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.

Advertisements

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

Fine Art

In order to make up for my long absence, and also because this is where my mind went, today’s post will be both long and a bit academically involved.

The history of art is marked by distinct styles, not unlike fashion, that take almost total control for awhile before being discarded in favor of the next trend. But the thing is, these periods of art live on, not only in our museums, but in the clothes we wear. Here are five distinct ones:

Gothic – High and Late Medieval Period

Gothic art and architecture is marked by intricate, layered designs, using flying buttresses and pointed arches to support high stone walls and ceilings. Gothic buildings often feel heavy, dark, and a little dangerous. The clothing counterpart is highly structural, layered, and voluminous (not the baggy pants and trench coats that sat in the hallways of your high school).

Wear: Long Wool Coats, Tailored Pants, Pointed Leather Shoes, Leather Driving Gloves

Gothic Period

Rococo – Late Baroque – 18th Century

Rococo took all the grandeur and glitz of the Baroque period and made it more playful. Using lighter colors, asymmetric designs, and fluid curves, Rococo was just as ornate as Baroque, just lighter. The clothing counterparts are light-weight, airy, pastel, and patterned.

Wear: Open Linen Shirts, Pastel Paisley, Gold

Rococo

Impressionism – 19th Century

Impressionism is one of those self-explanatory names, it is art that gives an impression. Rather than painting images with clear details, the Impressionists used pointillism or distinct  brush strokes to capture the essence of a design or image. The clothing counterparts are small prints, complimentary colors, layered patterns.

Wear: Patterned Jackets, Patterned Shirts and Ties, Blues and Purples

Impressionism

Folk Art – Varied

Folk art is, by some definitions, the opposite of “Fine Art”, but work with me on this one. Folk art is art from humble origins, often untrained, and completely based on the culture of the place of its origins. The clothing counterpart is cozy, chunky knits, and casual.

Wear: “Tribal” Prints, Shawl Collars, Sweaters with Jeans

Folk Art

Pop Art – 1950s

Pop Art challenges old artistic traditions by using pop culture and mass media images to create art. It is easily distinguished by the use of bright and neon colors, geometric shapes, and repetition. The clothing counterpart is bright, bold patterns, and sleek lines.

Wear: Bright Colors with Patterns, Converse All-Stars, Slim Silhouettes

Pop Art

Are there any other art movements you’d like to see as clothes?

Books, Covers, and Judgment: A Defense of Some Superficiality

Although this blog is dedicated to menswear, this post is directed to anyone and everyone.

“Don’t judge a book by its cover” is a common idiom in English, which basically means to not judge someone or something by its appearance alone. While this is a nice idea, it is realistically flawed. Our final opinion of someone/thing should not, and will not, be ultimately superficial – humans are complex creatures and our opinions alter with every imperceptible stimuli – but our first opinion is necessarily superficial.

You cannot truly know the contents of a book unless you have read it. When you pick it up for the first time, you do so because a friend or review told you it was good, because the blurb on the dust jacket was intriguing, or because the cover caught your eye. 

We are no different. We should not be consumed by appearances, but we should also give ourselves the best chance possible. This is why we tend to put more time into getting ready before job interviews and dates. Why shouldn’t this carry over into the majority of our public lives? Putting in this effort makes us more confident, so why wouldn’t we do it all the time?

This applies to everyone, not just girls

This applies to everyone, not just girls

We should not become a Narcissus, but wasn’t part of his problem the fact that he did not understand how the world perceived him?

Never let anyone shame you for taking pride in how you look. Do not feel bad for taking extra time or money to make yourself feel more confident. Never let anyone shame you for your body shape. And never let anyone shame you for wanting to change your body shape. As long as you are acting in a mentally and physically healthy way, you are allowed to have opinions about your own looks. Just do it for you.

You can choose to not care about your appearance (although I doubt anyone is ever totally free of this concern, whether they realize it or not), but you are lying to yourself if you don’t admit that appearances count for something. Last year my dad and I heard a stat on a British news program that stated 60% of people judge others based on their looks. My father immediately said that only 60% were willing to admit it. We all do it, right or wrong.

Most importantly, we judge ourselves. Watch any episode of What Not to Wear. The people who belligerently state that they don’t care about fashion or how they look are infinitely more confident after learning how to properly dress their bodies. It isn’t superficial to take time for and pride in yourself.

Don’t believe me? Check out this great video from John Green.

Now go forth and conquer with your dazzling self-confidence!

LinkFest: Passing Things We Love on to You

We don’t do this often (because we want you to stay here, not go gallivanting around the web), but there is a lot of great stuff out there and we thought we’d share some of our favorites.

Buy some: Happy Socks comes on recommendation from author John Green. He can be seen wearing some green argyle gems on his interview with Stephen Colbert. The Swedish company provides a range of bright and colorful socks, which are on trend and just happy.

Happy Socks

Read up on: Esquire provides some info on avoid party fouls and make friends when partying with non-drinkers.

Get inspired by: Scruffy Men in Suits.  Aspire to be worthy of a feature on this Tumblr.

Check out: OneRepublic. I know you’ve probably heard of them, but I just saw them in concert and they are even better live. These men are crazy talented multi-instrumentalists and vocalists.

Fury

Get psyched for: Fury. I am so there for this movie. This looks to be an emotionally raw and realistic war movie full of impressive acting. Also the red carpet promises to be a fine display of menswear. Just don’t pull a Shia LaBeouf and wear a paper bag in public.

Keep an eye out for: World Cup haircuts. While you’re watching the world’s favorite sport, take in some cutting edge and interesting hair styles.

Every man should know etiquette, music, film, books, current events, sports, etc. because what is better than a well-rounded man.