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The Spike

Clothes, recipes, kids, interiors, London…

Month

August 2017

The Spike Interview: Clarissa Ward

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Clarissa Ward, 37, is a senior international correspondent for CNN. In her 15 year career she has reported from the most dangerous places in the world, including Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen and Georgia. She reported from the ground the bombing of Aleppo in Syria and in 2016 gave evidence to the UN Security Council – it is profoundly affecting and you can watch it here. She speaks six languages (she says to “wildly different levels”) and has won awards including two George Foster Peabody awards and four Emmys. She also recently interviewed Elmo from Sesame Street; witness the insane cuteness here. She is married and lives in London.

1 There is a huge amount of travel in your work – as well as your passport, phone, wallet and keys, when you are heading out of the door what do you always take with you?

I cannot leave the house without a notebook and a pen and under eye concealer. But mainly under eye concealer because I can use my phone in lieu of a pad but without concealer I look positively cadaverous. Other essentials include tissues, headphones, bottled water, a portable charger, hairspray and powder.

2 You have seen some horrible things and I know you were friends with James Foley [the American journalist who was killed by ISIS]. It must be very hard not to replay traumatic events – let alone let go of those times when you personally have been very scared. Is it possible to tune out the worst of it when you need to?

The weird thing about trauma is that it doesn’t hit you in ways you expect. You don’t see a dead child and then feel sad and then have a nightmare about the dead child. More often, for me, you see a dead child, you feel slightly sickened but mostly numb because that’s what you need to push through it.
And then later, when you have the time and space to process it, you will feel supremely detached from your “real” life and then feel a strong urge to go out and get insanely drunk and then you shout at people you love because they inexplicably irritate you and clearly don’t understand you and finally you stub your toe and burst into tears, sobs racking your body and something shifts inside you and the grief pours out and you realise “ohh, this isn’t really about my toe.”
It’s different for everyone and everyone has different ways of dealing with it. I find time spent with animals is very important. And in some weird way, I hold some of the most horrific things I have witnessed sacred. They are more real and more profound than much of my everyday life and I won’t let myself forget them.
3 What do you read when you have time?

I love novels. I studied Russian literature at university and am still a huge fan. I just finished Resurrection which is a highly underrated Tolstoy masterpiece. I also read an inordinate amount about Islam in an effort to better understand one of the most broadly misunderstood religions in the world. Oh and I recently read an amazing novel by a Brit called “In the Light of What We Know” which is just jaw dropping.

4 You are a Londoner but also a New Yorker; New York women have a reputation as being much smarter or more groomed than Londoners. (I’d agree with that.) Do you think that is true? Do you think it matters?

 
In some ways, I do think that’s true. Most women in NYC get a manicure every week or two. In London it’s still seen as a luxury (though we are starting to see more and more reasonably priced nail bars). My New York friends are much more likely to be having Botox and skin peels etc. Appearances matter a huge amount in the US.
I just realised that by “smart” you mean well put together and not intelligent (which is what smart means in the US). Yes, my British friends are often more casual but I love them for it and I am the same way. Comfort all the way unless you’re dressing up, in which case, really go for it. Whenever I’m in the office in New York I wear dresses and heels and it’s such a relief to get back to London and shuffle into work in my jeans and Converse!

5 Do you have a method for learning a language? I have in my mind that once you have a critical mass of languages adding a new one is easier than learning just one extra one from scratch. Or is that nonsense. 
It definitely gets easier as you learn more of them and there are general themes that are broadly applicable across a wide range of languages. My method is to immerse myself in a language/ place/ culture and argue with taxi drivers and try to get around by myself. When I was younger, having a local boyfriend was also a good tactic but those days are over. No matter what though, the most important thing is confidence. Make mistakes, sound like an idiot but just open your mouth and speak.
6 Complete this sentence: “My favourite time of year is….”
It’s got to be summertime… spent outside with people I love and my dogs and lots of rose and goats cheese and lazy games of scrabble and afternoon naps.
7 What was the last film or TV series you watched that you really loved?

I am obsessed with a French series called The Bureau which is about the DGSE (French CIA) and which overlaps with parts of my work life. I also loved the Handmaid’s Tale, though it was a lot of rape to sit through. And Big Little Lies was kind of fun, mindless fare with great performances.

8 What are you having for dinner tonight

I just got back from three weeks on the road for work in Greenland and New York for work so I am going to have my classic, favourite comfort meal: roast chicken, mashed potatoes, peas, carrots and gravy. It makes me so happy to eat home cooked food and remember that the greatest pleasures in life are the simplest.

