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!

Denim Jackets

I’ll be the first to admit that it took me awhile to get back on the denim jacket train after the early 2000s, but here I am. But let’s be real, they have gotten a lot classier.

We’ve already talked about double denim, and those rules still stand, so here I’ll talk about the jacket as a single item, rather than as part of an outfit.

As always, fit is key. Denim jackets have obvious seams, which are the perfect fit guides. The shoulder seams should sit exactly on the top of your shoulder. (see Matthew Lewis below)

denim jackets

It should fit smooth across the shoulders and with a little wiggle room in the waist.

When it comes to color you actually have a broader array of acceptable colors than you do with trousers. You should keep your pants dark, but your jacket can be a nice medium shade.  Even light jackets can be alright if they have a vintagey feel, but it is a little hipstery, so if that isn’t your scene, just beware.

not your 90s jean jacket

Lighter jackets should look lived in. And no matter what, avoid the acid wash.

Denim jackets can be really stiff, so make sure you find a comfortable one or prepare yourself to break it in for awhile. Denim jackets are casual, but go with almost anything.

All buttoned up Or…

So I kind of touched on this in my last post, but I’ve noticed two competing trends in menswear: The buttoned all the way up and the letting some chest show. Now obviously you are all buttoned up when you are wearing a tie, so this is for more casual, non-tie days. I honestly don’t have a preference between the two, they are just different looks, but I’ll try and offer some tips on how to do both properly.

I first saw the top-button-done look during my time in England, so I still associate them, and while it is steadily working its way across the Atlantic it is still a look that reads a British aesthetic.

This look take commitment because if done with the wrong shirt it  could look like you just forgot your tie. For that reason I suggest more casual shirts, be they chambray or short-sleeved. Also I would say it is easier to pull-off when the shirt is tucked in, but that doesn’t mean un-tucked is totally out of the question.

All buttoned up is definitely complemented best by skinny or slim cut jeans to keep the correct proportions. In general men want to have a V shape; the top-button-done narrows the top, so you want to balance it with a narrow bottom.

all buttoned up

Now for the opposite side of the spectrum. Another thing that’s making a comeback? Chest hair. Believe me, I never thought I’d say those words. However, we are not talking Pierce Brosnan in Die Another Day, but something more manly and less caveman-y.

Like I mentioned in the Tom Mison Spotlight, you just want a glimpse of the chest, not a full-frontal accost. We are talking the top three or so buttons undone (top two is pretty standard and top four could be too much).

This is a sexy and confident look that draws attention up to the face. It also elongates your torso a bit and makes your shoulders seem wider. All pluses, but it can veer into disco or pirate, so be tasteful. Wear with slim fit pants, but not skin-tight.

Three undoneI’m also going to include wide-necked shirts in this latter category because what we are really after here is collar-bones. For some reason showing off the clavicle is super sexy on a man or woman. The same open neck effect of the slightly un-buttoned can be achieved with a V-neck, boat neck, or other wide necked t-shirts and sweaters. Henleys are good for this.

the wide neck route(Hello Tom Mison’s eyebrows)

A great neck for Joel McHale

 

Tattoos are Forever

First of all, watch this.

He pretty much says it all.

Here at WAMSW, we aren’t huge fans of tattoos. But they are a part of our culture and mean a lot to some people. And they can be kind of sexy. Listen to Brooks, think your tattoos through. Think about placement, meaning, fads, number, etc.

The tricky thing about meaning in tattoos is that what’s important to you changes. You are pretty much always safe with your child’s name because you will always love them, but their face might be a little weird. People hesitate about spouse’s or significant other’s names, but my thought is: if your are dedicated enough to ink something on your flesh forever, you should be that committed to your spouse. So nothing too early in relationships. Jon McLaughlin has his wife’s name in simple cursive on his forearm and it is particularly sweet. (And I’m not just saying this because her name is my name). There are other meaningful moments, like the entire Fellowship from the Lord of the Rings movies getting the elvish word for “nine” because that was a significant part of their lives and important friendships. Matthew Lewis got roman numerals XI on his arm because the number resonated with several important events in his life. Also because roman numerals are pretty classy looking.

