They say you can tell a lot about a man by looking at his shoes. I agree. The difference between a suave wearer of Italian leather and a dreadlocked activist in beat-up TOMS is oceanic; from the surface, it’s beyond comprehension.
I’ve made errors in assuming things about a guy based solely off of his fashion choices before. I’ve been wrong about professional status or economic class – it’s all the flannel, I swear – and I’ve even made assumptions on more personal things like how awkward they’d be in bed. My style radar may be finely tuned (I can pick out Sartorialist material like that) but I can’t seem to program it to tell me when a guy would pick me up from the airport or not. Bummer.
All those wrong guesses eventually led me to adopt a less dictator-like approach to guys’ styles. I’ll give more leeway now, and I’ll even allow a socks and sandals guy the chance to prove all the stereotypes about his particular species wrong. Certain faux-pas like this can mostly be chalked up to ignorance, and that can be remedied. But an Ed Hardy tee is not an ignorant piece of clothing. It’s worn with the intent to look a certain way, and that way is indisputably offensive.
Looking at my recent lineup of past dates, I know I tend to go for the perma-casual dresser. Despite their different sets of relationship misgivings, all of my romantic interests have shared an ability to rock a graphic t and jeans combo. Still there are certain style discretions even I can’t overlook. Things that upon first sight (online or in person) will make me scroll away (online or in person), wondering why technology hasn’t allowed us a small army of Ryan Gosling clones yet. I’ve given them the name “dealbreaker”, even though a better term might be “Integrity-breaker”. These are the style faux-pas that prevent the deal from ever being made in the first place.
1. Animal skin pants. Putting the leathered skin of an animal over your own skin is weird any way you look at it, but when it’s used for straight-guy fashion, it’s even more weird. I think this look is supposed to be cool, because Lenny Kravitz still does it and anything Lenny Kravitz does is at least semi-cool. But with the exception of Bon Jovi, modern rock guys are the devil. And I don’t make romantic deals with the devil. Fur and faux fur are two other no-no’s that fit into this category.
2. Massive ring of keys on belt. This stresses me out. Before I even see it coming, I can hear it. All those keys jangling about. All those keys! What in the world are you doing with all those keys? Why can’t you leave some of them at home? Do you even know where they all go? I don’t believe that you clip that thing to your pants every single day. Do you not change your pants? I told you this stresses me out.
3. Ill-fitting polo’s. Clothing that doesn’t fit right is never a pretty sight, and polo shirts are always just two Bud Lights away from frat house material. But on their own, they are not unforgivable offenses. However, when you see a polo worn in the wrong size, you’re either looking at a real-life version of the dad in Family Guy or a K-Fed impersonator. No deal.
4. Mandana. This tells me a guy has gone out of his way to make a conscious choice about his style, just to wind up looking like a less cute version of my dog.
5. T-shirts with old sweat stains. Visibly soiled clothing is never nice to see on anyone. But I know how clumsy coffee cups can be, and c’mon, pizza just LOVES to get all over your stuff. But if the stains in question look well-worn and are of the tea-colored variety that can only be produced from multiple cases of your armpits dumping sweat, then I hope you and your pizza are very happy together because I won’t be getting on you.
6. Ridiculous headgear. While I support all copycatting of Mad Men fashions, there needs to be some discretion in selecting hats. Fedora’s aren’t for everyone, and top hats and Chaplinesque bowlers, for no one after 1930-something.
7. Ed Hardy anything. Do you see me trying to turn my Lisa Frank folders into a shirt? Be better than embellished graphic t’s, people!
Mad Men image [via]