A note on hats

I’ve had a few requests for good and unusual (i.e. not department stores) hats to go with Autumn wedding outfits. May I direct you directly to Bundle McLaren. She is very good and reasonably-priced. She once made me a hat that had a ship on it, for real. It was amazing.

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This one just for every day AMIRITE?

 

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YASSSSS

 

Or how about you? Do you have a good hat dealer? Please share xx

Autumn wedding

We are going to move away now from strict capsule posts, because I really feel like you guys are nailing the basics, looking at your wardrobe and clothes and shopping in new and useful ways.

So for the next few weeks it’s time for some fripperies, one-offs, me going “OOOOOO LOOK AT THIS?!” because as some super smart commenter said – your wardrobe ought to be 80% salad and 10% crunchy bacon sprinkles. Or something.

Anyway – I had a request for Autumn wedding outfits, which I am happy to talk about.

Summer wedding outfits are a flat-out nightmare and I simply will not be drawn into conversation about them, simply because the weather is so unpredictable.

Genuinely that’s it. I can’t say: definitely wear this dress because in this country on July 20th it could either be 31C or sheeting with rain. To encourage the commitment of any money to such a lunacy of uncertainty from me or anyone would be cynical.****

But autumn weddings!!! This works for me. The thing you ought to buy for any autumn wedding or function for AW17 is a long floral dress. This trend has been around for ages – mine is a Zara hand-me-down from my sister a few seasons ago and it’s really useful. It can be shimmied up with jewellery and heels or toned down with white trainers and a denim jacket.

The floral dresses I like right now are these – any would do for an autumn wedding with a jacket and heels. Or even forget the heels if you can make it work with a pair of boots.

This from ASOS

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also this

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or this:

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This from H&M:

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If you’re little, this is available on sale in size 8 and 10:

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Not strictly floral but this screams autumn wedding to me, don’t you think? Also on sale – only a size 10 left :( VERY Ossie Clark. Wear it with a trilby and aviators.

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I really like this – and a bargain at £55… all sizes still left:

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Anyway I don’t want to overload you with choice. If you don’t like any of those, just have a rummage around for one you do like. If you can stand it, do try to go for something that falls below or just below your knee for modernity. And always remember when you are looking at occasion dresses that you will have done your hair and  your face, be wearing a jacket, heels and a shiteload of jewellery, so don’t dismiss anything as being “boring” – it is only half the picture.

Also, I know I say this all the time but if you are buying online do get three or four options but make a firm promise to yourself that you WILL not be a dick and you WILL return any that you don’t like or don’t fit and not just leave them forever hanging in your wardrobe like a big drapey guilt monster.

 

 

 

**** of course while writing this I have suddenly had the genius idea of buying 3 different weather-related options 1 week before the wedding, wearing the one that makes sense on the day and then sending the others back. This is assuming you get invited to only one wedding a summer. I get invited to NO weddings, so this chat is entirely academic anyway.

Capsule wardrobe: activewear

I had an epiphany at a party the other day – I was talking to my friend Liz about the capsule wardrobe series and she said that she “wished” she could wear her gym kit more often because it was so comfortable.

And I said “But Liz, why don’t you just, you know… WEAR IT?” and she said “Well, I don’t want to stay in sweaty gym kit but I feel like a fraud wearing it if I’m not going to the gym.”

And my mouth… fell… OPEN, ladies and gentleman. A fraud? A FRAUD? I wanted to shake her… but Liz Liz LIZ!!! Just think of the years of discomfort you have suffered by not wearing your gym kit just because you are worried about being a fraud! Be a fraud. Join me in fraudulence.

Come on seriously, how many of you out there ARE THERE who are not taking at least one or two days of the week to legit just wear sportswear, with no intention of doing any sports?

Because this really is the key to life and happiness. Good sportswear, mixed with non-sport items is a specific look, some people call it “athleisure” but you don’t have to. It has been for a few years and will continue to be.

If you don’t do this already, as part of your wardrobe I really recommend you have at least one smart sportswear outfit and allow yourself to wear it even though you never plan to break into anything more than a light sweat (of fear) when your toddler busts for the road.

