March 10, 2007

For some crazy reason, fashion designers want guys to...

... dress like Pee Wee Herman.

And there seems to be some fashion designer rule that a man's body must be called his "physique."


MD said...

Slim is in, pants-wise, for the gals, too. Thank goodness the super low-rise flared look paired with baby tee, square-tipped nails and pale lips is soooo 2002.

*I hear the inspiration for some of the skinny suits is early sixties/Camelot/all those boy bands. Like the super skinny suits my Dad wore in India, back in the day, when he listened to the Beatles! We gave the suits away years ago, can you imagine?

**I love the current look for women's fashions, at least, the way they are translated into street fashion, here in Boston. The students look oddly adult - bubbly, puffy black winter coats and all. I see: the Audrey Hepburn black glasses, impossibly tight jeans, flats, and boots in the most glorious shapes and sizes, paired with everything, but especially skirts and cropped pants. And the nails are dark and the eyebrows are striking and the makeup is otherwise minimal. Red lips, sometimes.

***I realize this type of writing must seriously distress the lawyers and other language types who frequent this blog, but I'm a physician, and therefore, barely literate. Can scribble a heck of a string of acronyms, though...

Ann Althouse said...

People who don't care about fashion won't come in here. So say what you want!

Joseph said...

What always cracks me up about these kinds of fashion articles is the caption under the photo:

Gucci suit, $2,330, and dress shirt, $495; Prada lace-ups, $520; Ralph Lauren tie, $115.

Makes me feel like I'm the cheapest SOB on earth or someone is playing a practical joke.

Ann Althouse said...

The shoes are probably worth the price. I've often paid $250 for shoes, and these big, solid man's shoes. It's important to get good shoes.

But that skimpy suit! I'd worry that other people wouldn't get it and would think you were wearing your little brother's suit by mistake.

The shirt price is the most ridiculous part.

Mortimer Brezny said...

Why are you hating on thin guys, Ann?

Bissage said...

That’s a fine looking photo of a fine looking young man in a fine looking suit. If my daughter were to bring him home, well, my first impression would be: “There stands a fine looking young man in a fine looking suit.”

And then I’d force him to spend some time looking at my daughter’s baby pictures and when that takes so long that they miss their movie, I’d make the two of them stay at home and watch “A Hard Day’s Night” on DVD.

Mrs. Bissage would make sandwiches and take my daughter’s side against me.

And that fine looking young man’s every reaction would be carefully scrutinized.

And we’d see how it goes.

Ron said...

Fashion designers think American men want to look like Cowboy Curtis, and American men think fashion designers want us to look like Miss Yvonne!
Thus Pee Wee is the middle ground.

Internationalists prefer we look like Globy and slackers prefer we look like Chairy, of course...

dick said...

They are playing a practical joke. Think back to the 60's and remember all the middle aged people who tried to be fashionable. Remember the first afros and the Nehru jackets and the women with varicose veins who wore the skirts that were 8 inches above the knees. Next thing we will be getting the bell bottoms back.

When you think that all these suits will be out of style next year and you would not be seen dead in them after paying all that money to look ridiculous, then it is fashion designers playing a very expensive joke on us.

Palladian said...

"People who don't care about fashion won't come in here. So say what you want!"

I don't care about fashion and I come here. I care about beauty and utility, not fashion. Fashion is a social game so it's of no interest to me.

Advice. Avoid anything that looks in any way self-consciously "odd". Buy high-quality clothes that fit well and modestly and that are comfortable (but don't get too carried away with the idea of comfort that you wear lounge clothes in public). Don't pay more for an item of clothing than the quality of the work suggests it's worth. Avoid any clothier who issues arty photographic publicity material. Your clothing should reflect your taste, your dignity, your aspirations and be as flattering to your particular physiognomy as possible without being ostentatious or vulgar. It should also suit the occasion and nature of the activities to which it's worn. Work clothes should be functional and well-made. Evening clothes should never be more interesting than your conversation.

Bruce Kratofil said...

There's short-term fashion and there's long-term fashion.

