“Juxtaposition” is every college kid’s favorite word. It is a fancy, and convenient way, to describe placing things next to each other to compare them. There is always a way to use it at least once in an essay.

In the context of fashion, I’m using “juxtaposition” to talk about using style to create a more complex image of a person. This idea draws on more essay fodder from my school years, there is always more to the picture. We are not two-dimensional people (nor are events, places, history, etc.), but our first impressions are pretty flat. Here’s simple ways to flesh them out.

I’d been thinking about this post for awhile and had all but given up on it because I couldn’t figure out how to talk about it, when I had a serendipitous encounter at a store. All of the employees were fairly casually dressed, except one. He was wearing nice trousers and a matching suit vest, basically two parts of the three-piece suit. He also had ear gauges and tattoos on his arms.


Now, I’m never going to endorse gauges, but the point is, this young man took aspects of his appearance and personality that may initially seem unprofessional, and balanced them with sophistication. Because of his choices of tattoos and piercings, he was going to have to work a little harder in other areas to appear professional.

There are plenty of examples of this type of juxtaposition in the celebrity and fashion worlds, Jamie Campbell-Bower, Andre Hamann, and Adam Levine are all recognizable examples. The nature of their careers may make this look less necessary, but that doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate it.

If you don’t have tattoos or piercings you can still use juxtaposition to your favor. A similar method can be done iwth clothes alone.


By combining formal or semi-formal pieces with casual clothes creates visual interest and the opportunity for unique expression. This is especially easy to do with outerwear; pair a leather jacket with slacks and a tie, or throw a nice wool coat over a graphic tee or hoodie, to diversify your look. This also expands breadth of your wardrobe without actually buying more clothes.

An even easier way to add personality to your wardrobe?

Pop of color

Juxtapose a bright color with a neutral monochromatic look.

I love black on black, and neutral looks can be striking and classic. Finding a bright pair of shoes, or a belt, or some other piece of clothing can add a lot of personality and interest to a look.

There are tons of ways you can use contrast to up your visual interest and to best flatter yourself. Pair rounded glasses with a square jaw and a round face with angular frames, softer hair compliments an angular face, and so on. Find your favorite means of juxtaposing and embrace it.

I know it is technically time for a Spotlight post, and I feel like I’ve been waiting to do one forever, but this came out…don’t worry I think I know who is next in line for a spotlight, so it hopefully won’t be long.

The TV Myth

In honor of the Emmys, which I am watching right now, I’d like to take a moment to talk about the magic and myth of TV and movies.

I love movies and TV, I mean LOVE, but all media is partially to blame for the warped perceptions of body image that our society has. I could go on and on and make this a very serious discussion, but I’d mostly like to point out how ridiculous it can be.

I mean what does it say about us that we readily accept that these men are teenagers with no friends?

No one looks like this in high school

I mean, come on! And this is just a tiny example of the dozens and dozens of devastatingly handsome 20 to 30 year olds playing socially awkward high school students. 

Of course the myth can work in a slightly different way too. Rather than convincing us that teenagers have perfect skin and well-developed muscles, the myth can take a good looking man and totally hide that. I mean, we all remember being Neville Longbottomed by this guy:

Neville Longbottomed

But the real reason I wanted to write this post and the reason why this post is even relevant here is this guy:

tv myth

This is Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Declan Gormley in Mission Impossible III. Declan is a young agent who likes to live on the edge and not get tied down. I totally believe Meyers as that.

What I don’t believe is the last picture on the right. You are trying to tell me that you put that man in weirdly patterned shirt and a camera strap and suddenly no one pays any attention to him. No. Come on. I’ve been a tourist, and no matter how big the crowd, or how weird the shirt, I would definitely pick that guy out of a crowd. Just saying.

(Also those shirts are kind of in style now)

Frankly, TV and movies can teach us a lot about the human spirit, or at least keep us entertained, but neither are going to tell us the truth when it comes to appearance.

Doubt me?

This is Jim Rash’s twitter handle and bio:

Jim Rash His handle is “RashisTVUgly” which he explained in an interview. He and writing partner Nat Faxton had written a show with the idea that they might play the main characters, but they ended up in casting reads watching other actors. At one point Rash told the casting director that the actor they were watching was too good looking to play the everyday man he’d written. The casting director’s response was that the actor was “TV Ugly.”

