Thursday, March 20, 2008

Make Me Sexy: The Man Edition

We all know that behind every great man is a great woman; however, encasing every great looking man should be a great looking outfit. Sadly, this is not always the case as too many of the world's finest men drown their looks in a sea of ugly/dirty/frumpy clothing. For instance, I have this friend, we’ll call him *Steve, who is very handsome and has a lot going for him lifestyle and personality-wise. The problem with Steve, is that he can’t seem to get his fashion game together. Too often, I have seen him gleefully nightclubbing in awful shirt, tie, and light-washed jean combinations, while going to work the next morning in oversized dress shirts and clunky, black, square-toe shoes. Don’t feel too bad for Steve though, I’ve already agreed to accompany him shopping so that we can end this madness once and for all. For the rest of you men (or women with men who can’t dress), this guide is for you. Below, I have listed the top 10 men’s fashion essentials so that Steve or any other guy clueless in fashion can make the effort to start dressing themselves appropriately.

*is not his real name, duh

My biggest rule for men is to quit worrying about wearing things too tight or looking “gay” (and by the way, gay men have impeccable style so looking like them might not be such a bad idea); proper fit implies that either your clothes are expensive or that you have enough money to get them tailored properly. If you have expensive looking clothes, then you probably are successful. If you are successful, then you are desirable to the opposite sex and women will flock to you like Joan Rivers to a plastic surgeon. This is all you are after anyway. Please, dress the part.


1. The Fitted Polo- a fitted, cap sleeve men’s polo is not only a CLASSIC, it’s perfect for summer given the lightweight material. I always put men in cap sleeve, short sleeve polos because it eventuates the overall slim cut of the shirt and shows off those fabulous biceps. Hey, to be good-looking means showing off something worth looking at, no? The one featured is from Penguin ($69), but you can pick up a classic no breast pocket version from HUGO at Nordstrom (1400 South Hayes Street, Arlington, VA, Pentagon City) for $75



2. Skinny Tie- Skinny ties are back, baby! Since the keywords for the new fashion movement are “slim”, “sleek”, “trim”, and “sophisticated” it’s no surprise that slim ties have made such a sexy comeback. Both Banana Republic (3200 M Street NW) and J. Crew (3222 M St NW ) have come out with there own slim tie collection, and Macy’s is offering a white and black selection for under $20. Choose one that’s about 3 inches wide, at it’s widest point as not to go too slim. The point made is that wearing ugly ties is no longer an option.



3. Loafers- a chic pair of loafers not only is a great casual alternative to sloppy sneakers, you look put together without going over the top with formal dress shoes. And get this...in the summer time you can wear them sockless!



4. Great pair of jeans- This really should be first on the list, as a great pair of jeans often makes the whole outfit. Choose a medium to darker wash in a bootleg or straight leg cut and you will be well on your way to sexy. The number one mistake men continuously make is buying jeans too big! Jeans need to have a close (not tight) fit. So if you are a medium size man....uh, you need to go for a medium size jean. Your shape (and any woman checking you out) will greatly appreciate it.



5. Casual Blazer- Nothing dresses up a dude's otherwise alright outfit quicker than a casual blazer. Pick one with a light weight, shorter length, and roll up the sleeves to give off that “I’m so cool, I just threw this on” look. Try Zara (1025 F St NW, Downtown) or Club Monaco (3235 M St NW, Georgetown) for modern cut blazers at lower prices.




6. Slim Button-Down Collar Shirts- For heaven’s sake, would you men stop buying your dress shirts so big?!?! Not only do you end up looking like a used car salesman (and even if that is your profession, you should never dress like it), but they hide how fabulously in shape you are. Hit up Banana Republic, Macy’s (1201 G St NW), Loehmann’s (5333 Wisconsin Ave. NW), or The Men’s Store at Saks (5333 Wisconsin Ave. NW) for slim cut oxfords. If you can only afford one, go for a white one because it’s the most versatile with both casual and dressier outfits, and it’s extremely breathable in the summer.



7. Casual athletic shoes- these are essential to the American lifestyle because you can’t wear dress shoes to the grocery store and you can’t wear your beat up trainers on a date. You must find a happy medium, also known as a neutral colored casual athletic shoe. I am the queen of these types of shoes because I’m too girly to go balls out in NBA worthy Nike trainers, but I’m too realistic to attempt wearing heels everywhere. Thus I’ve been properly introduced to some great styles buy Puma (featured), Adidas, Diesel, and even Converse (Chuck Taylors are always classic), and I suggest that every man get on the bandwagon. These types of shoes look polished with jeans, blazers, or both, and extremely wearable in the summer.



8. Lightweight sweater/cardigan- Since the key to looking put together is to, well, put lots of nice clothes together, a simple cardigan or sweater is like the functional cherry on the outfit cake. They’re relatively cheap, and surprisingly enough, you can find a nice, basic assortment at the otherwise over-the-top Urban Outfitters (737 7th St NW). Pick one in a solid neutral color, and wear it over t-shirts on cool summer nights, or over a button-up at a dinner date. In other words, you’ll wear the hell out of it, I promise.



9. Brown Dress Shoe- Now don’t get me wrong, black dress shoes are always tasteful and will always be in style. Brown shoes, however, add a little “umph” to suits and trousers and look great with navy, grey, and tan/khaki colors. Go for longer, slimmer styles (no clunky square toes allowed) when finding a pair. Remember, this is not something to skimp on price-wise (unless of course, you find a pair on sale). Stick with trusted classic brand names like Kenneth Cole and Cole Haan- not only will they look great for years, they’ll be comfortable for years as well.



10. Fitted Tees- No, these are not the white tees you buy in packs at Wal-mart and wear when mowing the lawn. These are crisp white (and solid colored) tees that fit amazingly and are made of good quality cotton and fabric blends. This is important not just when wearing the tees alone, but when wearing them under button-ups and ties also. The better the fit and whiter (read: cleaner) the tee, the better the dress shirt over it looks. When wearing graphic and/or long sleeve tees alone with jeans, the same rules for fit and fabric quality apply. Find inexpensive v-neck and crew neck (vary it a little) sets at American Apparel and Express (50 Massachusetts Ave. NE, Union Station).


This here collection of fashion know-how is more than enough to get any man on the right track. Remember that neutral colors included brown, black, tan, gray, and white, and that variations of blues, reds, yellows are great to start a basic color pallet. Additionally, none of these looks have to break the bank if you are familiar with stores like Loehmann's and Filene's Basement (1133 Connecticut Ave) and sales at Nordstrom and Macy's. If you don't believe me on any of this, check out the holy grail of Men's Fashion information at GQ Magazine online (this issue features a naked Adrianne Lima if fashion weren't incentive enough). This slideshow pretty much validates all of the information featured here. Now go forth, and dress yourself!

3 comments:

b. rich said...

Insightful.

Anonymous said...

Sending this to my man right... now!

Anonymous said...

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