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October 18th, 2017

Insight

Put on the Slacks

Greg Crosby

By Greg Crosby

Published August 29, 2014

Yes, guys, clothes definitely do make the man

Note to all men, stop with the suit jacket worn with jeans look already. It's a phony, studied, self-conscious look that's been done to death. It's also a schizophrenic look.

Why be only half dressed up? What's the point? If you want to dress up, wear a suit or a sport jacket with slacks, if you want to dress down, wear jeans and a T-shirt. But wearing a sport jacket (or suit jacket) and tie with blue jeans is like wearing bib overalls with black patent leather tuxedo shoes. Honestly, it doesn't look "cool," it only looks dopey.

Politicians on the campaign trail wear the blazer blue jeans combination. They must think that wearing jeans shows the electorate that they are "in touch" with the common man, while wearing the blazer conveys a sense of "seriousness."

Actually it does neither. They want it both ways, but sometimes you just can't have it both ways. They come off looking like they're pandering, which is of course exactly what they're doing.

TV news commentators and political pundits dress that way too; undoubtedly because they figure the camera only shows them from the waist up. Why bother wearing slacks when the viewers can't see what you're wearing below your tie, they think. So my question is, why wear any pants at all? Why not just sit there in your shorts? The act of putting on a pair of jeans is just as labor intensive as putting on slacks. And the truth is, a good pair of light-weight wool slacks is more comfortable to wear than a pair of stiff tight jeans.

But like so much having to do with fashion it isn't about comfort, it's all about being young, with it, and cool. Bad enough when the twenty-somethings dress this way, they're too young to know any better, but when the forty, fifty and sixty year olds do it they make fools of themselves.

It reminds me of the old men with the receding hairlines that grow long ponytails. Hey bud, it doesn't make you look young, it makes you look like an old guy who has an irrational fear of growing old. This may come as a shock to you, but the twenty-two year old chicks still won't go out with you (unless you have twenty-two million dollars, and then it doesn't matter WHAT you look like).

Here's a little secret, there's nothing more cool, nothing better looking for a man than a well-tailored suit. It says to the world that you care about yourself and you're a grown up. Ties, pocket squares, socks, and other accessories can be customized to your personal style and personality, but begin with a great suit. There aren't many women that wouldn't be impressed by a well-scrubbed, well put-together man in a drop-dead suit. It just telegraphs so much.

And now that I've made the case for you to wear a suit, maybe I can convince you to wear it properly. What does that mean? Well, for one thing it means pull your freaking pants up to your waist. Wearing pants down below your under-belly at around your groin might be wonderful for prison convicts, rappers, gangbangers and other questionable dudes, but for a real man, especially one in a suit, it just doesn't make it.

Your suit trousers and slacks should fit no lower than your waistline. Unfortunately most suits on the rack today are made with low rise waistlines, some even three or four inches below the navel. This is too bad because it throws off the whole drape of the suit. And the necktie shouldn't hang down so low that it sticks out beneath the buttoned jacket, which gives the look of a circus clown or a burlesque comic.

But even today's skimpy suits are better than no suit at all.

If you are financially able, invest in a bespoke or custom-made suit, that way it can be made to your exact specifications.

There's nothing like it. Want to know how a well-made suit should fit? Watch any Cary Grant movie (with the possible exception of "Father Goose" in which he purposely looks like a bum).

Jeans are great for seven year olds playing in the backyard with their friends. Jeans are fine for grown men when mowing the lawn, washing the car, or plowing the south forty. But for dress, it's high time we men grew up and started looking like adults again.

And that means top and bottom.

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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California.

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