Tuesday, September 14, 2010

How to help a guy who wants to look dapper


I have a friend who has historically not been very *into* fashion. Or clothing beyond jeans and a t-shirt (bonus points if it references Transformers, TMNT or X-Men). Recently, however, he's begun to get a little more comfortable in his skin and experimenting with clothes and he is debuting somewhat of a new look at a wedding of a mutual friend. Now normally I'd say "Who gives an eff what you wear to someone else's wedding? You're a guest" but I really want him to feel like he looks f*cking awesome for once. The way that only new clothes can make you feel. The way that boys so rarely get to feel when they're stuffed into uncomfortable suits. So the question is: He's bought a yellow and blue plaid bow tie and literally talked about nothing else for the past two weeks. He wants to marry it with a casual fedora and sport coat for a sort of Jason Mraz meets Dr. Who look. How does one pull this off without looking like Christopher Lloyd in "Back to the Future?"


P.S. Back story. This kid's been in the closet a LONG time. He's a huge Ghostbusters & Ninja Turtles nerd (and my husband's best friend). It's kind of a HUGE deal for him to care about this. Like the bow tie is his way of coming out without actually saying the words. If that makes sense...


Dude is jumping straight into the deep end here.

The best advice I can give him/you is to MAKE SURE EVERYTHING FITS. Guys who live in jeans and t-shirts always buy their dress clothes too big.

Photo of MGMT (a couple of guys who rarely wear shirts, let alone suits) by Richard Burbridge courtesy of GQ.


  1. and get a simple, classic fedora. having worked for a hat company for a few years, nothing kills an outfit for me like a bad cheap, trendy hat.

  2. "Dude is jumping straight into the deep end here", might be my new favorite quote ever.

    fit is SUPER important. also, with a plaid bow tie and a fedora, i would keep everything else on the simple side. some of my gay boyfriends have a tendency to load on the gimmick. they can usually pull it off, but they end up looking very gay vs. very dapper. so, i guess it depends what route he wants to take...

  3. Yup, the classic mistake is huge and baggy. Slim fit classic white shirt (but no too tight obv) and must be cut with a waist, the jacket too, slim but not tight trousers hemmed to end just above the heel when he's standing. For that look I'd go for either yellow converse or nice brown leather oxford brogues.

    And now I want to go virtual men's shoe shopping.

  4. I almost universally love a good (even crazy) bow tie. Fedoras, on the other hand, can go so wrong, so fast. An ill conceived hat tends to instantly convince me that the wearer is douchey beyond redemption. An amazing hat is amazing, of course. Enlist help.

  5. cannot stress the fitting issue enough. my man got his wedding suit custom fitted by the tailor of the store he bought the suit at and it made a MASSIVE difference.

    and for shoes, you can almost NEVER go wrong with classic oxfords.

  6. I second Celia's comment about keeping everything else simple. You know that saying that says something like "before leaving the house a woman should look in the mirror and remove one of her accessories"? This totally applies to guys, too.

    The bowtie is the statement peice, so everything else should be simple, clean, well-tailored, and simple. Did I already say simple? He'll come off looking like "I don't even have to try", which is much more charming than "I tried really hard."

    Exaple of an outfit that showcases a bowtie very nicely imo: http://ruffledblog.com/Images/posts/groom-suit-outfits2.jpg

    He also might find this useful: http://www.jcrew.com/AST/Navigation/tieabowtie.jsp

  7. that reminds me, ESB, i was going to start rick rolling you with links to the 'crew.

    i'm anti-hat, but to echo jamie and celia, if he's going to hat, he should be prepared to drop a hundo or so for a really nice one. nothing says "douche" like a bad hat. (literally. they make that sound when you smush them.)

  8. @ESB It's a great tie-tying tutorial! I should have bit.ly'd that shit.

  9. Joining the chorus of "do not buy a cheap hat" comments. Get a good hat, from an actual hat shop, not a street vendor.

  10. um. this happened to my husband. who is not closeted.

    somewhere down the line, he decided to trade his metallica t-shirts for the fitted, collared sort. i like to think it was my good taste rubbing off on him. (no?)

    i'd skip the fedora and focus on the shoes. the SHOES are where it's at.

  11. I just took my favorite gay boy/man coming out of the closet shopping. In San Francisco, at M.A.C. The guy who owns the place is the great person of type in the universe. And as he put it, the guy needs to wear clothes that make HIM look good, not pieces of clothing that he thinks are fab in isolation. Guys have trouble with this concept, gay or straight. So ask your friend, what does he like best about himself? If he saw himself, what would he think is hot? Everything other than the bowtie needs to support that hot characteristic.

  12. I'd say lose the hat idea if you're rocking a bow-tie. One key accessory, I say. If he wants a second one, surely there are TMNT cufflinks out there.