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.


The Best Part of Holiday Dinners is the Dressing

It’s that time of year where no matter where you are or what religion you do or do not observe, you will probably be participating in some sort of holiday dinner or celebration. If you are in the US, you’ve already had one this season.

Now, I’ll admit, my family is pretty casual when it comes to our holiday outfits, but it is always nice to dress up a little bit. Here are a few options for your holiday fest.

If you are a formal crew, or your mom makes you wear a jacket to family events, you can still mix it up. Different colors or patterns on your jacket make it a little more personal. You can switch out a tie for a pocket square, which keeps it formal, but not formal. Just make sure your shirt is crisp and everything is clean.

A Dressed Up Holiday

If you still want to look nice, but don’t want to go full suit, there are three basic go to’s: The Cardigan, The Blazer over a T-Shirt, and the Sweater.

A cardigan or blazer instantly dresses up a t-shirt, but are still comfortable. Also you probably already have one in your closet. A sweater is cozy and grown up and totally no fuss.

A Comfy Holiday

But, let’s be honest, there is one choice that stands above the rest. It walks the line of cozy and formal and it is hard to mess up.

What is this unicorn? It’s a button-down shirt under a sweater.

The Perfect Holiday

(Normally I crop pictures, but there was no way I was getting rid of those animal balloons)

If you don’t believe me, that this look is great for almost anyone, check out this testimonial:

Thoughts on Sweaters and shirts

Happy Holidays, whichever one you celebrate!

Sporty Chic

The weather’s getting warmer, which means I’ve seen a lot of basketball shorts. I get it, they are comfortable and keep you cool. However, they also look pretty lazy and immature. So let’s just agree up front to shelve the sport shorts unless you are a t home or actually exercising.

We have already posted about favorable alternatives for shorts, so I thought I’d take this in a bit of a different direction.

So, you are a sporty guy. You like being active and maybe support some teams. Here is how you can show that side of your personality without donning jerseys or logos.

Baseball Tees and Henleys

Baseball tees are a classic All-American look that reads young and active. They come in a wide range of color combinations and don’t need to be layered to look good.

Henleys have a similar vibe, although a little less casual. These are great go-to shirts that are manly, but also look polished. They tend to be dark or neutral colors in my experience.

Faux Letterman Jackets and Shorts

For colder weather, you could try a faux Letterman jacket, which, lucky for you, are very trendy right now. These are lighter weight and less logo-ed than your real jacket from high school. Similar styles can even be found in cardigans and variations on track jackets. Layer these with more sophisticated looks for a grown up version.

I’m also going to talk about the shorts in the picture above because they are basically the real man’s version of basketball shorts. These particular ones are from J. Crew. They are a lightweight cotton instead of fleece or some synthetic material (like most sweats and gym shorts are), which means they are still comfortable and cool without looking horrible. The nice slim fit looks polished, while the draw string keeps them casual.

Several of these looks come from Express and J. Crew’s current collections.

We are not asking you to ditch your comfort or your athletic look, we just would like you to step it up a notch.

The Secret Superhero Disguise

As you may have noticed, here at WAMSW we’ve inadvertently taken up the cause of reclaiming the nerd. All of the things that used to be the uniform for “nerds” is cool now, at least in our book (I may or may not have just binged on a bunch of VlogBrothers videos). Well here in this post we’ll talk about the quintessential nerd signifier, that is really one geek chic thing we really like: Guys in Glasses.

sophisticated geek chic

My dad tells a story about getting glasses when he was a kid, when the two options were Clark Kent and the librarian. He adamantly did not want to be Clark Kent and opted for contacts as soon as he could (which are a great option for either some or all the time). But here’s the thing: times have changed. There are now hundreds, if not thousands, of different glasses to pick from and yet my first choice is still the Clark Kent. Be Clark Kent. Or I guess for the purposes of this post, Peter Parker (because let’s be honest, not every incarnation of these characters dons eyewear, but they all should).

Personally I love big black frames. And they are all the rage right now, and have been for years. Sure they might be hipster glasses, but they aren’t ironic if you need them. Also tortoiseshell are an equally professorial, but less harsh option.

Now seeing as I myself do not wear glasses (I would like to, but I have been blessed with good eyes), I would probably tell you to just try on a bunch of pairs before making a decision, but maybe you want to narrow down the field. Here is a helpful face shape to glasses shape chart (it’s for sunglasses, but the same theory applies). If you need help figuring out your face shape they say you can trace it in a mirror with some mirror safe material. And I would always say to follow the advice on the “oval face” section: Frames should be at least as wide as your face at its widest point.

Glasses for your face shape

Decide how much you want/are willing to spend. Glasses can be expensive, like really expensive. My dad was admiring a friend’s glasses and realized “Of course they look good, they are Ray Bans”. And as much as I have a huge weakness for Ray Bans, they are not on the cheap end. When thinking about prices, also consider how you tend to treat your glasses. If they last you forever and have a classic look, you can probably splurge a little more. If you’re the type who always accidentally falls asleep in them, you might want to save some of the cash for the fixes and replacements.

