Thursday, March 7, 2013

Fashion Man-Date

Southwest tie. T-shirt cardy. 
As Ken mentioned, he started a new job this week. Yeah, Ken!! And since he also implied that for the last 6 months he has been walking around the house in t-shirts, a beard and no pants (and believe me - I've been to Ken's house and I cannot un-see the things that I have seen!!!) as he prepared to reenter the work force he needed to spruce up the wardrobe. So natch, he called me and Patrick. Patrick and I both work in retail and both have worked in retail for the last 100 years and basically we are a little mini Clinton and Stacey (I'm Clinton) or Trinny and Susanna (I'm Trinny.) We spend time professionally helping people pick outfits.

So the three of us went on a little Man-Date to the Banana Republic in the City Creek to update Ken's look. And as we shopped, I came up with a few fashion mandates (see what I did there?) that you can use in your life (if you are one of the 7 men who read this blog about fatherhood) or your husband's life (for the other 93% of our female readers.)

Patrick thinks about how long until the return of pleats.
Mandate 1: Before the shopping trip, Ken and Katie (his wife) took stock of his current wardrobe. He relayed the following conversation:
Ken: I have those blue pants still that are pretty nice.
Katie: Don't those pants have pleats?
Ken: Yeah...but that is OK, right?
Katie: better clear that with Patrick and Josh.
Katie's right. Pleats are no good. (Now, right now Patrick is saying that pleats are making a comeback. Because literally everything in fashion makes a comeback at some point. And pleats probably will be mainstream someday. But it's like 10 years off. So if you want to wear pleats now, that's what I called "Advanced Fashion." And it's not for the faint of heart.) So please don't buy or wear pleats. They make you look fat and dumpy. And old. And like you shop at JC Penny. With your mom. Picking your clothes.
This scarf is clearly too big. 
Mandate 2: As Patrick and I were shopping, not consulting Ken (who was standing in the middle of the store texting) I said to Patrick, "What size top do you think Ken is?" Patrick replied, "I don't know - a medium?" Me: "You're right. For sure he is a medium. But he probably thinks he is a large." Sure enough, when we consulted Ken, he said he was a large. Ken is not a large. He's tall, but he is a racquetball player and he is fit and he is a medium. Please, for the love of Mizrahi, wear clothes that fit you well. Here is a tip for shirts: Look at the seam on top of the shoulder. It should run parallel to the ground and lay flat. If the end of the seam rolls over the edge of your shoulder and points towards the ground, the shirt is too big. And for pants, don't get a loose fit or relaxed fit. That is retailer code for clothes that make you look fat. I'm not saying everyone needs to wear a skinny jean. But get a straight leg jean. It is like a loose fit jean, but just slightly narrower. 
I wasn't able to convince Ken to buy that cardigan. I may never forgive myself. 
Mandate 3. The funnest part of shopping with Ken, is that he literally had no opinions. He trusted Patrick and I completely. So when I hesitantly asked if he would try red pants, he said "Sure!" And look how great he looks!! Look, I'm not saying everyone needs red pants. But don't be scared to try new things. Just because you have always bought loose fit jeans and Big Dawg t-shirts, doesn't mean you have to only buy those things for the rest of your life. OK...hold on. Let's go back a bit. The mandate stands, but I really do think that everyone needs red pants. Colored pants have been pretty on trend for 3 or 4 seasons now, which I think means they have officially crossed into the mainstream. I don't think I currently own pants that aren't jeans, colored pants, or colored jeans. Don't be scared. Go buy some. And because I know you are going to ask, they are a neutral and match almost anything.
Not a bad haul! And Patch even got himself a new fedora!
Mandate 4: When first started in retail, we had a saying when we were working in the men's department. "If you only knew what we knew." See, we retail kids spend hundreds of hours a week dealing with clothes. We watch training videos and read product knowledge guides and peruse fashion magazines. The people who work in those stores know how to dress you! So ask for help. What we meant by "If you only knew what we knew" was that if a guy would only come in and say "I've got $100 bucks and I need to look great for a date and I am in your hands" we would move heaven and earth to make sure that you did indeed look great and that you felt great too. Because then you come back and spend more money. We're not going to send you out of the store looking like a fool. Because then you don't come back and you tell your friends. We want you to look amazing. So let us do it.
We happened to be shopping the night of the Mad Men Collection launch and they had appetizers! FTW!!
That's it. That's not to hard right? I'm not giving you specific fashions or styles (OK, other than red pants. Go get some.) I'm just giving you some guard rails. So your mandates are:
  1. Pleats are not good.
  2. Wear clothes that fit well.
  3. Don't be scared to try new things. 
  4. Ask for help.
You can do that, right? And if you can't, Patrick and I are available for a small (enormous) consultation fee. And you'll probably leave the store owning red pants. Don't be scared. It's better than the no-pants you've been wearing for the last six months. 

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