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Style

I get occasional ribbing from friends because I like to watch Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. Well, they can laugh all they want, because I've learned a lot of valuable things from that show, and I feel it has done an excellent job of raising awareness among men.

It isn't just the show; it's the whole metrosexual phenomenon. It's now acceptable, even cool, for men to be aware of style, to dress well, to take care of their bodies and their homes, to cook. This is something that seems to be left out of most American men's educations.

I lucked out a bit in that I know how to cook. Both my parents cook quite well, so food preparation has never been solely a woman's dominion in my experience.

But the equivalent knowledge in style, grooming, and decor was never imparted to me, and I think that is true of most American men. For us, clothing is functional. Grooming is about getting clean. Decor, again, is strictly functional. (As Steve in Coupling would say, don't ask us which wallpaper pattern we like best -- we're not equipped to answer that!) Not that there is anything wrong with functionality, but it is just a part, not the whole, of the picture.

So Queer Eye has opened eyes, helped educate me in a sense. Not that I take what they say as Gospel truth. I don't, for example, necessarily agree with Carson's couture choices. But the Fab Five don't simply tell you to wear this or use that. They explain the principles behind their choices, and they accept that different principles will apply to different people. Armed with this knowledge, I can further explore these subjects online or in fashion magazines or with those friends and colleagues who always seem to look good. And I've learned what works for me -- clothing, skin products, hair products, etc.

I've always shunned fashion, not caring for the whims and fancies of people in that industry. I had never before made the distinction between fashion and style. I made the mistake of forsaking style while rejecting fashion. But I am now starting to develop my own personal style, instead of continuing with a mishmash of looks which may or may not suit me. I still have a lot of work to do, but I am learning. Jeans are no longer just jeans, for instance: I know about different cuts and washes, etc. I know a little more about accessorizing, choosing colors, textures, cuts, etc.

The look I think works best for me is that of the rugged sophisticate. I might wear workman's jeans with thick belt, gaudy belt buckle, boots, and a button-down dress shirt, reflecting the dichotomy between casual, laid back and more sophisticated sides. Or, for the semi-formal look, I might dress up a pair of darker, straight-cut jeans with a stylish shirt, slimmer black belt, a black suit jacket, and dressy shoes. Et cetera. Shopping can be an adventure now and not just a chore.

I still have plenty of duds in my wardrobe. As I am able to afford things, I will slowly phase out the duds and replace them with something that better reflects my personal sense of style, now that I have the beginnings of a clue.

That said, anybody want to go clothes shopping with me Saturday afternoon/evening?

Comments

surrealestate
Sep. 24th, 2004 12:38 pm (UTC)
I would be happy to shop with you, but I can't do it this weekend. Good luck!

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