If you are concerned about styles like the Peter Parker/Clark Kent/general undercover superhero styles looking out of date, I have one piece of advice: make sure it doesn’t look like you just haven’t purchased new glasses in twenty years. This is way easier for young guys to get away with because that just isn’t an option. I mean Peter’s glasses in the Amazing Spider-man are literally his dad’s, but they look trendy on him. (Who am I kidding, they looked great on his dad too, those babies are classic). If the pair have some new or trendy element, they won’t look out-dated, even if they retain a vintage charm. But seriously, just try them on.

We love us some glasses

For Auld Lang Syne

As we come into 2013 and look back on 2012, we at What a Man Should Wear could do a “year in review”, a man of the year, a top (insert number here), or even resolutions for next year. Unfortunately for you, we are not that organized or decisive. So instead we are going to highlight some of our favorite moments of the year in men’s fashion (more or less), at least partially based on what you guys responded to.

One of my (Amy’s) favorite things of the year was the increasing attention paid to Mr. Eddie Redmayne. The hipster in me has to point out that I have loved him since his Pillars of the Earth days, but he is so deserving of the attention he is getting thanks to Les Miserables (I mean, let’s admit it, his cheekbones alone deserve that kind of attention). But beauty and talent aside, the man knows how to dress. And I am totally in favor of the French revolutionary look.

Mr. Eddie Redmayne

Another of your favorites was our post on Clapton Davis from the indie horror-comedy Detention. I thought this would be one of our least read posts, but you guys came out of the woodworks in love for his quirky look-at-me style (or at least the movie). And honestly I like Josh Huthcherson more everytime I see him.

Ezra Miller. So I might be a little behind on hearing about this kid, but he is wonderful and expect an Individual Style Spotlight (a la Matthew Gray Gubler) in the future.

Ezra as matador

Also loved? The reclamation of short pants and suspenders from Urkel (particularlly by Nate Ruess of The Format and fun. fame). Also, realizing that no one in England knows who Urkel is.

Never thought I'd see this comparison

Andrew Garfiled’s many magazine cover and red carpet looks. It never fails to impress when a man looks totally at ease in anything he wears.

Seeing all of the colored (or as they would say “coloured”) pants on men in London. Walking through Hyde Park in September meant a runway show of men donning rich colors and cozy sweaters and stylish shoes. The colors were worn so fearlessly that they looked like a very stylish part of the lanscape.

Someone we’ve only mentioned in passing, but you should totally look into is Burberry’s current man, musician Roo Panes. He pulls off the stately and classic pieces well. Also his voice is totally swoon worthy.

Roo for Burberry

I also completely love this picture of Logan Lerman. And his breath-taking performance in The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

I think I just wanted an excuse to put this picture up

My (Rachel’s) favorites list isn’t as long, or as detailed. Sorry. But I have to concur with Amy on quite a few of her favorites, including Andrew Garfield, Eddie Redmayne and individual style in general (I’m not cool enough to know who Ezra Miller is, but I’m sure I’ll find out soon enough). To add to that list I would have to include my own love of textures, simplicity, and the overall ruggedness that I feel one side of hipster is delving into.



We’re looking forward to seeing what 2013 has to add to men’s style and the icons who carry them. This should be fun.

Happy New Year!

-Amy and Rachel

Spotlight: Andrew Garfield

Andrew Garfield is so hot right now. His acting career and his own public recognition have exploded over the last few years, whether painted gold (The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus), a victim of cloning (Never Let Me Go), or most recently as Peter Parker/Spiderman. And while it is totally obvious that he is adorable, especially with real-life leading lady Emma Stone, he also has the perfect body. When we talk about the ideal shape on this blog, at least I, mean one like his. This became increasingly clear to me while watching him in a skin tight Spidey-suit. Andrew is slender, but can still wrap his arms around Emma and make her look small (although she is tiny anyway). Strong and slender equals a man that can wear anything he wants.

Most commonly we see Mr. Garfield in an assortment of slim suits on the red carpet. While the cut is almost always the same–he knows what works for him–he has been seen in every hue of the rainbow. Or at least the darker versions of those colors, from maroon to bright blue, and classic blacks and greys. He isn’t afraid to risk it on color, which is far more do-able when you know the fit works. He also works his formal neck-wear. He wears classic tux bow-ties, skinny ties, and the more relaxed open collar look. These simple changes allow him to stay classy and look stunning, while not stealing focus. Understated. The average man, who does not have an endless selection of designer suits at his fingertips, can still use Andrew’s subtle variation to make a few items into so many more outfits.

While Andrew Garfield rocks the suits and tuxes often, he also seems to rock every other classic trend in men’s fashion. The slim-fit cardigan, the perfectly fitting t-shirt, the black leather jacket. Once again he can pull off looks because of his shape, but also because the clothes fit him–physically and personality-wise. If you are a cardigan guy, work it. If you are most comfortable in tees, look for slim fitting, classic, simple looks. Make it work for you. Also take note of the thick rimmed glasses, on trend and working.

Just as much as his clothes show off his classic sensibility, his hair also fits his personality and look, no matter the length. Shaggy or sticking straight up, his hair always looks effortlessly perfect. Also worth emulating (if you’re this good), is that adorable, awkward smile featured in The Amazing Spiderman.

And while Andrew Garfield may have missed out on a well-deserved Supporting Actor nomination for the Social Network, he has never been caught on a worst dressed list. And if his acting trend continues, he certainly has more blockbusters and Oscar worthy roles ahead of him.