Wear what? Why? Some fashion faux pas are unforgivable
Published 17/08/2014 | 02:30
We asked Eoin Butler and Tanya Sweeney to list their 10 fashion commandments... for the opposite sex
First up, let me pre-empt some of your irate emails. Yes, I am a man. Yes, I can barely dress myself. And yes, a woman would need to be certifiably insane to pay any heed whatsoever to my opinion on women's fashion (or just about any other issue for that matter). With that iron-clad disclaimer, here is one layman's take on what not to wear. Buckle up, ladies, I've got some mansplaining to do...
Dye Not Thy Hair Blonde
I mean, fine, if you absolutely must. But it's a bit like a busker playing 'Wonderwall' on the street. We've all heard it about a billion times before. And if you're that unoriginal in one facet of your personality, what other maverick traits can there really be in store? 'Sex and the City' box sets? Inspirational Facebook quotes? The possibilities are... painfully limited.
Nor Douse Thyself in Fake Tan
Look, I'm a bald man. I could wear a toupee if I wanted to. But I don't. Why? Because it would look deluded and vain and the effect would be to fool nobody. One to note, ye bronzed "goddesses" of Harcourt Street.
Covet Not Simon Cowell's High-Waisted Trousers
High-waisted trousers on women confuse us. I mean, where does one bit of you start, and the other bit end? Do your legs really go up to your shoulders? And if so, what happened to your midriff? Has it gone on holiday?
Nor Expose Your Midriff to the Elements
Well, look at that! Your midriff is back! It's Oompa Loompa-orange and it's got a fancy little tattoo on one side. Frankly, I'm a little surprised that "Jacinta" translates directly into Sanskrit. But, assuming you work as some sort of nightclub hostess, that's very nicely played indeed. And if you don't? Well, this ain't 2001, sister, and you ain't Britney Spears.
Ensure Thy Undergarments Are Fit For Purpose
Teenage boys get excited the first time they encounter a woman with a visible g-string, because it seems to say "sex" to them, at a time in their lives when sex is literally the only thing they're able to think about. Thereafter, however, g-strings are more likely to suggest questionable vaginal hygiene.
Thou Shalt Not Apply Foundation With a Trowel
A simple rule of thumb: If you go through more make-up on a single night out than a mortician at an open casket funeral, then you're probably using too much of the stuff. Sure, the lighting will be dim in pubs and nightclubs. But some men have developed what's known (in the west of Ireland, at least) as The Supermac's Test. This is where a seemingly innocent visit to a kebab house or fast food franchise is contrived in order to appraise you under florescent lighting. Yes, men are superficial arseholes. Just don't shoot the messenger, right?
Shoes and Handbags Only Impress Other Women
Fine, as long as you're under no illusions on this count. No straight man has ever turned to his mate in a bar and said: "Jesus, did you see the Christian Louboutins on yer one?"
Gauged Earrings, Meanwhile, Are a Crime Against Humanity
Yes, these piercings (that leave a giant hole in your ear lobe) are just as popular with men as they are with women. But that does not diminish the fact that they are one of the most revolting and self-mutilating fashion trends of all time.
As Long As You're Under 40, Thou Shalt Not Wear a PASHMINA
At some point in her late twenties, or early thirties, a woman typically decides that it's time that useless layabout she's been shacked up with for the past five years got his finger out and proposed marriage. This desired transition from pint-chugging, fag-smoking ladette, to wine-sipping, house-price-discussing suburban housewife, is sometimes subtly signalled in her wardrobe choices.
Of all the fashion departures to ensue, the pashmina is the most radical and perhaps the most ill-advised. In your imagination, you look like Kate Middleton. In reality, it looks like you've just stolen a throw rug and are attempting to sneak it off the property.
Finally, Thou Shalt Not Be Flawless
Look, at the end of the day, you are beautiful to us exactly as you are. So don't stress about your imperfections. Because if you had no flaws whatsoever, then there'd be some better looking guy than us, called Steve or Nick, who has a good job, drives a fancy car, knows how to buy his own clothes, and goes to cool parties, competing for your attention everywhere we go. And that's more stress than you need really. Er, isn't it?