If that isn’t a confidence booster, I don’t know what is. *sarcasm*

So while TV is great for seeing some of the latest styles, it is far from a clear reflection of the real world. Keep that in mind, find out what works for you, and don’t worry if you don’t look like the people you see on TV.

Take a Day Off

We are always telling you that even casual wear can look nice and fairly sophisticated, but today we’re talking a whole new level of casual. This is for your day off – off work, off the town, off duty. We’re talking sweats, sweaters, glasses, and tees.

This is the one time on this blog where we will say comfort is the most important thing.

Sure your clothes should always be comfy, but that is almost never a good reason to buy clothes (every single episode of What Not to Wear dealt with this clarification). Even your comfiest clothes can still be nice.

day off

Throw on a sweater and leave your hair a mess. Still take a shower, but go ahead and trade your contacts for glasses.

Keep your sweater a little looser, but don’t let it drown you. Find a hoodie that is thinner and a little boxier than the traditional college hoodie. This will actually be more comfortable (no waistband) and looks a little more grown-up. Also if you can find one without a front pouch, that is definitely good too.

Now is where the advice gets a little confusing/contradictory.

Holes in your sweats are bad, but might be good/hot on a t-shirt (only if they are very small and near the collar or bottom hem). If no one else is going to see you all day, who cares? But if you are around extended family, in-laws, friends, anyone, keep the holes off your sweats.

day off1

If you do venture out of the house throw on some comfy slim jeans, a cardigan, or an over-shirt.

Everyone deserves a day off. Let the scruff grow, wear the comfiest old clothes, and slouch around a bit. Just make sure you and the clothes are clean.

Subtlety is Key

“Menswear is about subtlety. It’s about good style and good taste” -Alexander McQueen

There’s a reason we have so often warned against clothes, particularly t-shirts, with obvious logos, brand names, or photos on them. Even if it is a well-know, well-respected, or frankly, expensive brand, having a logo branded across your chest looks a little less than sophisticated.

Also this

Truth from Ian Bohen

is a problem most easily hidden with plain, nondescript shirts.

But, occasionally, a shirt is just too good to pass up or let go. So here’s what you do when that is the case:

Note: Funny phrases are rarely as clever as you think they are. Avoid trying to wear your humor on your literal sleeve.

Aim for black and white or a neutral and one other color. This keeps even a busy image simple and doesn’t draw the eye to quiet the same degree.

Another way to tone down the message/focus on the shirt is to layer. Use another shirt or jacket to cover part of the design, making it interesting, but not the focus.

subtle logos

There are times where it is okay to try to be witty – and that is when you are unabashedly, but subtlely, reping yourself. This Stark Direwolf/Iron Man shirt is clever, but it is infinitely better on Kit Harrington and Robert Downey Jr. It’s an extra level of inside joke. Most people can’t really get this, but you know, it was worth mentioning.

Too Clever

And my personal favorite is this hat:


Bob Morely wearing this hat at Comic Con is a clear reference to his character, Bellamy Blake. But, the hat is vague enough that it could literally refer to anything. I want one – do I love the retired tennis player James Blake, or the Romantic poet William Blake, the character Bellamy Blake? You don’t know*! I love it.

*It’s a trick question, the answer is all three. (Although full disclosure: my favorite Romantic poet is John Keats. I would gladly accept a hat that read “Keats.”

Man-Buns: Not for Everyone

My co-worker and I had a long discussion the other day about the man-bun and the inevitable accompanying beard. You see, one of my friends has had long hair for about the last four years and now has a rather excessive beard. It wasn’t a problem at first, but I’m afraid it has now gone on too long. Because, you see, this man-bun look that is rapidly gaining popularity only really works on the un-real.

On the fictional, the famous, the other-worldly.

In terms of male hair trends, long hair is hard to pull off and it is hard to maintain.

It shows grease (if you think greasy hair is good looking, you are looking at professionals who have been styled and primped, it doesn’t look that goo naturally) and doesn’t always fall the way you want it to and can generally be a mess.

But it can also look good.


And that’s the tricky part because they look better a little messy. A little texture can go a long way when trying the man-bun, so it is best recommended for those with curly or wavy hair. Hozier’s hair is the perfect example. The natural wave and body looks good down and long or up.

