Keep it or Cut it

Okay, so this post has been a long time in the making for many reasons. First of all, my feelings have become more and more complicated on the matter. It’s a big topic and I want to treat it fairly. Also, and perhaps weighing most heavily on my mind, is how to address Kit French and Eoin Macken on this blog (Let’s put this out there now, there will be more posts on both of them, also Ezra Miller). So now I am ripping off the bandage, WAMSW is tackling long men’s hair in three parts with the help of actor Ezra Miller, musician Kit French, and actor/model/director Eoin Macken.

Let’s start with Ezra because to me at least, his case is the simplest. If anyone is king of personal style and owning life and self it is Ezra Miller (you might recognize him from Perks of Being a Wallflower, We Need to Talk About Kevin, or just being “a young, bizarrely awesome technicolor dream of weirdness”). First off, I would never try an dim Ezra’s personal flair because that is who he is, but he looks better with shorter hair. Just putting that out there. When it is shorter he can pull off the crazy dishevelment without looking dirty or homeless. It is still as fun as he is and keeps him looking young.Exhibit A: Ezra Miller

What you should take from Ezra: There are more options than long or buzz cut. Find a length in between that shows your personality without misrepresenting you.

Next up is the man who made me question my dedication the anti-ponytail tribe, Kit French. But stay tuned, the issue is, as I said, complicated. Kit French provides saxaphone, keyboards, and backing vocals in the band Parachute (featured in Double Denim). And I’d be lying if I said he didn’t catch my eye right away and my complicated relationship with his hair derives mainly from the fact that it wasn’t always long. When I first encountered the band back in 2009, namely their “She is Love” video, he was fresh out of college with dreamy elegantly disheveled hair, cue weak knees. But then his hair kept growing and he did nothing to stop it. Although he has the facial structure that will always be good looking, the long hair distracts from his naturally strong features, which ironically is why ponytails work on him. I am ashamed to admit, but that man can rock pulled back hair.

Exhibit B: Kit FrenchWhat you should take from Kit: Okay so you have strong enough features to not look terrible in a ponytial, that doens’t mean you should wear one. Kit’s enviable bone structure was highlighted by his shorter hair. Like Ezra’s, it was still shaggy and looked rock and roll, plus it is way lower maintenance. Demetri Martin puts it best:

from Demetri Martin's "Person."

And now, for the master class on hair. Not just long hair. Not just men’s hair. ALL hair. Eoin Macken is the god of hair. Literally there are sites devoted to his hair, in fact I was going to devote an entire post jsut to his lustrous locks as well before I decided you would benefit best from a comparitve study. What, you’ve never heard of him? Well he was Gwaine on BBC’s Merlin and has a new pilot of US tv coming up this fall. It is best if we all keep in mind that Eoin has some natural gifts that mere mortals just cannot achieve, but let’s break down what he does best hair-wise:

1) It is neither straight, nor limp. He’s obviously got a little curl that comes out when his hair is longer, which is lucky genes, but he helps it by having layers. This is a real style; he hasn’t just forgotten to get a hair cut. The different lengths of hair give it body, movement, and play up the natural curl.

2) He washes it. Please, I don’t care how long or short your hair is, make it clean. His only looks greasy after a week in a dungeon having to literally fight for food to keep himself and two other men alive, what’s your excuse?

3) Ponytails are only allowed when safety is an issue. Like Kit, he has the face that can pull it off. It doesn’t mean he should.

4) During the off-season he cuts it a little shorter, but similar principles apply. It has texture, purposeful disshevelment, and even at its shortest, different lengths.

Exhibit C: Eoin Macken

Seeing as Eoin is an actor and a model, I’m sure there has been product in his hair for work, but here’s what he has to say:

“I don’t use hair products. It’s probably something in the Irish water. And bread. I eat a lot of bread. And chocolate and coffee. Probably apples too. Yes, bread, chocolate and apples. That’s it.”

Did I mention he is Irish? And has a sense of humor about all this hair business:

Eoin Macken hairWhat you should take from Eoin: Unless the hair gods have personally blest you, keep it shorter. If you are going to have longer hair, or not, keep it interesting with layers. And don’t take your beauty too seriously.

What you should take from this post: It’s long, so is your hair. I didn’t cut this short, you can avoid making the same mistake. As someone who was a life-long long hair haver who sort of recently cut off a bunch, it can be freeing. Also, long hair isn’t always bad. These men proved me wrong, you’re welcome to try as well. But keep it in check, out of the creeper style, and never a mullet.

Double Denim and the Canadian Tuxedo

Last year I attended a “guilty pleasures” themed birthday party with a couple of my friends. Most people, myself included, went as characters from TV shows or musicians, but one of my friends went as denim on denim. Double denim is one of my guilty pleasures too, although getting less guilty day by day.

But only when it is done right.

