Fashion Faux Pas


Spotted:  Co-worker wearing white pants and white polo shirt to office.

The old rule about white after Labor Day and it being a summer color, has been out of vogue for a few years now.  However, there are still times when white is inappropriate.  Funerals spring to mind as being the number one most inappropriate place, along with weddings (unless you are the bride, or it’s white-tie).  But what about the office?  What makes white on a pant such an offensive color in the office?  Offensive to me, at least.

First, it’s the fabric choice.  Linen, lightweight cotton or tropical-weight wool?  Definitely a no-no in the office.  Those are far more casual than necessary and they end up looking like you came straight from Bermuda to your cubicle.  Also, there’s a sheerness factor here that is usually ignored.  My personal opinion is that no one, and I mean NO ONE, should be able to look at your pants and see what color/style your underwear are.  So make sure those pants aren’t see-through and if they are – don’t wear your leopard-print string bikini-briefs.   So what fabric can be white and still classy and sophisticated?  Twill (be careful – you don’t want to look like a painter) or winter-weight wool.

Second, it’s the color.  Some khaki pants are so close to white, you could say they were off-white.  I have no problem with this – it’s a twill.  But a bright white?  Save that for a Tide commercial or the Palm Springs White Party.  A creamy white color is probably the best thing here.

As for white shirts?  Those are pretty much appropriate anytime, but please remember that sometimes, the material is so thin that you can see your nipples.  And that’s never appropriate at an office.

Oh my, has it really been that long since I’ve updated?  I suppose.  I am currently in the midwest which is where fashion means nothing.  Seriously.  These are people who think that Crocs are appropriate for a Christmas dinner.   My dad’s wife actively encouraged him to wear his new black Crocs to Christmas dinner.  They are not just the regular Crocs.  Nay, these are the ones with the fleece lining.  Thankfully, though my father is not fashion-concsious at all (this is a man who tucks in sweaters, after all), he decided to go with a non-athletic brown sneaker.   Here’s my problem with Crocs: they are ugly.  If you are a woman, they make your legs look dumpy and squat.  If you are a man, they make you look like a male nurse.  There are 3 places you are allowed to wear Crocs: if you actually are a nurse, go for it – it looks like a part of a nurse’s uniform and they work.  If you are a gardener.  I imagine they would be cool and comfortable in the summer and warm in the winter.  If you are at home and need a little houseshoe or something.  THAT IS IT.  I AM SO ANTI-CROCS!

Another thing I’m against is this idea that brown is only a neutral.  Here’s the scenario.  I wore a brown button down shirt and a pair of brown dress pants with a black belt and black shoes.  The black acts as the neutral and the brown is the color.  This is not the same as mixing brown and black shoes and belts as neutrals.   THE BROWN IS THE MAIN COLOR.  IT IS NOT A NEUTRAL IN THIS CASE.  As my idols, Stacy and Clinton always say: It doesn’t need to match, it needs to go.  My outfit went.   Brown is actually quite a good color to use in an outfit.  Very few people look bad in brown and it’s a lot warmer and richer than black.

And lastly – Christmas-themed clothing.   STOP IT.  You can say “Christmas” with your clothing without actually having a Christmas tree on your sweater.  Seriously.  There’s no reason for it.  WE ALL KNOW IT IS CHRISTMAS. We do not need your holly green cable knit sweater with the Rudolph the Reindeer applique on it to let us know it is the holidays.  You know how you do a holiday outfit?  A red cable knit sweater over a nice button-down shirt and a pair of slacks for men.  For women, a nice dress in a bright, rich color preferably in a shiny, shimmery fabric.  That’s it.  No reindeer brooches or earrings in the shape of wreaths.  Or sweaters with Santas on them saying “Ho Ho Ho!”  Of course, with every fashion dictate, there is an exception.  In this case it is teachers.  Elementary school teachers to be exact.  They are allowed to wear that stuff to be cutesy and fun.  But if you are a teacher?  You need to leave that in your school.  Please don’t wear that out in public.

So Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah dear readers.  I’ll probably post a year-end post before the new year!

I’m not a totally vicious bitch and I rarely complain about some of the stuff people wear, because well, some people don’t have a problem looking like crap in public.  And that’s okay.  For them.  But that doesn’t mean I won’t go off on them here for dressing like they rolled out of bed and put on whatever grimy clothes they found on the floor.

So, I’m against capri pants.  I loathe that they made a comeback a few years (YEARS!) ago and now they are hanging on by a thread.  They are the leggings of the late 90s.  Now, leggings are popular NOW, but in the late 90s, they weren’t.  So the capri pant is out of style.  Particularly the ones that stop like an inch above the ankle.  WHY!?!?!?  That’s so unnecessary and to me, it looks like you just grew too tall for your pants.  It’s tacky and worse, now I have to see your socks.

Which brings me to a sock faux pas.  Seriously, guys.  WHITE SOCKS GO WITH ATHLETIC SHOES.  BLACK SOCKS GO WITH BLACK SHOES.  Also, I am of the belief that if you are wearing blue pants, you should wear brown shoes.  Because then you can wear blue socks.  But if you wear blue pants with black shoes, you should wear black socks.  This is confusing.  But blue socks often look the same as black socks in anything but the brightest light.  So guys, buy black socks.  ONLY. 

Ok – I’m done for this entry.  I’ll have another entry later this week with some shopping tips.  Because everyone seems to need them.

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).

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.