Friday, February 10

The only time in my life I'll ever play Fashion Police.

Thanks to TBOGG I've been having fun the last couple days browsing through Go Fug Yourself's archives of rampant, unchecked celebrity bad taste; and I knew this was the kind of thing baby sis would be all over, given that it plugs right into both her day job (fashion journalism) and her after-hours hobby (merciless snarking).

Still, both GFY and baby sis approach this topic from the women-critiquing-women angle, and while they're certainly the ones most qualified to do so, that doesn't mean a man (like myself, for instance) can't get in on the belittlement, too. Because -- at the risk of sounding horribly sexist here -- when a woman gets all dressed up to go out, there's a good chance that at least part of her motivation for doing so is to grab the attention of whatever dudes happen to be out and about that evening. And though GFY and Practically Harmless certainly have enough expertise in the area of fashion to be able to offer reasonably informed opinions as to what guys like and what they don't, the only way you're going to get 100-percent airtight dope on what men think is to ask a man.

So I thought I'd give everyone out there some insight as to what guys don't want to see when they go out to bars, clubs, parties, orgies, whatever to meet women. Now, if you're a female and your purpose for getting dressed up on a Friday or Saturday night is not to pick up a guy -- you're in a stable relationship, you've decided you don't need a man to be happy, you're saving yourself for Jesus, whatever -- then feel free to take all this with a Costco economy-sized grain of salt. Otherwise, pay attention, because I'm trying to help you here, and evidently some of y'all need it. Now, I don't pretend to speak for every single straight man out there, but with most of this stuff I have a feeling I speak for a large majority of them. And I know there's a chance you may see something on this list and be like, "Hey! I wear that pretty regularly and I never have a problem getting guys!", and that may well be the case, but when a guy sizes you up at the bar on a Saturday night, the lack of the following fashion items on your person could mean the difference between "Wow, this looks like a girl I really want to get to know" and "She's hot, I guess -- I just hope I can hit it and sneak out the back door before she asks me my last name." Yes, it's horrible, but we men are just shallow enough that gaucho pants can potentially be the dealbreaker in terms of us ever calling you again.

OK, I've said too much. Let's begin.

1. Mukluks
Every year there's at least one female fashion trend that becomes outrageously popular despite flying in the face of logic, sense, good taste, cultural appropriateness, pretty much everything. This past year, evidently buoyed by the beief that Ugg boots just weren't stupid enough, we have mukluks. Because when you women aren't around, when we guys are sitting around drinking beers and halfheartedly watching an NFL game we're interested in only to see how well our fantasy players are doing, we have conversations just like this: "Man, you know who's hot? Eskimos. God, I would nail an Eskimo in a heartbeat. Those round faces, windburned cheeks, and especially the big bulky furry clothes . . . anytime a National Geographic comes in the mail and the cover story's about the Yukon Territory or Siberia, I practically have to hide it under my mattress."

I mean, I was a little frightened when the absurdly-pointy-toed-shoe trend really started blowing up, because for a while all I could think about was what would happen if I ever had to take a shot in the nuts from one of those. In retrospect, though, I didn't realize how good we had it -- they were a little scary, but after a while they got to looking sexy. Mukluks, it's safe to say, will never be sexy. Particularly in freaking Birmingham, where even in the dead of winter it's rare to see the temperature venture below 45. Rarer still to see enough snow on the ground that you could wear these and not look like you belonged in a padded cell. Ladies, unless your job is transferring you to Ketchikan or Yellowknife, you're better off burning these things for warmth than wearing them.

2. Gaucho pants
Another semiannual trend seems to be that somebody, somewhere, makes a concerted effort to fuck up pants. Pants! After socks, probably the simplest item of clothing ever invented! Simplest and most effective, yet the designers just can't leave well enough freaking alone. First they threw capris at us, cutting pants off just below the knees and thereby flaunting the calves in a way that would leave only 2 percent of the female population looking attractive. When that fizzled out, they made the cuffs so bizarrely wide that they hide a woman's entire foot and leave her looking like a slightly fancier version of the skateboarders I hung out with in the Denny's parking lot when I was in high school. But a few months ago somebody decided to combine the worst features of capri pants and the weird-ass wide-leg trousers and dredge up the gaucho. I'm sorry, but every time I see these, I think, "Damn, someone forgot to change out of their jammies before they left the house." Ladies, is your pop-culture memory that short? Don't you realize what gauchos are? They're a shorter version of Hammer pants. Nine times out of ten I guarantee you that's the first person a guy thinks of when he sees you wearing these. We can't touch this? Maybe not, but we don't want to, either.

