Reader John asked me a while back about what I think he should wear when he hits the “‘parties with women in little black dresses’ scene,” and I am here to help! And you guys may need to help, too, since I fear my “help” will prove woefully inadequate. As in, “I think pants are a good idea.”
First, though, let me tell you what the guys who attended the prom were wearing: crap! That is what they were wearing! Total crap! One guy showed up in cargo shorts; a couple of them had on jeans. To a prom! The unmitigated audacity!
It wasn’t all bad, though: the best-dressed guy there was wearing a somewhat nautical tux jacket (white lapel piping on basic black) with the appropriate shirt, bowtie, and cummerbund, but he had on a pair of shorts with lobsters emblazoned all over them. It sounds horrible, but it completely fit the kitsch “Rock Lobster” theme, and he won many cool points and looked cute, too. The second-best-dressed guy had on khakis and a light blue dress shirt. It totally went downhill from there, what with the bare calves and the unholy amount of plaid.
Here are my thoughts on that, though: I think men in general tend to be suspicious of events where they may have to dress up, especially if said events are organized by ladies, involve dancing, and especially if they include the word “prom.” Thus, I theorize, they tend to dress down with the idea of preserving their tenuous masculinity in front of their male peers.
Well, I’m sure that all the unshaven, jeans-clad boys at the prom party thought they were just as manly as ever, but they did not succeed in impressing any ladies, that is for sure. (We forgave them, of course, since it is all in fun, and the drunker we all got the less appalling it all seemed.)
So what would impress the ladies? Real big-boy trousers, for starters. That means no jeans, no shorts, and nothing with cargo pockets. If ladies are in LBDs and heels and Real Jewelry, there is just no place for jeans. It is time to put away childish things, guys! For the fit, I am a big fan of the flat front. Pleats flatter no one, let’s face it. I think pleated men’s trousers might actually be illegal in France anyway, and for that I commend the French.
Moving on! Dress shirts that fit well and are crisply ironed (& stain-free! — I only add this because I know too many people who need to be reminded of it, not because I assume John has stains in his shirts or something) always look sexy, in my opinion. Depending on the fanciness factor, a tie is optional. (But if the invitation says something like “black tie optional,” a tie is in fact NOT optional. In that case the “option” is a choice between a regular suit and a tuxedo.) If it’s not that fancy, I kind of like the less dressy look of an open-collared shirt and a sport jacket. If no one else is wearing a jacket, you can take it off, but it elevates the outfit over the boring khakis/dress-shirt combo that is seen in office cubicles worldwide.
Generally, clothes that fit well and are crisp will always look nice. I also think something more interesting than the boring office color palette of khaki/grey/white/light blue would be a good idea. Guys sometimes seem suspicious of color, which I don’t get. Wear something that complements your skin tone or eye color and that won’t fade into the background.
As for hair, I don’t know. I have no idea how to start describing men’s hair! I personally like short hair that’s a little messy or spiky on top à la Jamie Bamber, which a lot of guys in Zembla wear (excepting the hippies and their stinky dreads, of course), but the style that seems most popular here in New Wye is a bit longer on the top with messy bangs. A little bit Beatles bowl-cut and a little bit Zac Ephron. As to what may be fashionable in France, I have no idea.
Wait, since when have I ever just stopped when I didn’t know something? The magic of google.fr will resolve this issue! And here we go. What a fabulous website. It promises hair that is “bluffant et agréable à la fois.” Fabulueux. Take their advice at your own risk, however. (Um, actually, that disclaimer applies to my advice, too.)
If I look at that French men’s hair website any longer I am going to fall into some kind of internet fashion abyss, so I had better wrap this up. Here are my basic rules of fashion:
1. Clothes should fit well. (No baggy trousers or saggy knees or highwaters.)
2. Clothes should be classic but not boring.
3. You shouldn’t have to think about your clothes all night — instead, think about your awesome dance moves!
OK, readers, male or female, please join in and advise! (Suomichris, I am looking at you! You are a guy and are fashionable!) I seriously know nothing much about men’s fashion. I was just pretending here! Help John go win the heart of a foxy French lady!