There’s one thing I need to clarify about these Wednesday-Weigh-In posts and it is that I don’t necessarily like every outfit I put up. Sometimes I’ll post something that is a clear attempt at men’s style but still falls short of the mark. This post is a perfect example of it. Everything should have been good according to the text book, but it didn’t look masculine.
The reason I post these is to give you guys an opportunity to voice both positive and negative feedback about a certain set up. I’ve found that my ability to understand and curate a good-looking wardrobe has expanded the more I write about it, and these Wednesday posts are me giving you the same opportunity.
Final takeaway – I don’t endorse everything I post.
Now, on to this week’s Weigh In:
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.
While button-up shirts, vests and suits have their place, there is room in a stylish man’s wardrobe for something a bit more dressed down. Yes a well-made T-shirt can be a part of that, but there are better options out there. Here are a couple.
The polo is the most common and recognizable of the T-shirt upgrade. The main standout is that it has a soft collar. There are usually two but sometimes three buttons. Never do up the top button and don’t ever wear a tie with one of these. It’s a casual shirt.
For me, the henley is a step up from the polo in both uniqueness and overall masculine appearance. I’ve heard it called lumberjack underwear and there’s no problem with having that kind of manly association. Essentially it’s a polo without a collar and can come in both short and long sleeve styles.
And speaking of long-sleeved, the crew-neck thermal is the last of the easy upgrades. What used to be long underwear is great as a layer on its own – especially in the fall. Throw on a tweed jacket and scarf over this guy and you’re set for any activity inside or out during October and November.
None of these options are anything ground breaking but I guarantee they will make you stand out without making you look metro. They’re stylish and masculine which means they’re exactly what you want.
The trick is the same as always, finding something that fits right. For short sleeves, you want the sleeves to hit somewhere in the middle of your bicep. Too low and it looks sloppy, too high and it looks like you’re wearing a child’s shirt. The other length aspect is where it fits on your torso. The rule with the polo is the same with any other casual shirt, it should fit just below or at your belt. Again, if it goes too low it looks sloppy and too high is mid-riff territory. Lastly, you want it to fit your torso. Slim cut, athletic fit, custom fit – whatever the name for it – it just needs to fit your body instead of blousing around you. Thankfully, this cut of shirt is getting easier and easier to find.
The best thing about these shirts is how cheap they are.