February 2008


Ok, I’m about to get my Nina Van Horn on here (remember her tirade on Just Shoot Me about how no one dresses formally anymore and then she falls in love with the J.Crew catalog and meets a guy named Jay Crew and thinks it’s the founder only it’s not?).  And don’t get me wrong, I’m as casual as the next person.  Hell, I don’t even tuck in shirts that should be tucked in.  As long as the event I’m dressing for is informal.

Case in point: The Oscars.  Are. A. Formal. Event. FORMAL.  That means black tie, gents (which is what I’m really pissed about. Most women understand the necessity of dressing formally at the Oscars).  BLACK TIE.  That means, simply put, a tuxedo.  Cut like a tuxedo.  Not a double-breasted, double-vented overly long cut “blazer” with a tuxedo collar.  It doesn’t work that way.

Now, there are a few people I will forgive this error. 1. Behind the scenes folks.  To me, it’s not that bad for a makeup artist or sound editor to show up wearing a suit.  It works. FOR THEM.  Same with musicians (who, frankly, can wear whatever they damn well please).  I mean, Glen Hansard is dressed pretty decently for a musician:

Glen Hansard
and he looks perfectly fine here.  FOR A MUSICIAN.  But my dear readers.  It is never ok to show up at a formal event in anything other than Black Tie (unless you are told otherwise). This does not mean that you need to run to Al’s Formal Wear and buy/rent a tux.  It does mean that your shirt needs to require cufflinks, the jacket and pants should be black and your tie should be black (preferably silk).  You can even wear a cumberbund.  Or a vest.  Hell, you can even go with color (solids only, please).  But for all that is good and pure, do not wear a blazer.  It should be a tuxedo jacket.  The collar doesn’t matter (neither does the shirt’s).  And the shoes?  Shiny, black, patent leather oxfords.  Not colored shoes. Not matte finish shoes.  Not cap-toed or wing-tipped.  Spats are optional.

And lastly.  If you are attending a black tie event: WEAR AN UNDERSHIRT.  You will get hot, you will want to take off your jacket; you will NOT want everyone to see your nipples and your underarm sweat seeping through the fabric.

So, please, formal wear for formal events.  (And belt or braces. NOT both.  It bears repeating).

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I’ve been thinking about this topic ever since I saw Niles the Butler on The Nanny wear a pair of sock garters and wondered why he would wear them with the advent of elastic to hold socks in their place.  I guess it would be in character for an English Butler (played by a southerner) to wear sock garters as they come off as stodgy and old-fashioned.

And yet, if women wear garter belts or garters, it’s considered sexy.  WHY?  I guess men’s legs aren’t as sexualized as women’s which would explain why men don’t wear high heels, either.  However…I think more men should wear sock garters.  Even though no one really sees them.  Because I know that when I wear my pair of sock garters, it feels like I’m just *that* much closer to being really classy and posh.  Now, there is a place to wear them, and that is not jeans, shorts, or khakis.  I’m thinking a dressier pant needs to be worn with them.  Also, I just like a vintage look (and it don’t get much more vintage than sock garters).

Just don’t wear them where anyone but your significant other can view them, or you may just get laughed at.  Also, keep in mind, they do still serve a practical purpose (as I know my socks fall down a bit during the day).

Ok, so even though my bank account is tapped at the mo’ (thank you very much Martha’s birthday night as well as Camel Lights), I still go shopping online fairly regularly. Mostly because I don’t have to leave the comfort of my home and I don’t have to get dressed up for shopping. Which, tangent: why on earth do some store clerks make you feel like crap for wearing anything other than nice clothes. I hate feeling like a total schlub when I’m just looking at some clothes. The male sales associates at Express are the worst. Anyway, I just wanted to throw in some recommendations for great online shopping sites.

  • Shoes.com – Oh, how I love them. They aren’t as diverse in selection as zappos.com (they provide Clinton and Stacy’s shoes on What Not to Wear), but they’ll do. And if you are a member of 24 hour fitness, there’s a nice discount there, too. Love it.
  • Urban Outfitters – I know, they are terribly “scene’ and “hipster” and trying to find any size that is normal is beyond futile. Apparently every male who shops here is 26×30 for pants measurements. But, they have an awesome catalog of trendy clothes at pretty decent prices. Stay away from the Urban Renewal line of stuff. Why pay $60 for a used track jacket when you can go to Goodwill and get one for $1. Also, track jackets are over. Just sayin’.
  • OldNavy.com – They are smartly moving away from their family-friendly theme which is a good thing, in my opinion. The clothes aren’t exactly HUGELY fashion-forward (for men anyway), but they are generally classic and make for good foundation wardrobe pieces (button-downs, khakis and sweaters). They also have a business casual line that looks really sharp compared to Wal-Mart’s (and sometimes cheaper than Wal-Mart’s).
  • Target.com – This one is for the ladies; Target’s GO International line is fabulous. They bring in guest designers for limited time lines. Coming up, Milla Jovovich’s line. LOVE IT.

So, there you have it. My favorite places to shop online. Also, I should note that tomorrow is President’s Day and therefore a national shopping holiday. THE SALES! Oh, THE SALES! I’ll be heading out to Macy’s for sure.

So, it’s been awhile since I last updated (totally forgot about New York Fashion Week and frankly, I ain’t dealing with it this round anyway). Plus, real life has to take priority. But, I haven’t forgotten about this little blog. I’ve been thinking about some of my least favorite fashion faux pas that I see everyday. I work for a mortgage company that has a “business-casual” approach for most of the company. Can I just lament the fact that formal business attire has been retired? Anyway, here goes:

1. Belt with braces (suspenders):
Belts and braces
My issue here is mainly that you are using 2 support accessories that don’t need to be used together. In this picture, the issue is that his braces are the button kind and there’s very little chance that the pants will fall without them. On the other hand, the pants have belt loops and thus look weird without a belt. So, dilemma? Here’s my own verdict: Braces or belt, not both. Generally, go with a belt. Not that braces don’t have a place in men’s fashion, because they do. But if the pants have belt loops, wear a belt!

2. White Socks/Black Shoes

Black Shoes White Socks

Ok, so how stupid does this look? First, no one can pull this look off (no, not even Michael Jackson [Thriller era]). It’s glaringly obvious that you don’t know what you are doing and it looks incredibly like you do not like the look of an all-black bottom half and so you have decided to give the finger to the fashionistas and wear white athletic socks with formal black shoes (the ones above look like penny loafers, so not formal, but it’s not casual either). Second, it ruins the entire outfit; it’s like you are a plant with wonderful stems and leaves and flowers but a terrible case of root rot. Same problem here. Is it ever ok to wear white socks with black shoes? In my opinion, no. But, if you are wearing black sneakers, then you could get away with it, provided you aren’t wearing pants (shorts work better). But there are black athletic socks that work just as well. You could also use RIT dye to color your white socks black if you are too cheap to buy black socks.

And lastly, because I’m getting hungry and I don’t like doing HUGE entries (that came out wrong).

3. French cuff shirts with no jacket

French cuffs

The french cuff is made for being under a jacket. Plain and simple. I think the issue with this look is that people like the white collar and cuffs with the color body. It’s a nice look, methinks, but you can find this look on regular cuffs. It’s a formal shirt and should be worn with a jacket (I like a single vent in a jacket, but a double vent works, too).

So, that’s it for today. I have a few more fashion peeves that really bother me, but I’ll save those for another entry.