Scruff also helps balance out the man-bun. Whether because there is a lot going on on top or because the bun is too slick, the scruff balances the face, while also adding a little ruggedness. But, do not let your facial hair go any farther than scruff or a really well trimmed beard. Any more and it veers into mountain man territory. (I know LumberSexual is a thing, but they are not the same thing, trust me, I’m a Westerner)

more man-buns

But here is what it ultimately boils down to, all of the men above are pretty darn attractive, but the vast majority are more attractive with shorter hair. That may be personal opinion, but like my co-worker and I said at the beginning, you pretty much have to be un-real to have a man-bun look good all the time. If you are going to go for it, just know it won’t always look great, that sometimes you will fight with it, and it will drive you nuts at some point. So choose wisely.

Spotlight: John and Hank Green

Hank and John Green

This one goes out to all the Nerdfighters.

For those of you who don’t know, John and Hank Green are brothers who, well, they do a lot. You’ve probably heard of John Green, or at least one of his books or the movies that have been based on his books, but John and Hank have also founded, produce(d), and host(ed) a large number of YouTube series.

This may not feel like a notable thing, but it really, really is. My personal favorite is VlogBrothers, their original channel, where they address whatever topics they want. But the best part about it is how they handle these topics – with thoughtful, objective, and open-minded consideration, and often humor.

Their unique outlooks and fields of choice are different, but complementary, so are their styles.

Hank Green keeps his look simple: graphic tees with messages or groups he cares about, plain button-ups and sweaters, and square, thick-rimmed glasses.

Nerdfighter Hank Green

He recently got a new haircut (you can see John have an existential crisis about it here). And although he previously had a pretty timeless haircut, the new one is a little trendier and it makes him look a little more polished.

Also I have a fondness for the blazer over graphic tee look, maybe just because it reminds me of House, but also it is a nice combination of adulthood and playfuness, which suits Hank.

John Green also keeps his looks fairly simple. He seems to favor collared shirts, often in the forms of polos and button-ups with blazers.

He’s also well known for his puff aka his hair, which can become very fluffy. But hey, who doesn’t want that kind of natural volume.

Nerdfighter John Green

This photo set also features Nat Wolff and the Yeti (John’s wife Sarah)! You should probably dress like Nat Wolff too. He’ll have his own post eventually.

John recently got new glasses. He had pretty traditional, simple frames, and just moved to an trendier, thicker-rimmed pair. Similarly to Hank’s haircut, John’s glasses just give him a more current look. Another trendy move of his is extra cool socks, usually from Happy Socks, which he has endorsed and we have talked about here.

You can also get your own DFTBA Records wardrobe, if you want to go full Nerdfighter!

Hank and John, more than just being good representatives of accomplishable style, are just good people. They regularly work to raise money and awareness for charities, encourage education, positivity, inclusivity, and thoughtfulness, and generally ‘decrease world suck.’ Whether you like their books and music, and whether you agree with all their ideas, or not, they are generally great examples of what a good man can be.

After watching VlogBrothers videos I almost always feel better about myself and like I should and want to do more. That is a magical combination, that is not easy to come by.

So, WAMSW readers, Don’t Forget to be Awesome.

Bomber Jackets

Bomber jackets, or flight jackets, got their start keeping fighter pilots warm during World War I, and with a heritage like that, they can’t be anything but cool.

They have, however, come a long way since then. They are now lighter weight, not the heavily insulated jackets of old, and more of a fashion piece than utilitarian. You can find more traditional looking ones, worn leather, with a looser shape, but generally the term “bomber jacket” has come to refer to most collarless jackets, with a loose shape (varsity jackets are similar).

bomber jacket

In recent years bombers have become the staple style of jacket for brighter colors and wilder patterns, but it works in almost any configuration. Solid colors, sleeves that are a different color, varsity stripes on the collar, it pretty much all works.

They also pair with almost all looks, from semi-formal to casual, so they can be thrown over most things.

bomber jackets

Summer is…

Summer is…Light

While we all love jewel tones and dark neutrals, something about summer demands lighter colors (and lighter weights). This is when you pull out the classic white tees and henleys, the linen button-ups, and the paler shorts and trousers.