Tattoos with meaning

 

I remember hearing about one girl who would have a copy of a design she was considering in several places around her house–on bathroom mirrors, places she saw often, etc. If she got tired of the design before a year was up, she wouldn’t get it. This seems genius. It doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t eventually ware on you, but you’ve proven to yourself that you really like this design.

Another key thing to consider is professionalism, or how the tattoo will affect how you are perceived because it will happen. No matter how much we rail against the system saying we shouldn’t judge based on appearances, we do. We all do.

So here I turn to the example of Adam Levine. Everyone loves Adam Levine; he’s equal parts charming, bad boy, talented, and funny. And he has a number of tattoos. He often shows them off in plain t-shirts, but if you find a picture of him in a suit, you can’t see a single bit of ink. All of his tattoos can be covered with clothing if the occasion requires.

Now personally I wouldn’t want to be restricted to long sleeves, if I ended up regretting a tattoo, but it does provide a nice safety blanket. So choose wisely.

Tattoos

 

Puberty: a PSA

We’ve been pretty busy lately, here at WAMSW, because of the impending school year, so here is a quick, lighthearted post to tide you over.

There has always been a lively discussion about child stars and how they grow up; some of these are so distinct that their names become inextricably tied to what they’ve done. But rather than all the negative examples that first come to mind, we here at WAMSW like to focus on the positive: Neville Longbottoming. Stephen Colbert puts it best:

Stephen Colbert and a Message of Hope

Matthew Lewis stared in all eight Harry Potter movies as the loveable, hopeless Neville Longbottom, but when I first saw pictures from the last premier I did not recognize him. I honestly had to look up which character he played. And believe me, I pride myself on knowing both actors and Harry Potter. Turns out I wasn’t alone in this confusion, J.K. herself was baffled by his transformation:

J.K. Rowling on Matthew LewisIt has been partially explained that, starting around the fourth movie, Lewis wore a fat suit, false teeth, too big shoes, and even devices to make his ears stick out. Also can we just say that his wool hat, leather jacket, stubble combo sounds wonderful. In general, all of the post-Potter photos of Lewis, show him dressed well in cardigans and henleys that make him look like a cool, grown man. That, my friends, is how you shed the image of a dorky child star.

His change has had such a huge effect that the internet has turned his character name into a verb, often applied to this photo of Hiccup from the cartoon How to Train Your Dragon and the upcoming sequel. “We’ve been Neville Longbottomed by a cartoon!”

Hiccup from How to Train Your DragonIt’s amazing what a little messier hair and switching from fur vests to leather armor can do for a man.

Now I’m sure many of you are thinking that that is all well and great, but you’re past puberty and maybe didn’t have such a revolutionary transformation. To you I say: all hope is not lost. I have one more story:

This is Daniel Sharman

17 year old DanielThis picture from the show “Judge John Deed”, shows Daniel at 17. Yes, that’s right 17, an age when most boys are nearing the end of puberty. He looks about 12 (aided in part by the fact that his suit is about three sizes too big).

Here’s Daniel again, this time at 27:

27 year old DanielA noticeable difference if I do say so myself.

Ironically, he now plays a 17 year old on Teen Wolf.

Besides growing into his tall frame and extremely angular face, he has also figured out how to style himself. By growing his hair a little longer, so that the curl is evident without overwhelming him, he balances his strong face and achieves an effortless dishevelment. He is also more age appropriately dressed in fitted shirts, slim trousers, and classic accessories (like that leather watch).

Simply put, there is always hope. Not all of us will be blessed with a Neville-like transformation, but you can help yourself by figuring out what styles of clothes and hair suit you best.