that these men are in control of themselves and it helps them exert control over the world around them. They do not let other people get under their skin; and if it does happen, they don’t show it. In their interactions with enemies, women, and superiors they all bring people into their world and their frame of mind. It’s a constant DHV.
Another glaring similarity is their confidence. While all three gained their confidence from different experiences, they all have confidence because of experience. These are men who know what they’re capable of and act accordingly. They’ve had their teeth sharpened and don’t live in the world of the hypothetical. They’ve taken risks with both failure and success as the result. They know what they’re made of and won’t be treated with any less respect than that worth.
While Justified is my favorite, any one of these is great for a lazy Sunday or an evening before hitting the sack. And while life isn’t like TV or the movies, there’s a lot to be learned from these characters and how they act and react to their given situations. Let’s hope TV keeps giving us a few gems like this to help temper all the other garbage out there.