Heading back into London I find myself yet again on a train. With dusty seats and no wi-fi, my only alternative is to observe my fellow passengers. People watching has and always will be a favourite pastime of mine.
Opposite me on this stuffy carriage are a couple in their mid 20s. She’s on her phone and he’s reading the sport section of the daily newspaper. Typical man. Here’s what I hear from their conversation.
“Babe, Julie’s just sent us an invite to that house warming of hers.”
“Oh sounds good babe.”
“Think I’ll get my hair done for it.”
“Yeah good idea babe.”
Quick side note so that I might add that these people are the generic straight couple you may see daily. He’s probably distracted by football or beer to be fair.
“I’m gonna wear those green pumps I’ve just bought!”
“And you can wear your new polo with those denim shorts I bought you.”
And that was it. That was the moment I gracefully got up from my seat and relocated to another carriage. No I’m not straightest or a heterophobe. But what I had heard was this “man” willingly let his other half decide what he will be wearing to this party. Without skipping a heartbeat he unknowingly let his fashion opinion be taken out of his hands and decided for him.
But Alex!?! I hear you cry. She may be doing him a favour. He may be a terrible dresser. She could be saving the both of them heaps of embarrassment.
I don’t care. I really don’t care. I am a big believer in everyone wearing what they want to wear. Yes, I do acknowledge and comment on trends but that is purely from a professional glance. I have a specific taste in clothing, like everyone. Do not mix my words up. I don’t like everyone’s outfits when I’m out and about, but the fact of the matter is – it’s theirs.
A man’s taste in fashion, like everyone else’s, may not be to people’s liking but on some level he feels comfortable wearing what he has chosen. He’s made several decisions to complete his outfit choice that day. They may not be the right ones, but he has still made them.
Do you know why the men’s section of a department store is always more tidier than a woman’s? It’s because men are statistically quicker decision makers. Like in the bedroom men get in and get out. They see something, they think about it and they buy it. Shopping trip completed. Off to the football.
And it’s the same with fashion. Men will wear what men want to wear. And gays, women and even mothers shouldn’t get involved. They can offer advice – sure! But not takeover.
Believe me when I say I know some men who, in my personal opinion, are completely useless at dressing themselves. However, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Designers, retailers and stylists are all jumping on the bandwagon and offering creative and professional solutions to help men dress themselves.
Topman Oxford Street personal shopping service is open 7 days a week. ASOS.com offer a stylist IM service that enables you to be able to talk virtually to a real stylist about your fashion needs. Perfect for those shy and embarrassed men whose lack of social skills ends up with them bulk buying white t-shirts and classic jeans. Grensons shoes just launched a design your own pair of shoes feature in their shop with stylists on hand to help.
Speaking of stylists, high end and clever retailers will now hire personal stylists, shoppers and even tailors to suit, excuse the pun, every man’s needs. They’ve realized that staff sell the products and by God do some men need selling to.
What I’m getting at is that although men, and everyone really, should dress how they want, there is an option for those who want to improve their look. Fashion doesn’t always come easy to people. I look back through my Facebook timeline and realize to this day how hard I found it. And still do to be fair.
For example on a night out you may see me in Aztec print trousers, chiffon shirts and a statement gold cuff. I’ll probably be clinging to my Zara clutch bag and sipping a vodka and lemonade in one of those gay glasses. Imagine if I ever did go straight clubbing in that attire. I would, without question, get a dozen of strange looks, harsh words and maybe several confrontations. But this outfit is chosen by me, styled by me and more importantly enjoyed by me.
So, do your straight male friends a favour, share this article. Rub it in front of their faces, post it on their Facebook wall, retweet it and even read it aloud to them. If you’re doing this for your boyfriend you may want to do it naked to fully get his attention. Just a useful tip I’ve picked up along the way.
But most importantly, let them dress themselves!