Saturday, June 5, 2010

How to do Summer dressing for men.

My beloved and I were sitting in our favourite cafe on our Saturday morning date. (Yes, I know how to show a girl a good time.) It was my turn to sit facing the window: my beloved sees this as something of a disadvantage because, as a people watcher, I have a tendency to pay more attention to the world passing by than to her.

We are in the middle of a heat wave after an overlong, cold and miserable winter, where spring hardly got a look in. As I looked out of the window I was, in turns, perplexed, shocked and occasionally, frankly, disgusted by what I saw parading by. A collective madness descends on the British public when the sun comes out and we feel that atavistic compulsion to discard our winter layers and show our sun-starved and pale flesh to the world.

That is not of itself a bad thing but, having travelled extensively around Europe, North, South, East and West in the Summer months, I note a tendency in the British, only matched and occasionally beaten by our American cousins: the journey from winter woollies to summer shorts by passes one significant stop-over - the mirror. The French, the Italians, the Finns and the Estonians do summer in style. We, on the other hand, are the sartorially lost and confused.

When I next change jobs I am going to join the fashion police: as a meterosexual male and misanthrope I offer the following observation of the British male in the sunshine.

* British men and shorts: this is not a marriage made in Heaven. Amongst all the ill dressed tides of humanity that swept past the cafe window was an elderly man clearly wearing the shorts he was issued in 1946 on demob. Another man of indeterminate middle age wore the sort of genitalia defining very short shorts beloved of the 1970s soccer player. One overweight youth was wearing acres of baggy, bold, floral print.

* Varicose veins are not a fashion statement.

* Men who wear sandals with socks - black, brown and dark blue generally, tend to be given a wide berth by mothers with small children: it is an unconscious response designed to protect the young from exposure to evil.

* The wearing of sports gear as leisure wear: it's just lazy. Don't do it guys. Are you on your way to play sport? No, I thought not with that physique and a cigarette in your mouth.

* The wearing of combat camouflage: are you in the armed forces? (You wish.) No, I thought not. See previous response.

* Tattoos: why do we think they're called POLYNESIAN STYLE? (The clue's in the name.) Yes, because they look good on dark-skinned, muscular, Polynesian fishermen and not on skinny, ginger accountants from Wakefield. The upper-arm Celtic ring really did look cool in 1986. Its now 2010 (no, honestly) and its beginning to look like a serious lapse in judgement.

* Unless you've got that physique, shirts should always be worn unless you are within 50m of sea, lake, lido or river. If you do have that physique, cover up anyway. No-one likes a show off.

* Wear only one pattern: shirt, T-shirt or shorts/trousers. Do not mix and match. You'll look like a train wreck.

* Have you seen how much hair you have on your torso? I recognised you from Planet of the Apes.

* Allow me to introduce you to the concept of the anti-perpirant deodorant in the summer months. You smell and sweat patches are just not cool.

* That slim fitting shirt/T-shirt may have looked good last year. You've had a beer or two since then, no?

* No-one ever needs to see your navel.

* Crocs: don't even start me on that crime against humanity!

* The baseball cap was never cool.

* Look Youth, that woolly hat looked good in January. You just look ridiculous wearing it with a vest top and shorts, right?

* Taupe, beige and pistachio for the over 50s have been banned by the new Coalition government, as has anything with suede inserts.

This is what you do:

* You are allowed to look critically in the mirror.

* You may throw clothes away - especially ones that make you look like a knob and/or no longer fit. Get over it.

* You must go shopping when the summer clothes hit the shops, not once in a decade under sufferance. Take your girlfriend/wife with you. You don't have one? Why am I not surprised?