It’s been a diverse menswear season from the Raf Simons psychedelic back bib to the thug couture of the Givenchy doorag, but the proper gentleman’s outfit was everywhere. Phillip Lim just alerted the media that men want to dress up.
So what? Men have been dressing up since forever, and polish came back in 2000. Today’s fashion-conscious man has mastered every color of cupcake frosting when it comes to bowties, and they bait Bill Cunningham whenever they cross their legs in cropped pants. But there’s been a spike that’s taken them from dressing up to dress-up. It’s the dandy trend. When I say dress-up, I mean the way cookies and a Mary Kate and Ashley sing-along at a slumber party lead little girls to wrongly conclude that every piece of jewelry and clothing their grandmas own is an outfit.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m thrilled at all the pocket squares in the park. When a dude steps onto an elevator in some suspenders instead of a hoodie that smells like toast, it’s a welcome change. Every man should express whatever his little sartorial voice says from the bottom of his heart. I say, yes, go ahead and wake up at 5 a.m. to use more Kiehl’s products than I do. Be into fashion. Enjoy dressing like a respectable gentleman. But please don’t take it too far.
Haider Ackerman’s also told the Times that he wanted to “design for the modern dandy,” and modern is the key word. Some of the looks that Louis Vuitton and Krisvanassche showed in Paris are one corn cob pipe away from being a joke. The un-modern dandy look is overkill. It’s not personal style. It’s a costume party. Underneath every straw fedora with a ribbon, there’s usually an asshole. Dressing like you’re in a barber shop quartet is corny as f*ck. It’s the head to toe copycat deal I hate. The world is not your Jazz Age lawn party. We’re adults.
It’s not just that I am jealous that their outfit is more overplanned and more expensive than what I’m wearing. Today I walked out the door in perhaps more orange than necessary. That orange also unfortunately looks a lot like my skin. Luckily, we’re not talking about me right now. It’s not that your perfectly tailored robin’s egg blue suit is outshining me, it’s that you’re in the wrong century.
When people get anal about the details of a culture that happened a thousand years ago, they look cheesy. If you love yourself a bygone era, add a handkerchief for your town bike trip to the soda fountain even though you can buy bottled soda and Kleenex now. But please take off one thing like Coco Chanel tells women to do. That candy-striped blazer could be the thing you need to take off today. Moderation works. Otherwise, when I see you in that snappy little suit, I hope you’re going to hand me an ice cream cone or sing me a tune.