Note from Author:
I’m sorry for the tardiness of my monthly MenWTW style-bluster. My brain (once described as a cognitive equivalent of a ping pong match) has had all its think-action directed exclusively into the ‘booze and bad men’ region of my noggin (I know; Im alienating you with my medical-babble). Result: Cass has felt less inspired than a kid shaking the ‘2 large pizzas and a 1.25 Coke $16.98’ sign on the side of the highway. However, like a phoenix…or maybe a delusional chook (giving that whole flying thing a bit of a bash) I have risen again and am ready to redirect my misguided foci now upon ‘dressing’ men (instead of the opposite).
You may have already realised this about your dearest blogger; but (being the ‘Mistress of Seeing-past-the-really-rather-icky-exterior’) I often find it very difficult to find fault with the way men look. Yes, it’s all about what’s ‘beneath’ that superficial fashion-drapery that is truly important to me (ie pecs, biceps, careful nether-region grooming…). However, fortunately I have a few really shallow friends who help to redirect my focus upon the exterior so I am able to explore in this blog how clueless some men look (phew!). It was one of these pals; a certain rather stylish friend and fellow-blogger(1) who reminded me of one thing in particular that men tend to really fuck-up…in a clothing sense that is (she is my consultant in this specialised-field of style-fuck-ups i.e. I have a vast selection of other women who keep me informed in all the other themes of masculine-fuck-up-ed-ness). This specific men’s-fashion faux pa I will discuss is repeated time and time again when event organisers fatefully decide the ‘occasion’ requires its attendees to be in ‘Smart Casual’.
Smart-casual (SC): the concept may seem like the greatest oxy-moron since the birth of ‘airplane food’ and to be quite honest most guys look like (oxy)-freaking-morons when they give this dress-code a bit of a go. However, nailing SC shouldn’t be this hard. You just need to pull your fashion-finger out (or ‘off’ the remote) and put a little thought/planning into your SC ensemble (yes; ‘planning’. I have a dream of my MenWTW peeps carefully laying out their outfits for the next day…or at least allowing their girlfriend to do it). Follow some MenWTW counsel and the smart-casual brief might be fulfilled with a little more creativity than that radical move to wear your work-shirt open at the collar.
I think why men’s SC looks tend to be so très fucking-‘yawn’ is because you are approaching this dress-concept with some sort of semiotic deconstruction that would make even Noam Chomsky a tad turned-on. You have attempted to decipher this annoying social convention (most likely formed in the mind of some cruel fashionista/sadist(2)) by taking your traditional ‘smart’ look (e.g. work, funerals, weddings), then throwing 30-40% ‘casual’ at it…voila! Yes; so rational! Sigh…but alas; FAIL. Unfortunately fashion doesn’t work like that. Fashion is an elusive and rather insane mistress who just when you think you have her figured-out; turns around and knees you in the balls (because you said that her ‘booty is banging’ i.e. you like girls with 'something you can hold on to..' etc).
Smart-casual is not just your work/wedding suit: unironed; without the tie and/or barefoot i.e. the work/wedding look after 7 beers. Rather than seeing SC as a slack deviation of ‘smart’(conservative), it should be approached from the opposite direction and apply a ‘neat/spiffy’ twist on your everyday cool. Smart-casual is your opportunity to present a tidy-respectable look with a very hip, INDIVIDUAL edge.
I will admit that I don’t mind the odd-spot of word-smithery and a 1000 word minimum seems to be my self-imposed quota for most written activities. I don’t think I have ever gifted a birthday card that features anything less than Jackson Pollock-esque frenzy with a ballpoint pen on the inside. However, as a bit of reprieve from the stigmatism I bring on every month with my gratuitous spouting I am going to illustrate my point of what is wrong (and right) in Smart-casualness with some pictures!
|Smart casual is not just your work-suit without and tie. |
And please never wear this suit to work...or throw your coat
over your shoulder or stand with your hand on your hip,
or smile like this....etc, etc.
|You don't have to wear a dress shirt for |
smart-casual. Try neat polo; I love a bit of prep!
|A chambray shirt isn't completely off the mark |
this season, but a denim shirt looks a bit
more individual and edgier. Note the flat-
fronted trousers ie no totally gross pleats/darts.
|by buttoning it to the collar. Fine gingham check is happening this spring.|
|A shmick suit is chilled-out a bit by |
rolling up the sleeves and loosening
the collar. This bad boy is about
to step off the catwalk and straight
into a pub-brawl.