I love and hate in equal measure the fact that men can forego a whole load of grooming/sartorial rituals and still look stylish. A simple white T-shirt and/or flannel shirt, paired with jeans, and most of you look the part. No Spanx, tights, make-up or other jiggery-pokery needed, you lucky devils.
So why do so many men get the simple act of dressing wrong when it's so easy to get right? The list of transgressions and outright no-nos runs strangely long, so I've come up with a cut-out-and-keep list of style commandments.
Thou shalt give the fedora a break
Think your headgear gives you a debonair, worldy air? Think again. The stigma attached to fedora-wearing men has finally been laid bare on a number of sites; among them Fedoras of OKCupid (fedorasofokc.tumblr.com). The internet's verdict? If you're rocking a fedora, chances are you're a (air quotes here) Nice Guy. If you've teamed it with meticulously manicured facial hair, trust me: you're not as cool a cat as you think you are.
Don't wear jumpers worn over your shoulders
Ahoy there matey! What are the wind conditions like for our afternoon of yachting? Oh… you're actually just going to Tesco? Then why the windswept, nautical get-up? There's something very Blue Stratos advert about jauntily placing your cashmere jumper around your shoulders in the manner of an old Etonian. You can't even get away with it on the DART line.
Burn the statement T-shirts
Every time I see a man proudly wearing a slogan (and he's always wearing it proudly), part of my soul dies. A word in your shell-like, gents. Go to your wardrobe, and if any of your garments say things like, 'If Lost, Return To The Bar' or 'I'm a Drinker, Not A Fighter' or (groan) 'I Heart Boobies', take a match to the entire wardrobe. There's enough bad ju-ju in there to send Karl Lagerfeld to the fainting couch.
Thou shalt not wear polo necks
The humble polo neck no longer says of a man: 'I frequent the Left Bank, where I recite the poetry of Baudelaire and smoke Gauloises while listening to live jazz'. Rather, it says, 'my mum got me this in Dunnes. It came in a multi-pack'.
There's such a thing as being too hipsterious
I like the hipster look as much as the next lady: it suggests a finger on the pulse. Things go spectacularly awry when way, way, too skinny jeans are paired with a tropical shirt, braces, waistcoat, NHS glasses and a battered leather suitcase. Oh, and a beret. The same rules apply for men as much as women: wear one 'statement' item and give the overkill a rest. And as Coco Chanel (probably) said, take off one thing - the Tetris watch, preferably - before you leave the house.
Thou shalt buy a bigger size T-shirt
The very tight, slashed-to-the-navel tee instantly puts me in mind of those delightful gents on 'The Only Way Is Essex' or 'Tallafornia': bronzed, frosted tipped pretty boys who have necks thicker than the 46A. The tighty-whitey certainly hints at a rather… well, healthy sense of self-regard. But who wants to run the risk of coming face to face with 'roid rage? Not I.
Leave the military jacket back in 2007
Pete Doherty is the man guilty of inspiring a raft of impressionable young men to gussy up in a bright red, brass-buttoned military jacket. Tragically, this is a trend that has refused to fully die away. Some of course pass muster, but what I'm talking about are the ones that make you look like you've escaped the changing of the guard outside Buckingham Palace.
Your swimwear shalt leave at least a little to the imagination
Speedos have been threatening to make an 'ironic' comeback for years, but I've enough Speedos in 1980s Majorca/Menorca/Any Other 'Orca to last me several lifetimes. It gets worse, mind. Get your head around the one-sided man thong that the male stars of 'The Only Way Is Essex' were 'sporting' recently. The asymmetric thong is genuinely the worst thing to ever happen to swimwear, and that includes the Borat-style abomination. Water skiing: probably not advised.
Thou shalt buy a belt
Spend enough time around the Central Bank or Dundrum Town Centre, and you'll come across plenty of 'saggers': guys who let their keks fall so far as to give their boxer shorts plenty of fresh air. Things got to the point that even Barack Obama has gotten involved telling MTV that "brothers should pull up their pants". How are you meant to run for a bus in them anyway?
Thou shalt not wear socks and sandals. Ever.
If you haven't figured this one out on your own, you genuinely are in trouble and are quite possibly beyond help. I'd honestly rather see a man wearing a pair of pink Ugg boots.