All my stuff could do with being replaced, but I can’t really justify it. But if I was building a boss sportswear wardrobe from scratch I would get these:

Lululemon leggings:

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Still the boss of the legging, Lululemon makes some kind of magic 4-way stretch material that ensure these are comfy, non-saggy, non-digging. Also really expensive but genuinely the best. I tried some on once but couldn’t afford them.

I also once a year buy myself 3 brand new pairs of TopShop 3/4 length black leggings and wear these, too. There are all sorts of mental splattery-patterned kind of sports leggings around at the moment but for true capsule wearability, get something nice and plain. My Sweaty Betty ones are covered in butterflies – embarrassingly so, and so I wear them inside out so they look plain blue.

Sports Bra

Now this is a minefield and I am no expert – for serious jumping up and and down I have an old Nike thing that does the job – but my boobs are not huge.

Spikers, do you have any recommendations for brilliant sports bras for those with really massive tits?

Long vest

I have a very long back, which means that I cannot wear leggings and a t-shirt for fear of exposing to the world a very unflattering view of my personnage. On sportswear days I have to layer over leggings and sports bra one of these Hush vests, which are very long and cover anything up you’d rather people didn’t see.

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Sweatshirt

I love sweatshirts. I have three – a coral one from Gap, a navy blue one from John Lewis and one that says NAVY on it that my sister got me from America.

The shops are not overloaded with good sweatshirts at the moment. Obviously I am looking for something completely plain, no writing or zips or patterns or anything. This needs to be an incognito item you can wear over and again.

I found this from H&M:

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There is this “cute” sweatshirt from asos but I worry it’s a little too short to be truly flattering:

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This looks good from Jack Wills – just a simple restrained logo, no-one will be able to tell where you got it from.

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The key thing to look for when getting a sweatshirt are that the fabric isn’t too thick – no point in adding bulk where bulk is not needed AMIRITE LADIES.

For full athleisure effect, mix sportswear with non-sportswear items.

So if you have gone for an ice-white trainer, wear those with this sporty kit. Sometimes I will wear the leggings and the long vest and the trainers, but with a denim shirt over the top.

Don’t forget your accessories! Your gold Dinny Hall hoops and a good pair of sunglasses will add an unexpected and rakish air to the entire thing.

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If it’s cooler, wear the entire ensemble with a denim or leather jacket on top. Or in the winter with a very smart town coat. I have it in my mind that Karlie Kloss might do something like this, but I may be making that up.

Menswear: shorts and trousers

Shorts

We are nearly out of shorts season now but I need to address the Flappy Pocketed Cargo Short problem. In that the flappy pocketed cargo short is ridiculously dated, we all agree, in fact a lot of men wearing the FPCS right now will probably agree but the thing is, men find them so terribly useful because they can hold all their stuff. Because they don’t carry bags.

So to that I say fine – okay. Keep those FPCS as action shorts. BUT! Also, please, have some better shorts, too.

Something like these from All Saints:

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Ralph Lauren do everything well:

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And these from good old J Crew:

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The modern man’s short ought to end on the knee, with a maximum of four pockets, none of which should be on the side of anything.

These you will wear to any summer event where the FPCS are just unacceptable. You are just going to have to leave all your shit piled up out of the way on a windowsill at the barbecue, or ask your wife or girlfriend VERY NICELY if she could make some space in her bag for it.

In fact, make a deal with her: say “Okay I will get rid of the FPCS if you never make a face again when I ask you to put my shit in your bag because I haven’t got pockets any more.”

Same goes for swimming shorts – please no more knee-length board shorts! I particularly like Love Brand at the moment because they donate a percentage of sales to an elephant conservation project.

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Khaki chinos

Another thing I sent Giles away on his travels with that hotel show with was a khaki chino. I can’t tell you or explain why it ought to be olive green for girls and dusty brown for men when it comes to chinos but it just is. Dark green chinos on men aren’t a disaster but they slightly say Territorial Army.

A khaki chino is the ultimate Spring/Summer smart casual item, to be worn with confidence to meet grandparents, on Easter Day, to look round a school, to go to a frighteningly smart house for lunch, to a restaurant in town.

Giles’s chinos are from J Crew (I know that J Crew is featuring quite heavily in this entire series but they are just SO GOOD when it comes to menswear).

These are they:

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Navy blue chinos work, too. If the man is responsive, the cuffs can be rolled up a little for a relaxed summer attitude, to be worn with the Mulos or Birkenstocks. But don’t push it if he does a little pretend sick if you suggest this.

