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A Crisis of Masculinity?


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#19 Henry Hall

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Posted 07 April 2015 - 07:29 PM

 

Fighting back by demanding that men adhere to an ossified, expensive and elaborate dress code is equally a dead end.

I'd agree with that too. Not quite sure I even implied it. For men and women a simple, affordable and fairly unobtrusive dress code will always work. Some people find it boring, so they go to one or other extreme. On the whole I'd say dressing like a 1930s count marginally wins over a 30 year old man dressing like a Japanese child.


Edited by Henry Hall, 07 April 2015 - 07:38 PM.

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#20 Learner

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Posted 08 April 2015 - 12:13 AM

It doesn't really have anything much to do with a "dress code", though. 

 

The jumping off point for the article is the length - or perceived lack thereof - of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's trousers.  There was a particular picture which I don't seem to be able to turn up of him standing, in time honoured manner, outside Number 11, holding the red box aloft, which drew attention to his "high-water" trouser hems, but really, is that any more objectionable than the ungainly puddle of flimsy fabric around the shoes that most men nowadays favour?

 

All in all, I think Mr Osborne (quite possibly with the aid of one or more "stylists") is doing a fair job of making himself look presentable, without appearing overly narcissistic, or contrivedly populist.  He's lost a fair amount of weight, and he's adopted a hairstyle that flatters his face and disguises his receding hairline, although, since Mr Osborne's hair is actually very fine and straight, I don't think that it's genuinely as "low-maintenance" as its short-and-neat appearance suggests.

 

I think that the real issue - vis-a-vis Mr Osborne's trousers, at least - is the state of garment construction, in general.  We don't expect, or even want, our politicians to look like movie stars at a premiere, but Mr Osborne doesn't wear whatever he can find on the Final Reductions rail at Top Man or T K Maxx, he wears Timothy Everest bespoke.  His suits really ought to look just, well, better than they do.

 

The article proceeds to criticize the current trend - and it's not a short trend, it's been around for at least a decade - of severely "undersizing" the modern business suit (I was going to say "lounge suit", but how many people nowadays buy and wear suits for no other reason than wanting to?) and ably illustrates the point with a photograph of Evan Davis.  I've seen some very young urchins wearing those skinny-cut suits, and, on them, they can look quite good, but for fully grown men like Mr Davis, the "slim fit" look doesn't even look good on people, like Mr Davis, who are slim.  The only way to pull it off is to put in enough time at the gym to develop big enough muscles that you can present a sort of "Incredible Hulk just about to bust out the seams" look.

 

And, leading on from the picture of Evan Davis, if men aren't going to wear ties any more, and assuming that nobody wants to adopt the full hairy sternum Saturday Night Fever look, shouldn't shirt collars be redesigned to look less, well, scruffy?


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#21 tailleuse

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Posted 08 April 2015 - 12:32 AM

I thought it was an interesting connection between the economy and men being starved... ??

 

In contemporary Western cultures, a thin physique signifies youth and privilege. Women have been aspiring to it for decades. Men are catching up. I'm not saying it's a good thing, just that I don't believe it's related to the economy or the kinds of clothes that men of conservative tastes wear.


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Dignity. Always, dignity. (Singin' in the Rain)


#22 tailleuse

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Posted 08 April 2015 - 12:43 AM

I'd agree with that too. Not quite sure I even implied it. For men and women a simple, affordable and fairly unobtrusive dress code will always work. Some people find it boring, so they go to one or other extreme. On the whole I'd say dressing like a 1930s count marginally wins over a 30 year old man dressing like a Japanese child.

 

I think the article implies.it.

 

It's funny, I love learning tailoring, which is obviously very intricate, but I equally love Japanese pattern books, which feature very simple and elegant designs.  Some American women think the Japanese models in the books look like children.  I think the critics have a very limited aesthetic in which if you're not overtly sexy all the time you're somehow not a woman.

 

Some (usually younger men) look really good in avant-garde clothes inspired by Japanese and European designers.  They need to have the right looks, personality, and lifestyle, but they can pull it off.


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#23 Henry Hall

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Posted 08 April 2015 - 04:33 AM

When Evan Davies took over on Newsnight, he apparently tweeted that he would be wearing a tie and did so on the first night, then never again. He really looks uncomfortable in his skinny suit. It's not because he's unaccustomed to suits either, because he's been in one for all of his other BBC roles (BBC News Economics editor,The Bottom Line, Dragons Den...). He keeps his jacket button fastened when he sits and it strains really badly.

 

George Osborne unfortunately looks like he is wearing the kind of suit teenage boys wore in the 30s, 40s, 50s. He pays Timothy Everest for this, while he cuts home help to the poorest pensioners. He could try going downmarket, like he did with his accent.


Each phenomenon which is taken up should be treated with as much thoroughness as possible at that standpoint... One thing at a time and that done well!

 

- Otto Jespersen (How to Teach a Foreign Language).


