Wednesday, 21 December 2011

No, TANK-you! The most controversial post so far...

In my most controversial post so far I answer the question on every (regular-type-of) man’s lips:



Before you let out an audible elation that for once I have managed to keep a post under 2000 words; unfortunately I feel like I need to explain (for another 1950 words) my totally ‘anti’ stance on tanks (singlets, wife-beaters...).  
Yes, alas it will take another lengthy style-bollocking to learn you good and proper why you should be avoiding yet another clothing item that has probably been a fundamental part of your Summer-‘look’ since George Michael insisted we should wake him up before we ‘..go-go’. 

I need to be clear; I really regret having to say ‘no’ to singlets, because heaven forbid I should further reduce the already limited clothing options available to men.  However, I take my calling to protect the ‘ordinary man’ from drifting into the demographic of ‘complete knob’ very seriously, and thus like a dominatrix I accept (ok; and enjoy a little) that I have to deliver some tough love.  

So, I can almost hear you now, (yes, with my with my 6th sense ‘I hear style-challenged people’):

‘Its hot...and I look buff!  I want to lose the sleeves, you nasty, oppressive cow!’  

Yes, it is hot, but an addition of an extra 4 inches of cotton down your arm i.e. the difference between a tank top and a Tee, isn’t really going to smother you.  However, it will save everyone else around you from the full-sensory exposure of a hairy sweat-scene every time you raise your arm.  

Now the issue with the singlet is that, alas, others have spoilt the look for you. 
I don’t assume for a second you’re one of those tossers with hair that is the regrettable result of the ejaculation of about 500ml of gel to achieve the vertical mane-shame that is the ‘faux-hawk’.   
Regrettably, whilst they strut down the esplanade in their Ripcurl thongs with a tenuous hold on a pit-bull, they are also wearing a tank (singlet; wife-beater...) to show off a hairless torso of Celtic tattoos and a self-tan which would make a pubeless porn-star  with a set of double F-cups seem au naturale.  

In some sort of semiotic fusion; the singlet has now become inseparable from the bogan, and when you innocently don one in an aim to stay cool, you inadvertently also become a ‘tool’ as if infected with some sort of tank-top incubated virus.  
For god’s sake; sleeves are your only defence, man!  

You’re probably thinking; surely there must be other singlet-wearing sub-cultures with whom  you can affiliate to accommodate your desire to bear your freaking shoulders?  Well, yes;  but unfortunately these other tank-topped-demographics aren’t offering you alternative image-destination other than Twat-ville.  

I need to stress at this point that there are some blokes who are an almost impossible personification of masculine and cool and could maybe get away with wearing a singlet and not looking like someone even your grandmother is even tempted to punch in the face. 
However, I have always seen myself as the style-patron for the ‘average bloke’ and without the pleasure of having known you all individually, I must err on the side of caution and preach against singlet-wearing . 
I cannot bear the burden that a single one of you would experience the almost tangible bewilderment from your mates down the pub because Mistress MenWTW suggested you are maybe one of the rare few who could actually pull off that floral tank.     

This brings me to one of the ‘other’ singlet-wearing sector of the male population:  the hipsters.   

The American Apparel army find it a necessary part of their long-neck beer fuelled onslaught upon popular culture to be wearing a racer-back tank top lest they break out in a sweat when trying to pedal up a hill on a bike with no fucking gears.    

Singlets to trendy metrosexuals are just another item in their insatiable-lust for irony.  So despite their lily-white, girly-boy bodies; garnished in no more than 6 chest-pubes to validate their manhood, the hipster selects a top that marks their wee limp limbs as a location of interest.  

There you have it; the tank-top is once again a poor little pawn in another subculture’s desperate need to establish an identity.  Unfortunately, unless you were thinking that you might go ahead and become one of these-here hipsters because you already have a whole wardrobe from the 80’s and like the idea of getting a chest-load of ironic tattoos of household objects like toasters and game-boy consoles or some shit, the singlet is going to douse you in the undesirable scent of twattiness.

