The Long and Short of it

If you haven’t been outside (don’t judge by Oregon standards, think California) or looked at a calendar recently I have some news for you: it’s summer! Hallelujah, Hip Hip Hooray and all that jazz. We’ve previously discussed the male-tank (the mank? please, no). Today we’re here to talk about shorts. Not swim shorts (lucky you, that will come another day) but regular ol’, everyday shorts. I don’t have especially strong feelings on this particular subject but I do have preferences (really this blog should be called What a Man Should Wear If He Wants To Impress Rachel and Amy). Here they are:

1. No patterns. I feel like plaid shorts belong on those below the age of 12 (and they look smashing in them, I must say) or on females. I know they’ve been around for a few years now but I just think that they are A) overdone and B) done incorrectly. I say forget the whole lot of them and just go for solids.

2. Plain Jane. My new favorite thing is plain shorts. No extra (and unnecessary) cargo pockets to be found on these bad boys. Just front and back pockets and a slim fit. Yes please.

3. Color. This is another awesome trend that I’m all for. Wear a pair of coral/red shorts with a yellow belt. Or grab some Kelly green with a sky blue belt. It’s all adorable.

4. length matters. My rule is minimum of slightly above the knee (seriously, don’t go any higher) and max would be the end of your knee cap (going down, obviously).

And if my preferences aren’t enough, here’s an article with a little more opinion (never mind the date)

Truth be told nothing on this list realllllly bothers me (aside from length, maybe). If you must wear cargos or patterns, go for it BUT please make sure they fit. No one wants to see too small or too large of shorts on you. If Goldielocks could find her happy medium, so can you.

– Rachel

A Note From the Other Author: Personally I find  plaid to be the king of all patterns, but my commrade has a point when she says they have been overdone–except on tennis shorts, those are still smashing. Stripes should probably be saved for swim trunks (but can I say, pinstripes on a dark swimsuit is a delightful look). And please, please, please, unless you are actually in the military do NOT wear anything that can be described as cargo or camo–it’s not flattering and we can still see you.

Avoiding the Farmers’ Tan

Alright. It is an issue that must be addressed. It’s getting warmer out and clothes are getting smaller, which places you in the extremely dilemmic (yes, it’s a word) situation: To go sleeveless or not. It is a fine line; because quite frankly you would rather look like Channing Tatum than your girlfriend, or like you haven’t done laundry in three weeks. I have to admit, I used to be a purist (and I’m certain my colleague is a vehement purist) when it comes to men in tank tops; the answer was no. But more recently I have found that it can look very summer and incredibly rock and roll.

If you are unsure/aren’t a rock star/do not have the body of a greek god, you should probably (definitely) refrain, there is just too much room for error. Even Johnny Depp, the king of personal style, often makes the wife beater look like its namesake with far too much grunge.

Also be wary of the too small tank (bottom right). This is probably the only time you will ever see/hear me tell you to lean toward the baggier side of the spectrum, but trust me on this one, smaller isn’t better (I cringe, but it’s true).

Third warning. The frat bro-tank or pinny? Don’t do it. No one wants to see your beer gut or armpit fur (at that point why are you even wearing a shirt?). Plus you look like you are in a frat, and that’s never a good thing.

Confidence makes any look better, which is exactly why this look is for action stars and musicians (who else has that much expendable confidence?). You are welcome to try; just, please, no neon letters or grime. Also please, please make sure it is appropriate for the occasion (your first ever rock concert, the gym, a pool party, the beach, etc.).

– Amy

Last word of advice (from the vehement purist): if you MUST wear a man-tank PLEASE make sure the rest of your outfit is at the very least summer appropriate (shorts, sandals, shades) and at the very best Rock Star appropriate (skinny jeans, boots or other appropriate footwear, mostly just think trendy).

If the shirt fits

Dear Gentleman of the World,

Please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please, please stop wearing shlumpy dress shirts. Please.

I’m ever so tired of seeing this:

Trust me, you’re not doing yourselves (or any young ladies) any favors by wearing any form of these abominations atrocities shirts. In fact you look a little like your dad let you borrow his shirt for the day. That’s a fun statement to make.

It would be more fitting (pun intended) if you wore something more along these lines:

Notice the differences between these two sets: the bottom features torsos that are tapered, while the top shows men who are clearly unsure whether or not they have a waist/abs/body. The shoulders of the fitted shirts end at the shoulders while the others end somewhere along the mid upper arm (because that makes sense). The bottom photos’ sleeves are fitted, not tight, and end at the wrist comfortably (presumably, in some of the photos) while the top pictures are billowy and would probably be more at home in a different century. To top it off the ill-fitted guys look scrawny while the bottom men look well-built yet trim. I could go on but I’ll stop there.

Fitted shirts make a world of difference. I, myself, tend to swoon when I see a young (or old) man wearing a fitted dress shirt. When your shirt is fitted you’re making a statement. That statement is: that you take yourself seriously, that you take what you’re doing seriously, and that you should definitely be taken seriously. You never knew a shirt could say so much, did you? Fitted shirts are pretty powerful.

Now, I realize that buying a dress shirt may not be easy. You usually can’t even see it in it’s full form since it comes in a little square package, and the sizing goes by the neck and sleeve length, odd. But that doesn’t mean it is impossible to get the right cut. First off, there will generally be mannequins modeling each type of shirt (check for safety pins in the back). Second, if you don’t know your neck size or sleeve length click here for a tutorial on how to figure that out. And third (and most important for my argument), there are a few key words to look for (Athletic, Fitted, Slim Cut), find the tag and if it sounds like it fits closer to your body (or in good in other ways) get it.

Please don’t be offended if you’ve committed this crime worn one of the first category of shirts, everyone does it. But who doesn’t want to stand out from their peers? The perfect way to do that is to wear a shirt that fits and flatters you. I promise that at least your female peers will thank you for it.

