Thursday, 30 August 2012

Dress sense

I'm forever baffled by men's attitude to clothing. They seem to be quite happy wandering around in amazingly boring clothes, with no wish to be more adventurous or colourful or eye-catching.

Go into any office block and there are the massed ranks of men in their black suits, white shirts, ties and black shoes. Maybe a slightly garish tie if they're feeling really bold.

If they're in a less formal workplace like a charity, they might roll up in jeans and a casual shirt. Or even an earring or two. But there the daring stops.

They adhere rigidly to the prevailing male dress codes as if it's a matter of life or death. Any move away from the officially sanctioned range of clothing is simply unthinkable. Men dress in a certain way and that's it.

Don't they sometimes think, I rather fancy wearing a skirt today? I wonder how I'd look in a frilly blouse? Suppose I wore a long swishy dress? No, of course they don't, because they're men and men just don't have silly girly thoughts like that.

Besides, if they wore anything other than orthodox masculine clothing (and especially anything girly) it would be the biggest social embarrassment ever. All their mates would laugh at them. Their boss would fire them. Women would titter and giggle. Shop assistants would give them peculiar looks. They'd be instant pariahs and freaks.

No, wearing interesting and attractive clothing may be okay for women, but men are different. Sartorial restraint is required. Experiments with clothing are frowned upon. Clothes aren't there to have fun with, they're the outward signs of male responsibility and propriety. Wear your suit with pride! Adjust your tie manfully! No frivolity please, we're blokes.

16 comments:

kylie said...

liam regularly wishes he could wear womens clothing and he experiments past the limits of acceptability in our conservative milieu

Rummuser said...

Nick, have you been to any American golf links? You will see the weirdest clothes being worn by people who would not be caught dead in clothes other than formals in normal life.

Other than that one exception and of course the old beatniks and hippies, you are bang on as far as being adventurous with apparel for men.

Young at Heart said...

yeah ....why has menswear gotten so boring?? It clearly wasn't always like this....check out the court of louis XIV!!

Scarlet Blue said...

Oh for the days of Beau Brummel... or failing that... Adam Ant.
Sx

John Gray said...

I have always fancied wearing a kilt
But I would ALWAYS would draw the line at a frilly blouse.....
( I am to hippy for one)

Nick said...

Kylie: I do sympathise with Liam. Men are trapped in this absurd straitjacket of gender-appropriateness.

Ramana: Even what men wear on golf links is pretty staid compared with the choices open to women.

Young at Heart: That's true, in previous centuries men wore the most extraordinary clothes - including most of the garments nowadays labelled "female".

Nick said...

Scarlet: Yes, Adam Ant was pretty adventurous. Not to mention David Bowie. And what do today's rockers wear? Suits, jeans, suits....

John: Yes, I could see you in a kilt. Maybe not a frilly blouse or a skirt. Anyway, a frilly blouse would be ruined in five minutes by one of those wayward animals....

Leah said...

Nick, come to NYC and take a gander. That is all I will say.

Nick said...

Leah: I was last in NYC in 2008. I must say I didn't notice any exuberant male dress styles, but maybe things have changed since then. It's about time I revisited.

Nick said...

Of course skirts and dresses could be a bit tricky with all those grotesque beer bellies....

Cheerful Monk said...

I love my boring clothes! Not having to think about them gives me more time to play with my toys.

Nick said...

Monk: Well, whatever's best for you. It's true that dressing in boring male clothes is wonderfully straightforward. I don't have to spend half an hour wondering if my hemline is too low or too high....

blackwatertown said...

All that grey/black/dark blue suit conformity could be adherence to written or unspoken corporate sartorial rules - rather than lack of imagination.

As for me - can't usually be bothered. Get up, wash, dress, do things. The first three stages are very quick.

Nick said...

Paul: Ah, another adherent to the "boring clothes make life a lot easier" faction!

Grannymar said...

Nick, if you were told tomorrow to wear exactly what you want and not what you think you have to, what would it be?

Head to toe please.

Nick said...

Grannymar: Goodness, that calls for a very long reply. Well, very very girly is the brief answer. I'm bored stiff with masculine clothes. I'm thinking lacy underwear, a dress, tights, heels, for a start. Nail polish, make-up, earrings. Long wavy brown hair. Of course there'd have to be a lot of body-hair purging to carry it off successfully.

Yes, I'm hopelessly disobedient when it comes to gender-appropriate clothing....