Jeans

I would say that the precise style and fit of jeans doesn’t especially matter. They just need to fit okay. The problem with a ratty or bashed up jean is this jean, plus the gross t-shirt, plus the fleece, plus the stinking trainers. A bashed up jean worn with other things will go unnoticed. Jeans shopping is so ghastly and painful that you might win the battle with the new jeans but lose the war in that he will refuse to contemplate any other changes.

Joggers

There is nothing wrong with tracksuit bottoms; it’s utterly revolting, stained, threadbare tracksuit bottoms that are so terrible. When I moved in with Giles he had a pair that were so digusting and worn out that they showed his… they were very… how do I put this without causing projectile vomiting? They were just obscene. He now has fresh pairs for relaxed days and they are perfectly alright for running weekend errands or for pre or post-sport. Pretty much any sort will do as long as they are in good condition.

For a jogger/trouser hybrid, I have seen these “Discipline Pants” STOP LAUGHING by Lululemon and they are extremely brilliant. I got some for Giles and they didn’t quite fit his footballer’s thighs but I have seen them on other men and they look awesome. They aren’t quite a trouser, not a jogger. Really expensive but very handy for all weekend activities. They also look shit in this photo, but they are better IRL.

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Okay do you know I am bored with menswear now… I’m going to make my excuses and leave – back at you soon with… ACTIVEWEAR FOR GIRLS! WAHOO!

 

Menswear: two jackets

I’ll keep this simple: these are two brilliant jackets for men for all but very cold days. These are also only smart/casual – smart clothes I must refer you The Cad and the Dandy. Cold weather clothes I will tackle later this year.

Also I must repeat I’m not suggesting that these are the only jackets that you ought to have if you are a man. I’m saying that if you struggle to find suitable jackets, here are some ideas.

My first recommendation is this Norfolk work jacket from The Carrier Company. Please ignore how they style this jacket on the website, as it’s like a Socialist Workers Party pamphlet.

This jacket looks absolutely fab on, wear over a t-shirt or even over a slim sweater when it’s a bit chillier. Please note the ample pockets.

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This Field Mechanic jacket from J Crew is also a gem. Also, hello… POCKETS!

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Ooo also actually while we’re here, don’t dismiss something like this – a sort of genteel bomber from Barbour:

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I bought my dad something similar (though not shiny) from J Crew last year and he looked genuinely cool in it. He is 83. But that’s the power of a great jacket.

MONDAY! Shorts and trousers! 

Menswear: tops

I ought to point out at this point in proceedings that men should expect to pay a bit more for their clothes – but own less and buy things less often.

Try if you can, if you have started having a conversation about clothes with a man, to make him understand that multi-packs of 3 white t-shirts from SportsDirect are a false economy – also potentially unethical (if he might respond to that).

So, yes, I will be suggesting some slightly more expensive stuff than usual precisely because I know how much a lot of men don’t like shopping and don’t want to do it often Buy cheap, buy twice!

Further game plan notes: if you do manage to get a man to buy and wear something new that you like on him, go totally overboard. “You look TERRIFIC,” you should say. “That looks AMAZING on you.” They really need to hear that kind of thing. They’re 80% doing it to please you anyway.

Anyway here we go – please bear in mind these are all recommendations for summer (or should I say “summer”) – Autumn/Winter will come later, which is why no knitwear suggestions.

T-Shirts

T-shirts and polo shirts are for men just as much of a cornerstone of their wardrobes as ours.

It really is important to get a good quality t-shirt, which will retain its shape, not go see-through or highlight any moobs small physical imperfections.

The same rules apply to men’s capsule clothing as women – stick to navy, grey and white and then everything will go with everything else. They can be worn on their own or under an open checked shirt or a sweater.

Sunspel and J Crew are my current favourites for T-shirts for men.

This from Sunspel is nice, but have a poke around and see if there’s anything else you like. Dodge anything claret coloured or, like moss green. NOT CAPSULE. I can’t vouch for the polo shirts, but Sunspel is an excellent brand, you can buy with confidence. Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 21.36.54

Giles has multiples of these “broken-in” t shirts from J Crew in different, plain colours.

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And look, how can this polo shirt not be really, really great?

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Shirts

Every man needs a checked shirt. If yours doesn’t have one, get one. I know – they have become something of a hipster cliche in recent years, but everyone is still wearing them, so why deny yourself the ease and convenience of a checked shirt just because you’re scared of hipsters?