#24 Learner

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Posted 08 April 2015 - 06:26 AM

He probably looks uncomfortable because the damn things are uncomfortable.  It's all gone wrong.

 

Politicians are being encouraged not to wear ties because it makes them seem more "in touch with the people", but the main reason that most men only wear ties under suffrance nowadays is because they don't feel comfortable.  The reason that they don't feel comfortable is partly because shirt manufacturers have allowed under-educated "designers" to mangle their patterns so that shirts don't fit properly around people's necks anymore when the top button is fastened.

 

I had an interesting (to me, anyway) thought regarding the article's topic of "masculinity".  When I was a very small boy, the pinnacle of British masculinity was undoubtedly James Bond.  Only one man was able to challenge Bond at the UK box office, and that man was the pioneer of the skinny fit suit, Sir Norman Wisdom:

norm.jpg

 

It may have taken fifty years, but it seems that James Bond has finally conceded defeat:

bond.jpg

 

 


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#25 cperry

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Posted 08 April 2015 - 08:06 AM

In contemporary Western cultures, a thin physique signifies youth and privilege. Women have been aspiring to it for decades. Men are catching up. I'm not saying it's a good thing, just that I don't believe it's related to the economy or the kinds of clothes that men of conservative tastes wear.

The funny thing about the attempt to look slim with stressed clothing is that the look does the opposite in the mind of the beholder. Usually when things look too tight they speak, "I've outgrown my clothes." (Unless, of course, you're the Incredible Hulk.)

I hadn't thought of the look as a result of a bad economy..... but nothing more than a new look, or a look at me move (fair enough).

I was, however, thinking the "grunge" look in the States was a reflection of the poor economy here... Maybe I'm wrong...

I had to drive by Mayo Clinic yesterday, and with this discussion in mind, I couldn't help but notice the young men dressed in properly fitted suits headed here or there, most likely guys doing their residency at Mayo. I didn't see any socks due to short trousers, and as far as I could tell while driving, they had adequate stride room......

:)

Plenty of other people were wearing typical casual attire, jeans and such....

Edited by cperry, 08 April 2015 - 10:05 AM.


#26 greger

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Posted 08 April 2015 - 01:22 PM

http://s21.postimg.o...l2m7kn/bond.jpg

If this was made proper by a tailor this would look great. You guys can't adequately judge an idea by those who do a poor job. You guys who are tripping over the errors are missing the point.

#27 Learner

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Posted 08 April 2015 - 04:33 PM

http://s21.postimg.o...l2m7kn/bond.jpg

If this was made proper by a tailor this would look great. You guys can't adequately judge an idea by those who do a poor job. You guys who are tripping over the errors are missing the point.

I don't understand what you mean, at all.

 

Describe how a tailor would make it proper.  It's not some revolutionary new design that's been poorly executed, it's a basic lounge suit that's much too small, pretty much all over.  I don't understand what you mean by "tripping over the errors", and I don't understand what the point is that we're missing.


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#28 Henry Hall

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Posted 08 April 2015 - 09:19 PM

I had an interesting (to me, anyway) thought regarding the article's topic of "masculinity".  When I was a very small boy, the pinnacle of British masculinity was undoubtedly James Bond.  Only one man was able to challenge Bond at the UK box office, and that man was the pioneer of the skinny fit suit, Sir Norman Wisdom:

norm.jpg

 

It may have taken fifty years, but it seems that James Bond has finally conceded defeat.

 

Ahhh... Sir Norman. Memories of being home "ill" from school in the afternoons. Yes, Bond got there eventually, yet Norman's suit was only 30 shillings in comparison; including button fly. It puzzles me why he was never approached to play the super spy.The closest he got was his undercover work in On The Beat.

 

I very much like Daniel Craig as Bond, but in his publicity stills, he often looks like he desperately needs a toilet break.


Edited by Henry Hall, 08 April 2015 - 09:21 PM.

Each phenomenon which is taken up should be treated with as much thoroughness as possible at that standpoint... One thing at a time and that done well!

 

- Otto Jespersen (How to Teach a Foreign Language).


#29 cperry

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Posted 09 April 2015 - 01:27 AM

Just a practical wonder, do they leave inlays in the 'slim fit' jackets and trousers so that when the owner decides they want a little more ease, it's doable?

Along with Learner's thoughts, my husband has noted that the factor that has caused guys to skip the suit is the poor fit and man made fibers. Also the idea that a man has to wear it for the sake of climbing a corporate ladder isn't so appealing. But a jacket that fits the wearer in a natural fiber with good pockets and all....that could be cool.

We should be careful about poisoning the air in saying nobody wears suits any more. Yeah, I know we've been more casual in general, but I notice people wearing them all the time, and not just when heading to the office. I missed Easter Sunday this past weekend due to an ill child, but I enjoyed seeing the pictures of other families and friends on Facebook.... Some guys only wore a nicer shirt and tie, but several also wore the jacket....

Is it a trend coming back or a classic that people like??