As I mentioned previously, please make sure that your two denims are different shades! When you search denim on denim or like phrases the main result is still Justin Timberlake’s atrocious suit from the 90s. And believe me you do not want to copy that look, regardless of whether you think JT brought sexy back or not. I would lean toward a darker wash for jeans and a lighter one for a jacket or chambray shirt. Another way to help break up this look is with a different colored t-shirt underneath. Now, roll up your sleeves. (The jury is still out on denim shorts…)

Light and dark denimNow on to the much more controversial Canadian Tuxedo. I have no idea if Canadians embrace this or not… Here to help me explain is Will Anderson from the band Parachute (these guys excel in double denim):

Will explains the Canadian Tuxedo(Sorry for the poor picture quality, but I couldn’t find the video.) Now, like I said, Parachute in general dress very well, but they also enjoy taking the mick out of fashion (see above and below). While each denim article is a different shade, it is just too much, even for a rock star. And that’s the ruling on the Canadian tuxedo; it’s just too much and can veer quickly into this territory:

Let's say noHere Bret and Jemaine of Flight of the Concords demonstrate the failings of the Canadian tuxedo and some other denim no-nos in this wonderful 80s-esque photo. Skip all acid washes and overly pale (white) denim (unless you are dedicated enough to try full on white jeans….). Jemaine’s top and pants are also just too similar in color. Similarly Will and Nate of Parachute point out to us that tucking in such a casual look should be done sparingly. And bolo ties are pretty much a solid NO from this judge.

Chambray shirts are a trend that I am fully behind right now. They have moved away from cowboy or backwoods and provide a more casual alternative to a regular button-up. So go forth, with a little thought. P.S. this is also a great way to balance out colored jeans.

Gingham Style

Yeah, I just groaned at that title too.

gingham

But honestly, I am a fan of gingham. The latest insurgence of these checkered shirts have brought new life to the button-up. I’d venture to say that a large section of the employed, male population has to spend a majority of their week in some sort of button-up shirt. We talked last time about mixing up this routine with layers, but here is another easy divergence from your striped blue and white (am I right?).

So, I've noticed that you guys like Eddie...

I believe that this pattern first caught my eye on Jesse Spencer on an episode of House (always a good example of well-fitting clothes). The pattern and skinny tie were perfect for his young, successful character, and the bright blue really made his eyes stand out. From that point on I was sold on the style. It is a great way to wear a bright color without overwhelming yourself and usually looks nothing like a picnic blanket. In fact this style, to me, screams spring and summer because it pairs so naturally with these colors.

The pattern also comes in a range of sizes that also allow you to be as subtle as you want. When the pattern is tight and small it just makes your shirt look like it has a little extra texture. More medium-sized checks are the trendiest. (I would suggest avoiding the really big ones, to avoid that picnic blanket thing).

Really my only other advice for this look are the rules that we’ve set down for you time and time again: fit, fit, fit. And confidence. This is an easy look to pull off at any age or size or event. So go forth and bring spring with your shirt.

ginghamAuthors’ note: We apologize if in this next month or two, we don’t post as often as we usually do. With both of us in school and finals rapidly approaching, it can be difficult to keep up with WAMSW, but you can bet we will try our best. Also we apologize that you’ve been hearing from Amy so much…   -Amy and Rachel

In like a lion

In theory as March comes and goes the weather should be getting warmer, it should start to be a question whether or not we need a coat before stepping out of the house, let’s assume for a moment that this is fact, not just theory. So as wool coats become too much, but we are still far from the rolled-up sleeves and man-tanks of summer, we need to find a nice middle ground that can account for all the weather craziness that spring can throw at you (Trust me, I grew up in Idaho, I’ve seen it all). The simple answer is layers; put a sweater with it.

Layer up!

Not only does this method keep you warmer on your commute, but it adds nearly infinite outfit possibilities to your closet. That shirt and tie combo you’ve worn to work a hundred times before looks completely different with a sweater under or instead of a jacket. If you are still wearing a jacket/blazer, keep the sweater thin enough that it lies smooth, especially in the sleeves. This combo also classes up a pair of nice jeans very well (although maybe not work appropriate, you know what your office expects).

The opposite also works. Feeling a bit too stuffy in your blazer? A plain, preferably neutral hoodie underneath can make an outfit more relaxed and youthful. Word for the wise though, the hoodie should not be the focal point here;we are still trying to showcase the blazer, that’s why the hoodie isn’t on top. Also that would probably look pretty awkward.

Light jackets are also a good option for the thermally disadvantaged. Like the leather jackets we talked about in the fall, most of your medium weight jackets will carry over between these liminal seasons. Things like trenches can be a little more intimidating, but can reap big rewards if done right. And even windbreakers can be okay especially in rainy areas, as long as it isn’t shiny work-out material (basically the less it looks like a windbreaker the better). Jean jackets are another grey-area trend that has made a comeback lately. Honestly, I’ve really liked some examples of these I’ve seen and they do add warmth. The key to a jean jacket is to make sure it doesn’t look like a hold-over from the 80s or 90s, no acid washes or ridiculous fading. I will address the issue of denim on denim in another post, but I’ll throw out this tip now: if you are going to wear your jean jacket with jeans, please (PLEASE) make sure they are distinctly different shades and washes. We do not want a denim suit.

Yay Sweaters!

Basically layering is the easiest way to experiment with your wardrobe. Vests (waistcoats) can look great over a button-up and the look is toned down under a cardigan or jacket. Layers also make it possible for you to adjust to the fickle weather. And if you need any more convincing, watch Steve Carell’s makeover from Crazy Stupid Love and listen to the wisdom that is Ryan Gosling as he transforms through layers (and some other good advice).