Easy Breezy.

summertime lightness

Summer is…Cool Button-ups

When you need to be a little more professional or dressed up in the warmer months, nothing beats an open-collared button up. Checks and light solids are perfect for summer get-togethers, and even dressing up a casual pair of shorts.

While wearing tanks and tees around the house or pool is perfect, this is summer’s answer to business casual.


Summer is…fun

Take a risk, even if it is just throwing on a subtle print instead of a solid shirt. Try shorts that are a little shorter, or more colorful, or have a pattern. Hawaiian prints and florals are huge this year and can be manly and modern.

Not ready for a full commitment? Try taking your risk with swim trunks or sunglasses.

summertime fun

Summertime…the living is supposed to be easy, don’t make your clothes complicated.

A Blue Blooded Man

Blue Blood

Dressing rich comes from three basic things: rich colors, rich materials, and attitude. Crisp whites, smooth neutrals, and dark colors show sophistication and discerning taste – they are called jewel tones for a reason. Bright pastels might be preppy, but these colors have graduated.

A Blue Blooded Man

Color alone is not enough.

Although you may not know what your suit or the next guy’s jacket is made from, you can tell when something is cheap. There is nothing wrong with getting a bargain, but there is often a clear difference in the quality of materials. Thick wools, smooth silks, and the like are clearly a cut above. Layer these rich materials for even greater effect.

rich materials

“Sprezzatura,” meaning to have an air of studied nonchalance, is a quality often associated with ideal male attractiveness.

The essence of the blue-blood attitude is that of nonchalance, power, and a calm collectedness. This man doesn’t need to fight for anything, he already has it.

While no one like someone who is too arrogant, you have to have the confidence to pull off the richest clothes and look like you belong.

the right attitude

Need an example?

Spotlight: Brandon Flowers

The thing about Brandon Flowers is…he can do whatever he wants.

He may not be at the top of the Billboard charts every week, but pretty much everyone under a certain age can tell you their favorite Killer’s song (When You Were Young) or has been asked at some point if they are Human or Dancer.

He’s putting out his second solo album this year, but no one is worried because The Killers will never die. And we’ll take Flowers’ genius however we can get it.

If you’re thinking I’m crazy because you’ve never heard of this guy and/or questioning whether these songs really are genius, consider this excerpt from his Wikipedia bio: “Rufus Wainwright wrote a song about Flowers called “Tulsa” for his fifth album Release the Stars[12]Sir Elton John has listed Flowers as one of his top-five heroes while editing The Independents World Aids Day special edition.[13][14] U2‘s Bono described Flowers’ voice to The Globe and Mail saying, “We need him on the radio…His voice!”[15]

But now on to his clothes, where Flowers is nothing less than a chameleon. He’s The Heartbreaker, The Hipster, The Guy Next Door, and The Performer.

The Heartbreaker

In this case The Heartbreaker is the brooding, sensitive songwriter who is too emotionally distant to be fully present. Now, in reality, Brandon Flowers is a family man, but that doesn’t mean that he can’t look the part of The Heartbreaker. Dark and neutral basics make up the look, with a few distinct touches that show just how much better he is than everyone else.

Brandon Flowers - The Heartbreaker

The Hipster

We’ve already established that Brandon Flowers is cooler than you, or anyone else, so the hipster look comes pretty naturally. Flowers is a humble guy, but the suspenders, high-water pants, endless layers, and perfect scruff are all the hallmarks of a perfect hipster. This is arguably Flowers’ go to look.

Brandon Flowers - The Hipster

The Guy Next Door

Brandon Flowers makes no bones about the fact that this is what he is. He is a husband and a father, who happens to have a job he loves. He isn’t always dressed to perform for 90,000 people in Wembley Stadium. Sometimes everyone need to throw on a button-up and a jacket. Clearly some of his style crosses over, making the looks a little more exciting, but they are still pretty basic.

Brandon Flowers - The Guy Next Door

The Performer

Now, this is the Brandon Flowers that we probably first recognize. This is Brandon Flowers in eyeliner and feathers. And oh how he pulls it off. The Performer is brash and flamboyant, he is a god among men, and he can do no wrong. This is not an everyday look. This is for stadiums and music videos, but that doesn’t mean that us normal folk can’t appreciate it.

Brandon Flowers - The Performer