I do think there are some professions where it is important they dress the part and wear clothing that is respectable and says, 'I can be trusted.' Politicians and doctors etc. But no suit can speak more loudly than actions....

Edited by cperry, 09 April 2015 - 01:30 AM.

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#30 greger

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Posted 09 April 2015 - 03:55 AM

Learner, I've come across closed minded tailors. Glad you're not one of them.

#31 SPOOKIETOO

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Posted 09 April 2015 - 05:23 AM

Here's a twist on the discussion:

 

The photo in question is Daniel Craig at what appears to be a Bond movie premier. Seems to me that given those circumstances one would be attired in a bespoke suit. (If not at that moment - then when?)

 

Yes, the suit fits dreadfully.

 

Are we sure there wasn't a tailor involved? Not necessarily a good tailor, but a tailor none-the-less.

 

Jus' sayin'.

 

Then again, celebrities receive many of their garments "for free". A case of receiving what was paid for perhaps? 


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#32 Learner

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Posted 09 April 2015 - 06:32 AM

I don't know the origin of that particular suit, but I do know that Tom Ford supplied the suits worn in the movie, and that Mr Craig also likes to wear Tom Ford suits, so it might conceivably be that.  My perception of Tom Ford's designs is that there's an element of "Tommy Nutter for anorexics" about them (this is from 2011) -

jon-k6.jpg

- which would contrarily suggest that it isn't, but I freely confess to having no real interest in - or appreciation for - fashion, or the vagaries of fashion designers, so who knows?

 

I don't think it's appropriate to say that Craig's suit fits "dreadfully";  I'm pretty sure that the way that it "fits" him is exactly the way that it's intended to fit him.


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#33 Henry Hall

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Posted 09 April 2015 - 06:59 AM

Re: the pattern matching on the above suit. As a comparison I saw an old 1970s Michael Parkinson interview yesterday, with him wearing a chalkstripe suit (Parkinson being one of Douglas Hayward's old showbiz clients). The stripes at the shoulder, lapel/collar seam, and the top sleeve were all matched. That's really something to boast about.


Each phenomenon which is taken up should be treated with as much thoroughness as possible at that standpoint... One thing at a time and that done well!

 

- Otto Jespersen (How to Teach a Foreign Language).


#34 SPOOKIETOO

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Posted 09 April 2015 - 07:24 AM

Oh Henry!   Eeeek!   Anorexic men are as scary looking as anorexic women! There apparently IS such a thing as too thin.

 

 

I'll have to agree with others that there are some men that can pull off the over-fitted look. IMO Daniel Craig is not one of those men. He always looks serious and he seriously looks like someone terribly uncomfortable in his own clothes. If Tom Ford himself fit this suit - realizing it may not be one of his - again IMO, he screwed up. Its too tight and yes - it fits dreadfully! There's a photo of Usher - posted on C&T somewhere - with a slim fit jacket and he looks great. Can't say that at all about Daniel. He looks like he had to borrow his little brothers suit. Just not good.

 

Its such a silly fad, and unfortunately it literally leaves absolutely no room what so ever for a mistake. Everything must be perfect - something virtually non-existant in the human body.

 

The entire point of tailoring is to create comfort and both accommodate and help camouflage any flaws. That man's almost naked body is gorgeous! That suit creates flaws where virtually none exist.



#35 MANSIE WAUCH

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Posted 09 April 2015 - 07:26 AM

In that suit, Daniel Craig looks more like Norman Wisdom than Norman Wisdom, and where does he keep his gun?


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#36 napoli

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Posted 09 April 2015 - 09:52 AM

I have to say that the beard and 'mankle' look, beloved of hipster types, fair gets on my nerves. They wear their trousers so low they look short-legged, then turn up the bottoms of the trousers (jeans) because the bottoms are dragging on the floor!

 

It bothers me as an apprentice old coot, but I know I can't do anything about it. Like the punks Napoli despises (but which I don't even half as much) I know styles, no matter how daft or different belong to a youth culture. What is worrisome is the number of men knocking 40, who adopt styles from youth culture. That looks atrocious. Can men in their late thirties, who grew up wearing casual clothes, be expected to trade in these clothes for suits, tweed jacket and flannels just because they hit 40?

 

I don't care all that much that people dress badly. In fact I want them to wear t-shirts and jeans, so that I have a chance of standing out at a party in better clothes. I get the feeling that people who bemoan the dominance of casual dress would be even more aghast if everyone took their advice and suited up. If that happened about 10,000 #menswear blogs would have to close down.

 

As for it being necessarily related to a degeneration of order, law and moral principles; that strikes me as right-wing, conservative drivel.

 

 

Jajaja, That´s it. Law and Order. Ronald Reagan!

 

Edit;

 

The one who says about doubt about being a macho, i have to say that most of the pictures on this thread are of  men married with men!!! ( not joking) and if we are talkning about the last Bond, add more to that, himself and Tom Ford and his husband.

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Edited by napoli, 09 April 2015 - 09:57 AM.





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