Succumbing To The Tyranny Of #Menswear

Grand Potentate

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Succumbing to the Tyranny of #menswear

  • July 23, 2013
It is an observation I have seen in the pages of GQ and Esquire, in blogs and tweets and retweets: American men are dressing better these days. It's true that they are certainly paying more attention to what they wear. But are men really looking better?
A brief dig into the roots of this sartorial proverb is easy enough. The rapid proliferation of men's style photographs (or #menswear, as it's known on the Web) began with a phenomenon called street style—the photographing and posting of outlandishly but carefully attired men on the sidewalks of cities like Manhattan, London and Milan. The ascent of street style marked the death of the elegant and understated suit, and opened the gates to burgundy velvet Doc Martens, double-layered silk scarves and chinos rolled halfway up the calf, cuffs crinkled for that extra dash of insouciance.
The unsuspecting victims of this #menswear craze are the guys who never paid much attention to the way they dressed to begin with. Thirty years ago the only men susceptible to fads were the few who read magazines like Vogue Hommes and went to the shows in Paris. Now, anyone with a lunch break—or anyone whose girlfriend has a lunch break—can log onto Tumblr and subject himself to incessant criticism of dressing normally.
Average young men—in the male of the species, interest in fashion dies at middle age—have become so overwhelmed by images of the flamboyant that they find their own clothing shamefully deficient. The solution? To look acceptable, dress exactly as the Internet tells you.
One of the greatest culprits is the fetishization of what the online world calls "individual style": the purposeful unbuckling of monkstrap shoes, mismatched cufflinks, button-down shirts with only one collar point fastened and, perhaps most absurd, the unbuttoning of jacket cuff buttons (a practice intended only for showing off one's functioning cuff buttons). These idiosyncrasies are so wildly circulated that they've become standard issue: No cuff button is left fastened, no monkstrap is buckled. Individuality has become a uniform.

The second force behind the flattening of men's style is the notion of "style rules." Magazines command that a man's shirt cuff must not extend more than a quarter-inch from his jacket, so I regularly see New Yorkers on crowded trains reach into the sweaty armpits of their blazers to pull their sleeves back—never mind that every James Bond from Sean Connery to Daniel Craig managed not to fret over an inch or more of visible shirt cuff. Men are told to cuff their selvedge jeans to show off the hemmed internal fabric, as though, like some freemason clan, having the right jeans will get you into a secret men's club.
There are so many photos of men saddling one arm of their sunglasses over the breast pocket of their blazers that Ray-Bans seem as common an ornament as pocket squares.
And perhaps the most laughable of these style rules is the notion that men must match the color of their belts to that of their shoes to Pantone precision. Men seem to equate going out without matching belt and shoes to leaving the house without underwear.
The hunger for belt-matching and the pandemic of cuff-unbuttoning has not only left every man in New York City looking like a salesperson at J. Crew, but it has also prevented men from knowing or learning what they actually want. The "well-dressed" urban man does not have desires or tastes. He rolls up his jeans without knowing why. He does not belong to a club, and yet he wears club ties with fake crests.
Forgoing fashion is a prerequisite for elegance. Marcello Mastroianni chose the cloth for his suits because he liked it, not because he read in Mr. Porter's Journal that Glen Plaid was the pattern of the month. Foppery can thrive alongside subtlety. As Beau Brummell, the first dandy, once said: "If people turn to look at you on the street, you are not well dressed, but either too stiff, too tight, or too fashionable."
The current #menswear disease is perhaps best summarized by the abundance of men wearing wing tips and other dress shoes with no socks. For two years I have seen magazines rave about the sockless look. Feet cannot bear it, but a stylish man these days never obeys his instincts, nor falters at the threat of blisters.
Mr. Aciman is a writer in New York and the author of "Twitterature" (Penguin, 2009).

Preach, brother
Yes, Betel.

If I saw you on the street wearing those, I'd curbstomp you!

How's that for "street style?"