I go for long-term - if it wasn't in fashion five years ago, or won't be in fashion in five years, then I don't buy it.

CB said...

Shorter Palladian:

Buy all of your clothes at JCrew or Banana Republic. Works for me.

Oligonicella said...

If you want good shoes, get Florshiems. Ten years, two resoles and still excellent. Oh, $100.

If you've purchased a suit you can't raise your arm in without it trying to climb up your back or your leg climbs half way up your calf when you put your foot on a stool, you've been had. It's not a good suit.

Bissage said...

There's not yet been a reason to shorten Palladian.

Just saying.

Bissage said...

And if we’re allowed to clutter Althouse CafĂ© with shameless commerce, then I say buy American and buy Wisconsin.

Doug said...

I don't know much about fashion, but it seems like I have seen better fitting suits on ventriloquists dummies.

Like Dick mentioned, these things will probably be out of fashion pretty quickly, I suppose being a hipster is pretty expensive

Nadine said...

I am actually digging that look. If only there were more men in their 30s that could pull it off! Ooh, I can think of one guy at work that really needs to get one of these, just to brighten my day.

I hope men do start getting some better looking suits. Maybe I am somewhat superficial, but I think clothes can (and should) be used to reflect personality and style. Men too often take the easy way out by getting a boring gray suit.

How are women supposed to know who the interesting lawyers are?!

Hey said...

Some of these slim fits aren't for men with athletic builds. Heidi Slimane's Dior suits being one of them.

A trimmer cut that highlights the inverted triangle is good. The boxy type of suit from Brooks' is flattering to those who've let themselves go but not to fit young people. Italian is a good way to go, but you should really just go bespoke.

Once you're paying more than $250 for a shirt you should be getting them custom made by a Jermyn street tailor or equivalent. The premium for names like Dior and Gucci goes into advertising rather than qualty cloths and construction. $2k is about the limit for a suit before you should be going bespoke.

Bespoke you'll have a personal relationship with an expert craftsman who can suggest the best choices for you and can personalise the merchandise to suit your lifestyle. Much better than a transactional relationship with a questionably educated commission focused salesman.

For more, see : a great blogger who I haven't bought anything from and don't know personally.

dick said...

Just think how much better the suit has to be made to look good when it is cut that close to the body. All you need is a bad seam and you will be out of luck - also out of cloth as well. If it isn't cut right you will end up like the comment above where when you lift your arm you suit sleeve goes up to your elbow and when you lift you leg to climb onto a stool the leg show up to the knee. That means if you want to wear this crap and have it look good you have to pay big bucks and then next year pay big bucks to replace it. Since it will be years before it comes back in style if ever, then you will donate it to the SA and take a tax deduction ( you do, like some politicians, take a tax deduction for donations, don't you).

AmPowerBlog said...

I kind of cringed when I read the article, especially the conclusion about losing a couple of pounds to accomodate the slim style! Noteworthy here is that even Brooks Brothers -- that bastion of American conservative men's dress -- has gotten into the act. Commenter Bruce raises the point of fashion continuity -- five years is a pretty good barometer of fashion longevity. These skinny suits are well outside the traditional styling of the early-2000s, and I doubt this trend lasts until the mid-2010s. I dress in a suit and tie, with cap-toe lace-ups, on my main lecture days. I've been meaning to get a new navy suit, but put that thought on hold after reading this piece. It might be blazers and slacks for a while until I see how this trends plays out. Besides, Windsor knots have apparently made a comeback, which is another reason to hold off on updating my wardrobe.

Burkean Reflections

dick said...

something just struck me funny. Picture the presidential candidates of this or previous elections in these suits. Picture John Kerry or Michael Dukakis or Teddy Kennedy in these suits or Newt Gingrich or Henry Waxman. The mind boggles.

Balfegor said...

I kind of cringed when I read the article, especially the conclusion about losing a couple of pounds to accomodate the slim style!