So what can you wear when the temps hit 30 degrees and all the trendy metros, bogans and thugs are delighting in their singlets, tank-top and wife-beaters?  Well, you can wear a thin, scoop neck, short-sleeve t’shirt....and hold your head high whilst you and your manhood sweat it out.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Tshirts: Men’s favourite alternative to being starkers

So, Men; you think this is one topic that you know:  Tshirts.  Like the clothing version of a man’s mind; the T’shirt is mono-dimensional and uncomplicated, is it not? 
                                                                                           It is not. 

I’m hoping you all have a supportive network of friends and family who see your merits beyond your dress-sense, because it will cushion the blow when I tell you that Tshirts are in fact yet another clothing concept you are often ballsing-up.

Prepare yourself, as yet another aspect of your clothing experience that once involved ‘just throwing something on’, will now require more cognitive-processing than interpreting the assembly instructions for IKEA’s NORDEN gate-leg table after 16 beers. 

  Tshirts are a big deal because no other piece of men’s clothing so overtly makes a statement of who you are.   Except for maybe your Vic Bitter tank top, that indeed communicates ‘something’ about you. 

The t-shirt is important.   If you make the wrong choice in a Tshirt, you might as well get a permanent marker and scrawl ‘Hello, I’m Neil and I’m a sad old twat who’s going on a date with this girl I met online who is (apparently) still in her early 20’s so I’m wearing this skin-tight V-neck Tee to make it seem like I’m busting out of my clothing with Incredible Hulk-style pecs and huge guns for arms’ across your chest; 

In this article I’m going to discuss three Tshirt-faux pas, and believe it or not, I do not include stains and rips as one of these forms of T-shittiness.  In fact, a carefully selected and positioned spillage or tear can rock.   

However, before you go racing to the rubbish bin to retrieve your favourite shirt that you mournfully tossed after spilling tandori chicken down the front; it's important to remember that there are good stains and bad stains.

In fact paint is the only acceptable blemish.   Carefully positioned paint stains suggests you are handy and/or artistic; and masculine in your apathy towards your own appearance. 

The reality is more likely to be that you went to Bunnings and brought a sample pot for the deliberate purpose of getting all Pollock-like on your shirt in an aim to bag yourself an indie-chick.   Luckily, what you lack in integrity and credibility you will make up in grungy hotness.  

So, what are the unholy trinity of Tshirt uck-fups you ask?
Asos Grandad Tee with All-over Fairisle Print

  1. Sleeves too long (and loose).
  2. Tee is too big or small
  3.  The design/print is all wrong

Unfortunately, a Tshirt sleeve which is too long or baggy can make you look like a pre-pubescent kid who has transitioned 4 years too early out of the children’s clothing department.    Or even worse, Eminem circa 1999.   

I'm not looking to alienate any of my readers, but unless your method of communication is limited to ‘Awww and/or hell-yeah’ then I’m assuming pasty white-boy rapper isn’t a look you’re going for. 

Asos Kimono Tee
When it comes to sleeves, make sure they are short-ish.  That is; stop no lower than exactly 47mm above the elbow.  I’m sorry, this measurement is not flexible. 

The sleeves should be a relaxed-slim cut, or if you do have a slightly looser sleeve; roll it up.  In fact; roll those sleeves right up to your shoulder to achieve the sexiest look in history; that’s right the ‘Danny Zuko’.  You will look like a gorgeously-greasy version of rock and there’s the added bonus of having a convenient way of transporting your Marlboro Reds by tucking them between the sleeve and your shoulder/arm).  

If you’re not cool enough to smoke, you could replace the cigarettes for a Jumbo pack of Tic-Tacs, your Warcraft trading cards or a box of tampons (because nothing says ‘I care’ like anticipating the main events in your girlfriend’s menstrual cycle).   

Asos All-over Aztec Tee
I think I’ve covered the whole ‘don’t wear it long and baggy issue’ in the ‘sleeve’ section, so I’m going to jump straight to the shame-job that is the uber-tight Tee. 