I don't know what is curbstomp, but I think is not good. :LOLguy-88:

I think the only thing you would like from all my wardrobe:

I am so glad that I don't live in NYC! I only have to suffer men in tight red pants, teeny blazers buttoned at the sternum, and pocket squares at full bloom on my computer screen and not in real life.
If we could somehow get a hybrid of the twee #menswear twat and the summer camp slackers, we'd have something resembling proper clothing.
I didn't know that matching the belt with the shoes was bad. I mean I have a dark brown belt, a maroon belt and one black. The maroon belt I use it with the shoes that are not dark brown. So what color should I use?
Alright. So. Confession. On ties which are either unlined or very lightly lined (really any tie that is really really light), I will occasionally tie it...on that the narrow end of the blade extends about an inch past the wide end. I like to think this is the only #menswear thing I do (you know, besides posting fitpics and the like)

If the guy in betel's picture had just been a little bit more reasonable with that tie, I'd be very much liking of it. Also he needs to take off the fucking sleeve tag.
If the guy in betel's picture had just been a little bit more reasonable with that tie, I'd be very much liking of it. Also he needs to take off the fucking sleeve tag.

Exactly. The jacket looks good but you didn't noticed the sleeve tag jrd? And the stitches/basting (don't know how it's called) of the shoulder and in the sleeve? Looks like he took it off the rack and wore it like that.
That tie is also a beautiful combination of brown and burgundy. I guess it would be rust with a sheen (and I normally don't like ties with a sheen)


As someone that has used pinky-brick laces in Bass saddle shoes, I object less to fanciful laces colors with a cheap buck. The blue with the wingtip is pushing it and red with patent leather is worthy of the death penalty.

I don't know the faces that well, but that Sartorialist guy and Thom Browne deserve to be in the rogue's gallery.
If Thom Browne is the guy responsible for Black Fleece, then off with his head. How dare Brooks Brothers try to make money by appealing to a younger demographic.

Wait. I'm sending mixed messages again, aren't I?
Unless I missed something, Browne is single-handedly responsible for the shrunken fit suit and the sockless wingtip idiocy.
I blame Browne and my generation. I don't blame BB because they're a business and they are just responding to demand. Browne creates the demand and my generation is the demand. Sick fucks, one and all.
Without having read any of this thread, how does a thread in Ramboforvm get 40 replies before I even see it?!

Sign of good things, my friends.
I hate dubmunks so, so much



Is this for real?


It is poorly executed Sprezz. That tie is way too undone, and note he left the tailor's patch on the arm sleeve - akin to keeping the silver, shiny sticker on your brand new New Era headwear.

Even I had to get in on this goodness.
If it's too hot to wear long pants, why the eff are you wearing a jacket and tie, you tool?

Also, one thing I cannot stand at all amongst #menswear circles is a suit cut with pants that look like they're women's sized capris (IE top photo). I don't mind a little bit of a hiked cuff, but those monstrosities couldn't even hold a pleat unless it was perma-pressed.

Also, does anyone else notice how it's super common for streetwear photo subjects now to put their feet at an awkward angle without fail? Like a chicken? The azian guy above is an example, but it's also very prominent for JCrew women:

Why ugh? Besides the obvious hygiene issues?

Do you morally object to my avatar Grand Potentate Grand Potentate ? Loafer socks always...
Other than the fact that the angle makes you looks like you're wearing fancy bowling shoes?

Its just not my style really. And most people who do it look horribly affected. ESPECIALLY the shorts or suit version of the look.
You look horribly affected.

*Waiting for the inevitable pic of someone sockless in wingtips and compression shorts.
Okay, I know the old one foot in front of the other trick to narrow the waist, but I have no idea what's up with J. Crew and the pigeon-toed scoliotic pose. I guess the #menswear do it to show of how short their pants are and how sockless they are, or so you can see both sides of the shoes?
One person not wearing socks--no problem with that. 80% of your group sockless (or loafer socks), that's some hipster level contrarian conformity.
They're supposedly very common with Neapolitan tailors. Although these pictures are from a Roman tailoring house called Sartoria Ripense.
Interesting. Looks like shit to me.

That unstructured pinstripe is sharp as fuck though.
I think in the first pic is way too notorious. But I actually like the Spalla Camicia shoulder. I have one SC with a... mmm it's not a Spalla, the shoulder tho it's made kinda the same way and the jacket allow a better movement or that is what I perceived.

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