Urban Menswear Myths #6
The birth of baby 7 billion was hugely hyped around the globe with media of all sorts covering the story incessantly. In a world continuously growing at such a pace, the struggle for individuality is one that takes place on all levels. As one of the ultimate forms of self expression, personal style is often a conscious statement about how one perceives himself and decides on the image to present the world. When that mental representation clashes with what is social accepted or imposed, say in a working environment, there’s an inherent repulsive reaction towards those criteria.
I’m guessing I’m not the only one with friends who hold a grudge against suiting up simply because they’re required to do so on a daily basis. While some might argue that it’s an uncomfortable attire, the most common underlying cause is the fact they feel that on top of looking like everybody else, they have been deprived of their freedom of expression and individuality. Allow me to disagree…formal doesn’t have to be boring nor make you look like a clone. Sure, you’ll be wearing a suit like many other men out there, but it’s nothing unlike sporting a pair of jeans: how many people do you come across wearing similar or even the same model as you?
With the amount of offerings in the current market, dressing up can perfectly portray your personality as much as any other look. Assuring an appropriate fit assumes a leading role, but besides it the possibilities are endless: playful inner linings, collar detailings, patterned fabrics, color combinations and last but not least accessories. All these are powerful allies when it comes to setting you apart from the rest of the pack.
On personal style and individuality
As Europeans take a deep breath from fashion weeks and such, the steady flow of photos depicting exquisite figurines in an assortment of attires and situations continues to flood the Internet. Although one can easily gaze at these inspiring pics for hours, absorbing each tiny and intricate detail, a certain critical thinking and self assurance, in a way, is advised. It’s one thing to draw inspiration; it’s quite another to blindly follow or praise everything portrayed there, or anywhere else for that matter.
Take a long, scrutinous look at the batches of photos from Firenze, Milan or Paris…notice a pattern there? The opinion is unanimous: comments regarding “cloned” looks are all over the net. I believe there’s a better word for it - redundancy. And redundant is the last thing you want to be… Be it Prada wingtips, Cucinelli cargos or Givenchy rotweiller sweaters by the dozen, there seemed to be an overall lack of personality and individuality.
Obviously, this isn’t to say that those are not valid choices for many men and women who actually resonate with the brand and compose their style canvas in a unique way, but I can’t ignore the feeling that many others simply wear them so as to be on trend and achieve a sense of belonging. I’m not supporting the utopia of individual style, I’m not as naive or hypocritical, especially since I’m also influenced by a variety sources, hell we all are, it’s our human nature as social beings. However, as humans, we also have deep, complex personalities to whom we must stay true to…Draw inspiration, keep up with the latest trends, but do so while staying true to yourself.
On this note, kudos to all who stood out amidst the crowd in their own way.
Behind a great man…
Lately I’ve been witnessing an interesting fact: more and more, men go out shopping accompanied by the important women in their lives, be them girlfriends, fiances or wives. We’ve all heard the saying “behind every great man there’s a great woman”, which in fact has proven to be an unrefutable truth for many famous, powerful and successful men throughout history.
I believe most men will agree that a woman’s touch makes a huge difference in so many aspects of a man’s life. However, what I’ve been seeing recently goes a bit beyond that so called “woman’s touch”… Ladies, in case you’re reading this, I urge you not to get me wrong as I’m not trying to present a sexist point of view nor call upon male empowerment, so please bear with me as I state my case.
The other day I was out shopping when suddenly I found myself next to this young couple: the guy started browsing through the items and set apart those he fancied the most - meanwhile his wife was checking out other pieces at the opposite end of the store. She comes back and the dialogue that followed was something along this line:
- Him - Honey I really love these three…
- Her - Humm…don’t like this pattern nor the collar on the others. Check the ones I have here.
- Him - Well, I actually liked those…
- Her - These will look better on you, take them instead.
A few more minutes down the line and the guy ended up purchasing what the wife had picked out for him. Now, you might be thinking there’s a chance I ran into a somewhat peculiar couple but mind you, this was not an isolated event. Now, I too like to hear my girlfriend’s take on what I buy, especially when she gives me a thumbs up, but taking into account your better half’s opinion is quite different than letting her call all the shots…
Photo by Ellen von Unwerth for GQ
Relationships are hard work, they require equal commitment and compromise from both parts in order to last. There’s no doubt that men like to please their loved ones. Yet, to do so, they need not renounce their personality and individual sense of style…this is such an important aspect in a man’s life, the ability to make a stand and choose the image he wishes to present to the world.
So guys, be opened to your girl’s opinion and guidance, pull off that particular outfit she loves when taking her out to somewhere special, but don’t do it at the expense of your own identity and style.
And girls, bear in mind that most men are helpless and rely on your advice and support for so many things in life, so why not let them have it their way on this issue? Who knows, maybe you’ll find out he’s quite a dapper fellow who’ll become more confident and comfortable in his own skin, which can’t be a bad thing right?
Photo by Ellen von Unwerth for GQ