3. Jeans tucked into boots
It was casual Friday today, and everyone in my office took advantage by rockin' the jeans. Notably, however, none of us tucked them into anything. I had Timberlands on today, and I didn't tuck my jeans into those; our editorial assistant Cindy had on New Balance running shoes, and they too went unsullied by the tucking of jeans. So why have women everywhere risen up and arbitrarily declared, "OK, but these kinds of shoes are OK to tuck jeans into"? Basically, there are only two kinds of people who should be tucking their pants into their footwear -- cowboys and fishermen. Anyone else just looks like they left New Orleans after the levees broke and they didn't want to get their brand-new Calvin Klein jeans wet. Either that, or they look like they're wearing knickers. And while I'm sure there are guys out there who've had a Great Expectations fetish ever since reading it in high school, that subset is probably not big enough for it to be truly worthwhile to go out in public with the faux-knicker look. You're probably better off just sticking to Internet chat rooms for that kind of thing.

4. Mom Jeans
I can't even begin to describe my utter stupefaction upon learning that high-waist "Mom Jeans" were making a comeback of sorts. I mean, sure, the backlash against low-rise jeans was destined to be dramatic, but dear God, did it have to come to this? As much joy as I derive from making fun of overweight girls muffin-topping around the mall in inappropriately low-rise jeans, I will give that up completely if it means I never have to see another pair of Mom Jeans ever again.

5. Hats of pretty much any kind
I know I'm taking a risk here by issuing such a blanket condemnation, but outside of inclement weather, a funeral, or hair that hasn't been washed in a week, there's really no reason for a woman in the 21st century to go out in public wearing a hat. I think it's because the choice of hats available to women these days just seem so . . . affected, like Madonna trying to pull off that fake-ass British accent. Just sitting there on top of your head, a hat is hard to ignore, and that's the whole point, but there comes a point where you need to start embracing subtlety. A hat is basically the stylistic equivalent of walking around a bar with a megaphone shouting, "Look at me, I'm spunky/British/bohemian/ rugged/blah blah whatever!" OK. WE GET IT. Yet you may be surprised to learn that what you think your hat says about you and what it actually says are rarely, if ever, the same thing:

(a) Cowboy hat
What you think it says: "I'm a wild Western girl who's free to do whatever she wants, and nobody but a rugged man of the open range is fit to take me home!"
What it really says: "I just won third place in a wet T-shirt contest in Panama City."

(b) Newsboy cap
What you think it says: "I'd rather be in the East Village and/or London. That's how you can tell I'm intellectual and stuff."
What it really says: "Hopefully this hides the fact that I haven't washed my hair since Monday."

(c) Bucket hat
What you think it says: "I'm whimsical, cute, and carefree!"
What it really says: "I'm wearing something whose name has the word 'bucket' in it -- you think I still give a shit? Check back with me in a month's time and there'll be 20 more pounds under this thing."

(d) Baseball cap
I have to clarify this one, because in the right environment (a sporting event, the beach) or with the right logo (Georgia, the University of Georgia, UGA, the Bulldogs), girls can actually use this to look cute and spunky while also showing that they can appreciate sports and be one of the guys. Outside of those circumstances, however, see (c).

6. Skirts worn over pants
The fact that I even need to mention how retarded this looks indicates how much we've lost our way as a society. How is it that suspenders and a belt is considered ridiculous, but wearing a skirt over pants is OK? I'm pretty sure that there are senior citizens with Alzheimer's rocking this same look somewhere -- they put on a pair of pants, and then five minutes later they forget they put the pants on, so they throw on a skirt just to be on the safe side. That's what you want to look like?

