POSTED ON AUGUST 15, 2007:
His Side of the Store
Guys, you don't have to be metro to care about your appearance
Get Some Color. Men in recent years have been ballsy enough to incorporate pinks and purples into their wardrobe, be we were thinking more of reds, greens and yellows.
Imagine your favorite place to hang out on a Saturday night--somewhere really busy, full of 20- and 30-somethinggs trying to meet other 20- and 30-somethinggs. Do you picture the girls? They've probably spent an hour or more picking out an outfit that shows off just enough skin, getting their hair just right and applying flawless make up. Now picture the guys: They have thrown on a too-tight t-shirt or a basic button-down, basic slacks or jeans, and have stepped right out of the house. Yawn.
I realize that men have fewer fashion options than we gals, but I still can't understand why there is little to no imagination. I spent part of last summer traveling around Europe, and I was so excited to see men with something new to offer my eyes. They essentially wore the same concepts as the American man, but improved. And they also wore Capri pants and shorty shorts, and, while I'm not recommending the young men of Tulsa search high and low for these items or anything else too extreme, a little effort would be greatly appreciated.
I don't proclaim to be knowledgeable in the inner workings of the male mind, but I can imagine that the lack of a more expansive wardrobe is due to lack of energy or care. Men traditionally dislike shopping and trying on things, but there are baby steps a man (or the woman in his life buying his clothes) can take to make us ladies do a double take when he walks into the room.
Both men and women spend a significant part of their time wearing jeans and t-shirts, and by no means am I knocking this standard uniform. The problem with this classic look is fit. A man's day-to-day look will involve a t-shirt that is too big, while, by night, he'll channeling his inner Guido by wearing a t-shirt that is too tight. That size in the middle? That's the one you should always be wearing.
Don't assume you wear a certain size in everything at every store. As painful as it sounds, you really should be trying things on, if not at the store, then in your own home. Just keep those receipts to return anything that looks baggy.
Many women are suckers for a man in a simple white t-shirt, but that doesn't mean you have to avoid color completely. While most of you will stick to the regular boring palette of blues and grays, there is a whole spectrum of colors out there. Yes, men in recent years have been ballsy enough to incorporate pinks and purples, but I was thinking more of reds, greens and yellows. Branch out, even if it's just by opting for royal blue instead of navy.
For those men still unsure about color, a good graphic on a t-shirt can also alter the look of the regular shirt. A "good" graphic constitutes one that has no double entendres and (especially) is not outright pervy with its statements or pictures. Those are more obnoxious than clever.
The t-shirt is great for day, but night requires the button-down shirt. Typically long sleeved, you gentlemen try to make it special by rolling up the sleeves to make it quarter-length. Instead, why not opt for a shirt with a good pattern for an interesting touch. (This does not mean Hawaiian print.)
So many stores carry men's shirts in stripes with blue and white, so if you can locate a shirt in something more original, like a different pattern or stripes in a different color scheme, try it. For basic white button-downs, go for an option with a great texture or minute pattern that is seen only upon closer inspection.
Once you've found a more interesting button-down shirt, it's important to remember that if you are a real manly man (i.e. hairy), you should always wear some kind of undershirt. This is important with most knits because chest hair poking through your shirt or peaking out from a between buttons is certainly a look, but not one I'd recommend. For moments outside of the office, the button-down looks best untucked. And certainly remember to loosen up the top buttons, but to a limi. Only buttoning to the center of your chest for that 1970s porn star look was only cool way back then.
For that guy trying to go the extra mile and look especially unique, add a tie. For an even more confident look, choose a tie in a bold color or print, but still a respectable tie. Themed ties, like martinis, birds, cartoon characters and the like are just not sophisticated. For a man unfamiliar with tying ties or just against that choking sensation, spice up the button-down shirt by wearing a blazer over it. This look is no longer stuffy. A blazer in a great neutral color like khaki or navy is classic. Make sure the blazer fits correctly. The seam should sit right on the shoulder. For a flash of color, include a pocket square in a contrasting shade from the shirt. With a pair of jeans, this looks good without looking like you're going to a business meeting.
Besides the polo, which has limited options other than choosing a good color and not popping the collar, there is only one kind of shirt left to discuss--the tank top. I think you guys call it a "muscle tee" or "sleeveless shirt" or something. Whatever the name, on a man, it belongs solely in two realms: when doing physical or athletic activity or when around a body of water. I'm sure you've worked hours at the gym for those arms and you want to show them off, but there is nothing attractive about clumps of armpit hair.
Men, for the most part, have mastered wearing pants correctly--not too long or too short. Key points here are to not wear anything too baggy and to avoid tapered jeans. The most universally flattering choices for men's jeans are boot cut or regular fit in a medium to dark wash. If you're fastening them with a belt, make sure it coordinates with your shoes. Black shoes equal black belt, brown shoes mean brown belt.
To complete your improved look, you need footwear. Daytime is fine for athletic shoes, but by night, change it up. Wear your nice loafers or come up with something more unique, like a pair of Vans or Converse sneakers. It might sound too casual, but can look so laid back and confident.
While I won't soon step out onto the town and wonder if I've somehow wandered into a European city, I know that the men of Tulsa can do it. They can look original, polished and sexy. And they will do it, if not for themselves, then for the girls.
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