Sunday 11 December 2016

Angela Scanlon: Why Irish men really need to ditch the brown shoes

Angela Scanlon

Published 14/06/2015 | 02:30

Angela Scanlon - not a fan of brown shoes on men
Angela Scanlon - not a fan of brown shoes on men

There are few things more attractive than a man with killer style.

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Not three pieces suits and velvet dickie bows, not hyper aware of their presentation or contrived in their sartorial choices. I'm talking about innate style, the kind of effortless, understated pulling together of an outfit that we've become used to seeing on women. It's become easy for women, we are inundated with images of impossible stylishness, a perfectly pitched outfit for every imaginable occasion. We study these people, we reference bygone stars, we pour over their outfit choices and subconsciously or otherwise we recognise, over time, why something works and why it doesn't.

Angela Scanlon
Angela Scanlon

But many men - many Irish men - couldn't give a monky's about what they wear or how they look. They, as one friend recently told me, avoid the mirror where possible. They stick to what they know believing the oft misjudged mantra 'if it's not broken, don't fix it'.

Maybe they've got the right idea - time is better spent doing wonderful things that don't involve ironing or colour combining. Why pore over an outfit when you could pour yourself a beer?

But what it leaves us with is a bunch of lads who are still wearing bootcut jeans (stained and bitten at the hems), printed t-shirts or crinkled plaid shirts, suits that don't quite fit and shoes that should be buried.

What is it with Irish men and their strangely obsessive commitment to brown shoes? They are the one thing I hate most in life. They feel wrong in any setting, neither dressed up or casual, in or out, up or down. They are the purgatory of footwear for the male of the species, but there is an epidemic and I can't treat it on my own.

Angela Scanlon
Angela Scanlon

Why would you choose them? Why would you resign yourself to wearing poo-coloured shoes, what is going through your mind when you hand over your hard-earned cash and leave the shop with them? Surely you can't really love them that much?

My hunch is no man loves brown shoes that much and he may not even 'love' his favourite jumper or the trousers that could tell stories, they are functional items that do exactly what he requires of them. Nothing more, nothing less.

No emotional attachment, no conjuring up of a parallel life lived out in a outfit, no recognition of the power a good suit has. That's the difference. Women fall in love with clothes, we respect their ability to transform us, not just visually. We dream about a dress that will change our lives, convince ourselves that the expensive cobalt coat will make just the right impression and perhaps even bag us the job, we know that wearing a sexy pair of shoes does more than turn on the bus driver; they empower you and change how you walk, how you act and, consequently, how people respond to you.

When men realise that clothes can open up a whole other world of joy and manipulation, not only will there be trouble, you'll need to get a second mirror…

Angela Scanlon
Angela Scanlon

Things I want to do this summer

If it ever gets here...

* Picnic in the park

* Roller skate on a sunny promenade

* Go swimming  somewhere

Angela Scanlon
Angela Scanlon

* Eat a fish I caught myself

* Drink cheap fizzy alcohol from a plastic cup

* Laugh until I wee

* Run away to an exotic land where I can eat spices for breakfast

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