Rumours and menswear.

Jul 19, 2013

Man in suitI’ve been wearing little else but the same pair of shorts for the last four days now. I feel proud of this and it’s how I’m aiming to finish off the week. It’s bloody hot on the south coast of England. Especially if you happen to live on a little island in the Channel where cycling the three miles along country lanes to tourist-packed beaches is the main theme of your week. This is why returning to the far off world of city men’s business wear and accessories seems somewhat out of sorts. But I’ve endeavoured to write something because I feel a stab of pity for the working man stuck in the inner-city, barely-air-conditioned office on such a glorious week.

I also just finished reading Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho which between the violent axe murders/rape scenes had some pretty enlightening men’s fashion tips I don’t mind telling you. It’s essentially a how-to blood stained guide to the all-man’s 80’s Wall St ascetic.  Whole pages are dedicated to obsessively, yet expertly, decoding vintage male business wear. Patrick Bateman would make a fine Monsieur London blogger if he just calmed down a bit. 

Fuelled by new found knowledge and the 25+ degrees heat I’ve decided to squash a few rumours of male fashion. These rumours may have been circulating for generations. Some can be ratified, others are nonsense. It’s time to take the Pepsi/Coke challenge of the man’s accessories world and see where you stand on a few well-versed myths and rumours …

Rumour: “Shoe trees belong to a past generation” : False

Shoe trees do not belong to your grandfather’s generation. In fact, this handy accessory needs to be rediscovered by every generation. For those of you out of the loop shoe trees are mannequins for your loafers. They help retain the shoe’s shape when not being worn. If you’ve treated yourself to that special pair of footwear are you going to let them lose their structural integrity? No, you’re not because you’re a modern gentleman and you’ve armed yourself with the shoe tree. Smart.

The Matrix

Rumour: “Tie clips give you power”: False

There’s a time and a place for the tie clip. Nowadays men tend to take them too seriously and wear them alongside aggressively coloured power-ties and three piece suits to help project the message “here I come underlings. I earn a six figure wage and I mean business”. Unfortunately these people are almost invariably fat, balding 50-year-old middle management types with throw away job titles. Tie clips make you look like an Agent from The Matrix films. If you’re risking a tie clip, fair play. Choose a vintage, interesting looking one and do so in an informal environment. Never the office.

Rumour: “White socks are for sport, never for business”: True

I don’t know why this is a thing. But it is. I don’t make the rules. Wikipedia doesn’t know why white socks are a no-no with a suit so for all intents and purposes the internet doesn’t know which means there isn’t a reason yet. But what we do know is this: dark socks with a dark suit please vicar.

Rumour: “Three buttoned jackets haven’t come around again”: True

If I were Boris Johnson I would walk round making every male Londoner aware that three buttoned suit jackets look dated. Actually, I don’t care about it that much but the point’s still worth raising. Three buttons were a staple diet in the 90’s. Now they’re not. Don’t march out of your front door wearing a three buttoned jacket on an important day. I don’t care how much you’ve spent on the rest of your attire: this is 2013. Put the three buttons to bed and embrace the minimalist, clearly superior, two buttoned jacket.

Barber shop quartet

Rumour: “Sleeve garters are only for black-jack dealers”: False

Actually shirt armbands are good to go for just about anyone. Who needs to deal with baggy shirt sleeves gallivanting around the mid-section? No I said the walrus. I’ve got time for anyone with shirt arm bands. Not a lot of people risk them nowadays for reasons I can’t pinpoint. Perhaps it’s the lack of occasion that is clearly sleeve garter-worthy.  Still, this doesn’t strike me as a particularly good reason to neglect what is clearly a choice accessory for the young gentleman. You don’t have to be in a barber shop quartet. Get some and hang loose.

James Fredrick Gray

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