Best Regards,

Women Everywhere (and this one in particular)

PS: Obviously, I don’t know all the ins and outs of buying a dress shirt (collars, darts, cuffs, etc). If you want a few more (and better) pointers check out this article by GQ.

– Rachel

From the Ankle Down

Socks and Shoes. One of the simplest combos that we all learn from a young age. Your parents made you wear them so your feet didn’t get cold, stepped on, or stabbed by a ruthless pebble. But they are so much more.

Shoes, as much as one may not want to believe it, tell us a lot about the person wearing them. Sure the idea of walking in another’s shoes is not literal, but as my favorite doctor said: “The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth.”  -Dr. Gregory House. They can reveal simple truths or solid taste. A man who has paired a nice outfit with running sneakers, à la Seinfeld, is out of his element in the style world. Whereas the man who pairs his skinny jeans and deep V with worn in leather boots knows exactly what his look is–he cares what he wears in a way that says it doesn’t matter.

So what should you be putting on your feet? Leather. Okay, there are other options, especially for you vegan folks, but there is no denying that leather shoes add a certain class to any wearer. That and they will last longer than the factory-made stuff. Nice, leather shoes are not just for the office or a wedding. The man who wears nice boots or loafers with jeans is not only more stylish in my eyes, but he is confident and composed and a little bit of a rock star.

Another way to step out of the 90’s with your footwear is with color. A bright pair of Chuck Taylors or Sperrys is a great way to perk up a tired or bland look. Not sure about investing in brightly hued shoes? Go the cheaper (and even chic-er) route with bright and/or patterned socks. Sure only David Letterman is ever allowed to wear white socks with his dress shoes, but take a leaf from Joel McHale and rock some attention grabbing dress socks. Whether you are working the rolled pants trend or not, a surprising, classy (not moose-adorned or other novelty designed) pair will do wonders for your style cred.    

Now you might write this all off as the words of a shoe-obsessed girl. I mean all girls love shoes, right? Well, I am, first and foremost, a barefoot girl. I always have been, around my house and yard, even if it meant stinging nettles and rocks. But there is power in a good shoe. My leather Sperry boat shoes are hanging on their last limb because I wear them too much. Just like a good pair of heels can make a woman stand taller (height and confidence-wise), solid footwear can speak volumes for and about a man. Embrace it and invest in it. Wear your heart on your shoe.

– Amy

Spotlight: Eddie Redmayne

The subtle and stunning (and vastly underrated) Eddie Redmayne is finally starting to get some serious attention. Personally, I’ve been in love with him since I saw the mini-series Pillars of the Earth (the first time). But he has been doing incredible work, under the radar, for years. The Tony winner is a remarkable actor and, more importantly for the purposes of this blog, a Burberry model. Burberry has, in my opinion, some of the best models and clothes in the business, they are ones to watch.

Eddie is one of those guys who looks just as flawless in his World War I military uniform (Birdsong) and medieval  monk’s garb (Pillars of the Earth, Black Death) as he does in a tux or a sweater. Although I don’t suggest the first two looks for the everyday man, the rest of Eddie’s wardrobe holds hints for us common folk.

First of all, his clothes fit (see “A well-tailored man”). He is a slender man who can pull off the skinny pants and slim cut jackets, and he knows it.

Second, for a color blind guy, he does not shy away from rich tones that play up his oh-so-pale skin and red hair. (See “Color Wonder”).

Furthermore, Eddie is always dressed to impress. Although I have nothing against them (and I’m sure he doesn’t either), you will almost never catch Mr. Redmayne in a plain t-shirt (at least not without a tailored jacket or nice sweater to go with it). He may not be a tabloid fixture, but cameras seem to never find a bad look on him.

Basically: watch Eddie Redmayne for his brilliant acting and so you can copy his look the next day. Double bam.

– Amy

Color Wonder

If you haven’t noticed, color is everywhere these days. From the neon pink, yellow and orange clad teenagers to the bright and/or pastel skinny jeans found on bloggers nationwide. Color is a thing. Color has a way of doing that. Every so often we remember that it exists and it explodes across the world. I have no problem with this. Color belongs in fashion. It makes us feel bold and fearless. It makes us feel carefree and light. Basically it just really makes us feel good. Men are no exception to this current fashion trend. Every time I browse Pinterest’s Men’s Apparel board I’m overwhelmed by the amount of color I see. Be it an accessory or an entire outfit, it is here and it is staying. That being said there a few rules that should be followed when using color in your wardrobe. Here’s my list of do’s and do not’s:

DO: use color. It looks good on you. Promise.

DON’T: make me go blind. Please choose one or two pieces and go neutral for the rest. I would love to still have corneas after passing you on the street and I’m pretty sure you’d rather not look like a character Dr.Seuss created.

DO: remember accessories. Color doesn’t just have to be a sweater or pant. Shoes, hats, ties, watches, socks, man bags (if you’re into that) and even pocket squares can be colorful and add excitement to an otherwise boring ensemble.

DO: wear pink and purple. A purple sweatered man is one of my very favorites. I, personally, like pastels but if you’re feeling bold go for bright. There is nothing wrong with a man in “feminine” colors.

DON’T: think color has to be bold. Soft pastels are color too. There is even such a thing as neutral color (bottom right). If you’re new to the whole color thing, start light and see how you feel. Increase as you go.

DON’T: force it. If you’re not feeling a particular color, put it down. If you wear color you need to own it.

Which brings me to my final do.

DO: have confidence. If you violate any of my previously stated rules BUT you have confidence, who cares? If you think it looks good then it does. If you feel comfortable then be happy. Make a statement if you must. Someone should.

– Rachel