Alas it is an issue that is close to my heart, because I have unknowingly dated a few men who have in fact worn tight Tees.  I won’t say it’s the only reason that we’re not currently spending our weekends arguing over shelving at IKEA, however, when the guy I thought I had sussed turned up one day in a skin-tight Tshirt, it was quite the challenge to burgeoning relationship. 
Pam Camp Logo Tee from Someday Store
I mean, how could I genuinely connect with this man when his painted-on-Tee was making me think that at any point in the evening he would make the exciting announcement that he was going to quit his job to begin a Bronski Beats Tribute band.
I understand where you’re coming from; you are buff and want to flaunt it.  But listen to me; put down the 3-sizes too small Tee, this is not the way to do it.  A  Tshirt that is too tight just makes you seem like a man in tragic denial of his age, or you are gay man from the 90's.  i.e., you will have women approaching you for the sole-purpose of  
bagging a man they can attend Kylie Minogue concerts and go shopping with.

So as with most of the rest of your wardrobe; make sure your Tshirts are not tight, and have more of a relaxed, slim/straight styling.  A Tee that just skims your form is much more flattering than something that looks like you've had it since your glory days in your primary school gym.

Neighborhood Sun Dance Tshirt from Someday Store
This is a tricky one to explain.   It is very simple to spot a graphic that is the love-child of ‘Cut’ (Dad) and ‘Paste’ (Mum) who came together in a sweatshop in China. 

The result is a grainy, monochromatic and patchy print on your Tshirt which is identical to millions of others.  If only Cut and Paste were using contraception; this tacky little offspring could have been prevented.

This is what you need to avoid.

As I said it is hard to explain what a cool graphic looks like, but I will attempt to lead you in the right direction.  

St James Striped Tee from Comeback Kid
For starters; avoid college or varsity prints. Unless you actually attended an American college in ‘1969’ this is very uncool.  If in fact if you did attend an American college in 1969 and are still wearing the shirt, you need to move on.   Although props to you for maintaining your figure!

In fact, I think I could safely say avoid any graphic that consists of huge digits/words across your chest.

Although there are exceptions to this next ‘rule’, if you want to play it safe (which I know you do; nervous, unsure and wandering aimlessly in a hostile ‘style’-landscape...) avoid faded black/grey and grainy designs on a coloured Tshirt*. 

Bolongaro Trevor Manzanera Tshirt from ASOS

This seems to be a characteristic of mass-produced prints i.e. one colour prints are cheaper than three.  The faded black/grey hue, although most likely deliberate, can make the Tshirt seem faded/worn-out.  I need to clarify, this is not a cool version of ‘faded/worn’ a la ‘Pete Doherty’ (or any smack-addict hipster/Kate Moss-ex of choice) style of anti-personal-grooming, but more like testament to your inability to do effective laundry.  I.e. you have ruined your already crappy Tee when it was washed in a bi-annual hot wash along with 18kgs of your other sordid items. 
So, yes; avoid those patchy black/grey designs on coloured Tshirts.

Ok, now that I have told you what is heinous in the Tshirt scene; I will now intravenously inject some positivity into this article and tell you what is the dog’s bollocks this season. 

PAM Tranced Stix Tshirt from Someday Store
All-over patterning in Tshirts is booming this Spring/Summer.  However, before you lose bladder-control over the idea of finally channelling the look of your earliest (gay?) style –icons ‘Bert and Ernie’, I would suggest steer clear of wide-bold stripes and instead embrace the ikat or the Aztec.  

No, this is not another IKEA reference.  Ikat and Aztec are Indonesian/South American/Native American Indian styles of patterns.  This trend is your chance to project the ‘Standing Bear’ or ‘Sitting Bull’ within (or in my case, ‘Drinking Fish’ and ‘Leaning Lush’), and garnish your urban look with a little bit of ethnic cool.

Limedrop Floral Striped Panel Tee from Comeback Kid
Another rad look in Tees this year is panelling and blocking.  No, this isn't a boxing technique.   Just in case you thought I was finally inserting some overtly masculine content into my post that didn't make you feel like embracing it would mean surrendering the testicles you were desperately clinging to with both hands.

Alas, I am actually describing Tshirts with panels of contrasting fabric being stitched onto the shirt or a Tee with blocks of bold fabric being used in the sleeves and pockets etc. 

Still very manly, non?

River Island Colour-block Tshirt

*On a white Tshirt, monochromatic; even faded, prints don’t look so insipid.  On a white Tee these graphics can look ok.