7. Any item of clothing bearing words like "sexy," "cutie," "hottie," etc.
Rule of thumb, ladies: If Tara Reid's doing it, it's probably a bad idea. Here's another: I don't know who first said it -- I originally heard it from rock critic David Fricke -- but one of my favorite quotes of all time is "Cool don't advertise." In other words, if you have to emblazon a word like "sexy" or "hottie" across your chest (or ass) to convince the world that's what you are, guess what? It's not working. And in the rare instance a guy actually is gazing approvingly at whatever word is written on your shirt, ladies, I guarantee you that whatever you think is printed there, the word he's actually seeing is "EASY."

Boy, I'm glad I got that off my chest, aren't you? Now, you may be sitting there wondering, "Well, that's all well and good, now we know what guys don't want women to wear, but what do they want them to wear?" Duh, a miniskirt, bustier, g-string, and knee-high boots. I mean, I thought that was pretty well established. Or if you want to simplify things, a Playboy Bunny costume will do the trick. Dude, it's not like you can't throw a skirt on over it!


Black Charles said...

My girlfriend would find me remiss if I didn't note that chicks that ride horses also tuck their jeans into their boots, and apparently, if they don't, it symbolizes that their new to this horse riding thing, or they suck, or something like that.
But otherwise, you're spot on-- and what do I want a girl wearing? A trenchcoat. And NOTHING ELSE.

Anonymous said...

okay, sorry, doug. because here's the truth: when women dress up to go out, they're dressing for the ladies, not the men. It's all about competition, but not in the way you think. Women don't have to dress up to impress guys when they go out. Guys are impressed by any girl who will even talk to them in a bar. And while a girl who walked into a bar wearing those fugly boots might be the object of your derision for a full half-hour, the minute she walked up and started a conversation with you, you'd change your tune. And you know it. No, women who dress up to go out are doing it to prove something to the other women in the room. It's not something to be proud of, but it's true. The message can be many things, and few of them are nice, but none of them are for you.

And also, blanket, across the board, a woman wearing a hat is saying "Don't look at me." You've listed her reasons (see 5b and 5c).

Josh M. said...

You know how I know you're gay? You just did a post about fashion.

Megs, I'm with you until the very end. The one exception to the hat rule is the cowboy hat - a girl wearing one of those wants every bit of attention thrown her way.

DAve said...

"Hey Kettle? Yeah, hi, it's Josh. You're black."

X said...

What an amazing list.
Nearly all of my fem. friends are in violation of it.

And oh how I loathe the cabbie hat.

Black Charles said...

Actually, my girlfriend told me that I had it backwards-- the girls that tuck their jeans into their boots are actually "yahoos" who don't know shit and cause trouble at horse shows and don't know what the fuck they're doing and she hates them-- so essentially, your point is proven still and I'm an idiot.

Just thought I'd let ya know or something.

Anonymous said...

Yeah Josh, the world is full of heterosexual men that write catty articles about womens fashion. I am sure with enough research we can find the name of one.

Damn, I think this is only the second time I agree with Josh on anything.....

Josh M. said...

I'm dying to know - what was the first?

Anonymous said...

Heck I don't remember what it was exactly, but it was a Mom/apple pie point I made in reference to something way back on the George Bush won't you please go now site. It's been awhile and I am sure it only happens when the planets are properly aligned...

As to Doug's fashion sense, earlier in the week he dissed on Bruce Pearls tie and jacket. As long as UT keeps winning he can wear whatever the fuck he wants and Volnation won't mind.

ACG said...

Cowboys don't tuck their jeans into their boots, either. That's one reason the girls wandering around with jeans tucked into cowboy books looks so ridiculous.

What some women don't realize is that the jeans-in-boots look is universally unflattering for the same reason that bootcut jeans are universally flattering. Bootcuts balance out width at the hips with width at the hem, whereas jeans-in-boots make nice little tapers at the ankle, creating a charming pair of saddlebags over tiny, tiny feet, much like the French chef from The Little Mermaid.

Not that anyone cares.

Anonymous said...

...sigh. So I have to suffer migraines from excessive sunshine (even with shades on) because no female should be caught dead in a hat in this day and age? I guess I will just have to be hopeless fashion-wise...and risk the total condemnation of the fashion police!

ACG said...

Hmmmm, your hats are perfectly acceptable because you wear them without irony.

Anonymous said...

...ah, ACG, thanks for the reassurance! I will breathe easier, and not have to panic when I see the fashion police coming my way!