Unless you're grotesquely overweight, or you want to squeeze into one of the most fashionable of the fashionable suits, it's probably not necessary to lose much weight. Hickey Freeman's slimmer fits are still reasonably generous around the waist, maybe a drop from 44 to 37, rather than the usual 44 to 38, but that's all. Off the rack sizing is realistic -- they know most Americans are not skinny like the models they use in photo shoots.

But hey, what do I know? My preferred all-purpose suit is a bog-standard Southwick in charcoal.

Noteworthy here is that even Brooks Brothers -- that bastion of American conservative men's dress -- has gotten into the act.


Well, I'll stay with the middling lapels and the boxy shape and the trousers up at the waist (with braces!) myself. Should get some vested suits, in fact, to show off my pocket watch! And spats. Minimal shoulder padding is a must, though -- I hate the feel of all that padding riding on my shoulders.

Titus said...

I actually like the clothes in this story.

I work in a "sem-formal" environment and it is common to see many men wearing these type of clothes.

The clothes are a little pricey. I did read a story though that remarked some wardrobe items are "staples" and as a result we may need to spend on them. Of course, I responded by buying those "staples".

I believe shoes are incredibly important as well as a nice watch and great glasses.

A pair of Prada slip ons last forever and look great with a suit or with dress pants. I also receive countless compliments on them-so of course I feel some sort of sad affirmation.

PM said...

What I want to know is how that guy got his big feet through those tiny skinny pant legs.

Have any of you guys out there tried this getup on? Can you move around at all? I'd like to see that guy try drawing on a white board without his whole jacket going up over his face or ripping the arm seams.

Gordon Freece said...

Yeah, that kid in the picture singing show tunes with the jazz hands, that's just what wearing a suit is all about. Right.

It'll be nice to see the end of that three-button foolishness. But this is all lunacy, stark howling lunacy. If suits have anything to do with fashion, they're not suits any more.

Wade Garrett said...

These all look like suits from the "clothes no self-respecting man would wear but we're going to show you photos of anyway because we're hanging on to the pretense that we're still a fashion magazine" section of either Esquire or GQ.

Joan said...

As daunting as the new silhouette may be to middle of the roaders, most men will want to upgrade their softwear or risk being left behind.

I laughed when I read that line. Most men? Here in Phoenix, no one wears suits, with the possible exception of funeral directors.

I'm in the "he looks like he's wearing his little brother's suit" camp. The too-short pants are the absolute kiss of death.

LoafingOaf said...

Don't pay more for an item of clothing than the quality of the work suggests it's worth.

Yeah, I browsed the local Saks Fifth Avenue once and saw this really expensive suit that, on closer inspection, was just another glued-together suit of shoddy craftsmanship. I don't know how representative that is of the big name designers, but it seems some of them view their customers as suckers.

And, anyway, the big name designers aren't doing much more than copying stuff and re-presenting it under their name. They see something, ape it, and suddenly it's 3 grand. Whatever.

Anyway, IMO the high point of men's fashion in America was the 1950s, and it never goes out of style.

LoafingOaf said...

Gucci suit, $2,330, and dress shirt, $495; Prada lace-ups, $520; Ralph Lauren tie, $115.

That other stuff is a bit much, especially for us midwesterners who feel weird showing off how much money we spent. But I have trouble finding decent-looking ties for less than 90-150 bucks.

I require extra-longs and it's shocking how few stores carry that size, given how many tall men there are. I went into a Brooks Brothers out of curiosity and the salesman told me he'd never even heard of an extra long tie! How is that possible?!

So, not wanting to go to some jerky big and tall store, I'm stuck with the extra-long section at Nordstrom, and all of their extra-longs are from expensive designers.

Well, maybe I could find alternatives if I looked harder, and I use that as an excuse to buy fancy ties and not feel hung up about having spent more than I should. :)

Joseph said...

loafing oaf: I can't really relate to not being able to find a nice tie for under $90, but I'm not known for my good taste, I don't need extra long, I might be known for being a bit stingy, and I hate spending money on something I consider a ridiculous-but-mandatory accessory. The best place for ties is TJMax--last season's name brand designers for $8-12 a pop. Also, check out ebay. I bet you could find extra-long ties there, possibly sold as lots.