Sunday, April 6, 2014

Uncle Dusty's Guide to Fashion (for dudes, 'cause they need help, y'all)

                Yesterday, I slept late (7:00 a.m., because apparently we have cattle to feed) and The Dad had already checked the mail and placed it, as per usual, on the dishwasher.  I walked over to see what was there and picked up a magazine.  The Dad looked at me and said, “Is that a gay magazine?” 

                My first thought was, what is he talking about?  I don’t have gay magazines in my house; I am far too uptight for that mess.  When I asked the magazine he was referencing, he pointed to the Nordstrom catalog.

                I said, “Well, admittedly Nordy's is fussier than JC Penney, but I don’t think I’d call them ‘gay’.”  When I asked why he questioned it, he said it was because the models were “dressed gay”.  What he meant was they were wearing a suit and not in the context of a court appearance.  And while I don’t agree with his assessment I understand his viewpoint.  Most men don’t put much thought into their wardrobes.  The only difference between my father’s outfits while sleeping and during the day is that he takes his hat and shoes off when in bed.  Seriously, he sleeps fully clothed as if he is practicing becoming homeless.  Which, truth be told, if he doesn’t stop being so messy and loud, it might be sooner rather than later.

                But this got me to thinking about men and their clothes and I realized that I have given the world Uncle Dusty’s Guide to Fashion, but not specifically for men.  As I am including dressing for success in the management training program of my trainee James (‘sup, dude!), I thought I’d share some thoughts with you.

  1. What you wear shows how you feel about yourself and the world around you.  It doesn’t matter if you want this to be true; it simply is.  Ratty t-shirts and dirty jeans connote either someone who doesn’t care or someone who is trying very hard to convince you they don’t care.  In my experience it’s usually the latter.
  2. Don’t be afraid of color.  Not everyone wants to, or has the energy to, be me when it comes to fashion.  However, if you decide to embrace color (and you should), remember less is more.  If you wear a brightly colored shirt, wear more muted pants, like khaki or navy.  Even I don’t wear colored pants and shirts.  I always pair things like apricot pants with a navy gingham shirt or a blue oxford button-down.  If I wear a purple sweater, it’s with navy chinos.  One wants to look like a party, not a parade.
  3. I wear colored socks and they are ubiquitous these days.  However, a good rule of thumb is to match your socks to your pants; never to your shoes.  If you’re bold, match them to your shirt or tie.  If you don’t match them to anything, people will talk about you.  And by people, I mean me.
  4. Pay attention to you when choosing colors. 

  1. If your cheeks are ruddy (red), do not wear shirts in that spectrum (red, pink, orange).  Your face will glow and not in a good way.
  2. If you are overweight, avoid yellow.  Every time you stop walking, small children will try to board you.  Also avoid yellow if you are pale; you will look jaundiced.
  3. If you have blue eyes, you’ll look great in blues, greens and purples.  Redheads look great in those colors too.
  4. If you are olive-complexioned or darker, congratulations, you are able to wear most every color in the rainbow and will look amazing in bright colors like red, aqua blue or pink.  Literally, thank the Lord for His gift to you.  Those of us that are more in the lunch meat-complexioned category are jealous, even when we say we aren’t.
   5.    The color wheel can be your friend (Google it). 

  1. Colors that are immediately adjacent to your color are complementary.   
  2. Color that are directly opposite on the wheel are contrasting.
  3. This knowledge will help you better coordinate your choices.
   6.   When in doubt ask your girlfriend; odds are she’s better at fashion than you (apologies to Neal Eckrich and Quinton Walker, but they’re alone in this category).
   7.  If you don’t have a girlfriend, then visit your local clothier’s tie department.  Look at the patterned and paisley ties.  These color combos work very well. 
   8.  Most tie designers try to help you decide the color suit you should wear with a particular tie, by using that color on the back of the tie, in the diamond shape at the bottom.
   9.  If you don’t have a lot of confidence in your fashion skills or you’re short on cash, basics are the way to go.  Khakis go with everything.  Blue or white button-downs and primary colored polos are an easy, inexpensive way to look appropriate for most occasions.  Navy suits are popular but a charcoal suit is more versatile.
   10.  Brown shoes, brown belt.  Black shoes, black belt.  This is not difficult.  You can buy your belt at the same store as your shoes.  The salespeople will be more than happy to help.
   11.  Don’t buy a red dress shirt.  Ever.  Seriously, put it down. 
   12.  Ditto for black dress shirts.  Unless you are in the mob.  Then I like your look; please don’t kill me.
   13.  Every time you buy a shirt and tie already paired in a box, a fashion designer dies.  Stop the madness!
   14.  If you’re going on a date, even if it’s someone with whom you have a relationship, you should not be wearing jeans and a t-shirt.  At the very least wear a button-down or a polo with your jeans.  Snarky tees are only appropriate when hauling furniture, mowing the yard or trying to “chill” in someone’s basement.  Experiment with wearing a sport coat on a date and see how the dynamic changes.
   15.  ZZ Top said it best, “every girl’s crazy ‘bout a sharp-dressed man.” Air guitar solo is allowed, because I did it too.

You’re welcome.

1 comment: