Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Liveblogging Men's Fashion (with a Touch of Sarcasm)

Luke: Men's fashion I'm really excited about because there's only so much I can say about fashion in general, but the particulars. . . we get to be specific [about things that look good or bad on men].

Fashion signals high status, that you get the social world, high confidence, and being sexy. . . (this part is review) Clothes need to fit and accentuate the V-shape. . . (image of a fellow who looks like a DBZ character)

Clarification: consistency is mostly important at any one given time, but consistency across days is not so important.

/begin{new material}
You can jump to the 70th percentile of men's fashion just by avoiding things that you should not do. The same holds for dating as well.

Ten Things to Avoid
1. Pleats: pleats are where the fabric folds over itself, but Luke wouldn't recommend them because any extra fabric makes you look heavier, and you want a more streamlined look. The pleats look baggier and heavier, like there are folds of skin pushing them out.
2. Hawaiian floral prints: not anywhere
3. Socks with sandals
4. Sandals: Hugh and Luke don't like men's sandals because they are strictly Pareto suboptimal, unless you're actually walking on sand.
5. Athletic shoes (except when exercising): they are not made to be good for exercising, not for looking good.
6. Mismatched belts and shoes (comment: does anyone really look that closely at a man's belt and shoes?)
7. Too-short pants: operate on the heuristic that ankles are ugly, with lots of bulges and shapes and weird stuff
8. Dirty shoes and clothes: Luke says that women pay a lot of attention to shoes, but I honestly have never noticed dirt on anyone's shoes, or even the difference between athletic shoes and other types of shoes. . . .
9. Mismatched shoes and socks (what's with all this emphasis on shoes?)
10. Polo shirts and khaki pants: Luke says they attach you to a geek schema. He says that there is no use for khakis that is not either covered by jeans or black slacks. I'd veto this if possible. Khaki pants are very convenient, with huge pockets, and I frankly find them very relaxed. They say, I value utility more than appearance. Actually, I <3 geeks. Geeks are hot.

Blogger aside: I'm feeling pretty hostile towards this. It seems more and more about looking acceptable to the standards of the general masses. Presumably, people take you seriously when you dress well. Well that's obvious. If I'm giving a presentation, of course I will look very professional. But for general everyday outings, I'd much rather have baggy, large-pocketed clothes.

I think I'm objecting to this because it's telling me not to wear things that I do like, instead wearing things that I don't like, and distinguishing shoes that I didn't even know were different before right now.

Advice for heavy men:
1. vertical, patterns, not horizontal
2. avoid pleats and bulky things
3. no large prints
4. no loud things that break the vertical line
5. lose weight

Advice for tall men (6'2" or taller):
horizontal patterns (maybe avoid vertical patterns to avoid looking too tall)

Advice for tall and skinny men:
1. horizontal patterns
2. layering to avoid looking like a starving anorexic
3. fitted shirts

Advice for short men (shorter than 6'2") (includes most men)
1. avoid baggy clothes, pleats, cuffs
2. wear low-rise pants (to make legs look longer)
3. avoid large prints or things that break the vertical line

Hair (can of worms: open)
- if you are going bald, shave your head because that is the best look. And then do something cool with your beard so there's a neat trim on it. Luke says that male hair loss is a solved problem. There's a drug called something-or-other (fenasterid?) that can be bought generically from online pharmacies under brand names. Over 5-year study, caused 2/3 of men to regrow hair, 48% to have visible hair growth, caused 92% to stop losing hair (as compared to 100% of men on placebo who continued to lose hair).

pluck eyebrows to avoid unibrow
trim nose and ear hair
clean-shaven or neatly trimmed
clean teeth, clean skin, no body odor
subtle cologne (not too strong, because too strong scents drive some people away)

Wardrobe Essentials
- a pair of nice jeans, dark wash and minimal distressing (tears and stuff) so that they can be used kind-of formally (Aside: Luke is talking about costlier jeans generally being better than cheaper ones, as opposed to $100 t-shirts not necessarily being better than $40 ones or $30 ones. . . that's sounds pretty helluva expensive. . . it's still more expensive than any shirt I've ever had, t-shirt or no, except for really really formal professional-presentation shirts.)
- a pair of dress shoes (Ok, apparently Oxfords and loafers are different styles of shoes. Apparently, Oxfords are laced a certain way. Maybe a majority of girls really do worry about stuff like the differences between Oxfords and loafers. Do those words mean different things to you? I'm really curious how a center-of-the-fashion-bellcurve girl sees the world. But I'm also sufficiently scathing of the itteh-bitteh differences that if they really do look different, I'm inclined to think one is looking too closely at something that doesn't matter too much. Or maybe I'm wrong completely, and it actually matters a great deal. I don't know.) Consensus seems to be that the sizes of things on websites are pretty accurate, and that shoes can be ordered online.
- a pair of casual loafers (So much emphasis on shoes! I'm so bored.)
- one white button-up shirt, fitted, long sleeves, not too many pockets
- one charcoal graey suit (or black or navy) for formal wear, two buttons in front, two vents in back so it doesn't bunch up when one sits down, tailored
- one colored button-up shirt, fitted, long sleeves (burgundy is nice, but not office blue)
- one black silk tie (why silk?), thick ties for formal settings, skinnier ties for artsiness (cyberoptix.com?)
- a sweater (no sweater vests, plaid, argyle)
- some black v-neck t-shirts, fitted, for casual or layering
- underwear (not white!), no bikini briefs, no boxers, suggested boxer briefs (What do these words mean? I looked up a Google images search, still can't tell them apart D:)
- socks, matched to shoes or to pants
- one or more designer t-shirt(s), fitted, for casual or layering
- a belt that matches each shoe (wider belts are more casual)
- interesting belt buckle (some belts can detach their buckles)
- necklace, bracelets, and rings (Peter says accessories are important because you can dress up for more things with fewer articles of clothing by changing accessories)
- maybe sunglasses
- one swim suit (not speedos, not elastic), board shorts

- not heavy
- avoid similar patterns close together
- solid colors are safer because some patterns don't match very well
- can have one patterned thing with a bunch of solid-colored things

--- Intermission ---

Hugh: different strategies
red (dress normally): mainstream, higher mean, more medium responses
blue (dress distinctively): alternative, lower mean, more low responses but also more high responses

red: good for looking not offensively bad, good for making generally good impressions on groups
blue: good for dating, good for getting a few people to be really attracted to you

tradeoff: broadness of appeal to strength of appeal. Hard to appeal to everyone, because then everything is watered down. Optimum strategy depends on context.

Heuristics to find one's own style
- figure out goals, then work backwards
- find a subculture, adopt all or parts of its style (ex: hipster, punk, goth, cyber goth, steam punk, metal, industrial, rivetheads, visual kei (japanese goth), emo)
- decide what to signal, and then dress accordingly
- inspiration from the media, celebrities, bands, characters (ex: vampires)

Aside: I'm out of computer batteries now, so that's it for now. To be continued later, maybe.


  1. Hi, I manufacture custom scarves and I came across your website while reading about men's fashion. I say this is one of the perfect article to read regarding fashion no no's. As a person who's a little bit particular with what to wear, I say there are a lot of people whom I know that do not know how to mix and match getup.

  2. I definitely enjoyed reading your article. Thanks for the tips. Love your advice. You know, I'm looking forward to improve my style in wearing tuxedos.

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