In this age where there is significant confusion around gender appropriate clothing I thought I’d write to offer men some help in selecting an appropriate wardrobe. If you consider yourself fashionable or stylish, please stop reading now--this column is not for you. If you worry about your skin, hair or teeth—stop reading now because you are a metrosexual--a fancy word for sissy. When I went to school, wearing earrings, or dyeing or shaving your body hair would get you beat up. I like to think that there are still places where this could happen—maybe in Wyoming.
OK, on to my fashion advice, let’s start with hats. Wear them. Except of course in places where it’s not appropriate to wear hats (really just church). Hats hide receding hairlines and keep you from having to shower as often. For example, if you’ve been in the yard splitting logs all morning and suddenly your wife (real men have wives not “significant others”) reminds you that you have a meeting with the bishop in five minutes, you can just put on a clean hat and you’re good to go (unless you’re meeting at the church). If you are meeting at the church it’s time to demonstrate (again) that you can shower and dress in less time than it takes Mrs. Wonderful to choose the right color Shade shirt to go under her peasant blouse (I’ve no idea what that is).
All hat styles are appropriate except for berets. It’s a little known historical fact that in 1940 the French economy was in a recession. The French thought that by inviting Germans to their country they could sell more berets and lift the country to prosperity. Unfortunately, the Germans stayed but did not buy any berets until 1944 when the Americans asked them to either buy berets or leave the country. They left France without purchasing any berets (and so should you).
There is of course an exception to the rule. If you are in the Army Special Forces (AKA Green Berets) you can wear berets all the time, even to church.
Man shirts can have either long or short sleeves but they must have sleeves. No matter what Richard Simmons says, ripping the sleeves off of your t-shirt does not make you look tough, cool, or manly. It makes you look like you received your diploma from a beer can. Man shirts come in blue, green, white, red, tan, brown and black. Women’s shirts come in colors like hot pink, tangerine, heather and salmon. Helpful hint: If the name of the color has more than one syllable then it’s women’s clothing.
Neckties are appropriate for many occasions (really just church). The main purpose of the necktie is to draw attention away from your stomach. The larger the stomach, the wider the tie must be. If you’re going to have the 2000 calorie triple Whopper for lunch then just add a couple of inches to the width of your tie and no one will notice the extra weight. Bowties are iffy, kind of like lusting in your heart. It’s wrong but not THAT wrong. Wear with care.
Pants are worn ON the hips and should be long enough to touch the ground. Man pants come in black, khaki, navy or denim. In a disturbing trend I’ve noticed a few so called men wearing “manlottes” which appear to be women’s culottes (the French again?) in a “plus” size. Avoid this. Some men think “gaucho” rhymes with “macho”, making gaucho pants OK. It doesn’t and it’s not—ever. You can wear shorts (which must end at the knee) or you can wear pants (end at the floor) anything in between is for the fairer sex. If your shorts extend below the knee you must hike them up to avoid the appearance of femininity.
Socks are optional, but if worn, must be dark or white--no fancy colors. Since no one thinks hairy toes are attractive it’s best to wear closed toe shoes—but it’s your choice. If you’re comfortable with your hobbit toes, go ahead and wear manly sandals, just don’t shave the hobbit hair that’s supposed to be there.
Finally, when purchasing new clothes keep this rule in mind: if an article of clothing sounds French, has pleats, or comes in bubblegum, day-glow yellow, or ultra teal—ask the sales clerk to direct you to the real men’s clothing department.