As we slip into AW17, I think this colour way from Hilfiger is nice

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This is beautiful from Folk, ignore the ridiculous way it has been styled here, no-one expects a man to wear his shirt like this.

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This is good from AllSaints

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Work Shirts

Giles has his shirts made by a tailor in London called The Cad and the Dandy. This is because Giles, like most men, is a non-standard size. His particular quirk is that he has an absurdly huge neck measurement and giant shoulders but a small waist and not the arm length to go with it.

A bespoke shirt works out at £120 each – I think they get cheaper the more you buy – and if I was a man and needed work shirts, I would get five made, (writing the cost off against tax if I was self-employed), and just be done with it and never think about it again until the armpits got holes in them from toxic sweat/deodorant reaction.

Please, if anyone else has great recommendations for good quality work shirts for men, leave a comment! For very tall men, if you missed it in the comments. Charles Tyrwhitt is a good non-bespoke option.

I must point out there that no man should ever wear a white shirt during the day. White shirts in the day are for waiters and school boys. During the day, men ought to wear pale blue or pale pink shirts, nothing else will do.

There was a comment about white shirts not showing sweat stains during stressful work days/presentations. I am very sympathetic to this, no-one wants pit stains at the best of times. I guess I don’t have an argument against that, but perhaps on non-very stressful days he might wear another colour?

Non-check casual shirts.

This kind of shirt is very useful in a smart-casual situation, from J Crew – home of smart-casual. In fact, I think they might have invented the term. It can be worn on its own or over one of his new white Sunspel T-shirts. Later in the year, it can slip under a sweater.

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Sweatshirt

A reasonably new and clean sweatshirt will take you pretty much anywhere. An absolute  essential for the modern man.

I like this one from Scotch & Soda

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and of course this one from Ralph Lauren is a classic

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Try to ignore the absurdly beefy shape of this fellow wearing it

 

Tomorrow! Jackets

 

 

Menswear: Shoes

FOOTWEAR

1 Trainers.

Pretty much any trainer he wants, it honestly doesn’t matter. But – let’s get real, there are trainers and trainers. Trainers you wear everywhere because they are comfy and trainers that you do sport in.

On a man I’m not crazy about a fashion trainer – I wouldn’t recommend an ice white or Adidas Superstar, but if that’s what you want, knock yourself out.  Personally, I like a clean, modern sports trainer. Giles has a pair of Nike Fly Knit in lurid orange and I think they are fabulous. For actual running or sport, boys need something hardcore by Aasics or Reebok that can be kept for getting muddy and shredded.

The key thing for men to understand – (as so much of changing the way you dress is about changing a stubborn mindset) – is that it’s okay to have a pair of trainers that you do not do sport in. They are a legitimate item of clothing these days, it’s *fine* to buy a pair that never see the inside of a gym.

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2 Desert boots.

Desert boots are a stealth item in the manner of the Spike favourite H&M khaki shirt. They are soft and comfortable, they go under the radar. They are just… stealth. You can wear them basically anywhere except to meet the Queen. And even then, I bet she’s seen some desert boots in her life. Prince Harry has got a pair in blue – NOT CAPSULE – but P-Haz can do what he wants.

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Other colours are available, including but not exclusively blue

These are from Clarks, which means they are outstandingly comfortable, non-sweaty, but no-one will know they are from Clarks – because they just won’t. At £95 these are reassuringly expensive. When Giles set off last year round the world with that hotels show, I told him to get a pair – he did and they were brilliant. Forget about exploding pens and anti-venom chewing gum: these are what James Bond really needs.

3 Espadrilles

I really like these Mulos – they’re a sort of souped-up espadrille, with a sturdy sole and upper. These are all-purpose and worn correctly will not make you look like a failed Love Island auditionee (is this a word?). I bought some for Giles last year and they didn’t at any point make him look like a massive tool.

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I guess if your boyfriend is a 16 stone fireman this might be a hard sell. Though actually I am picturing now a 16 stone fireman and he might look sort of amazing in these? Have a go anyway.

Giles managed to trash these in one summer by wearing them in the rain and barbecuing  while wearing them – but if you don’t do that, I don’t see why they wouldn’t last.

4 Deck Shoes

Someone was having a good old moan about deck shoes on Twitter but I kind of like deck shoes. Don’t dismiss them!! Summer smart casual pay dirt! But look I appreciate that these might have the kind of class or style connotations that just don’t work for you as a family if not the man as an individual. But if you have dismissed them roundly and generally as a horror then maybe reconsider.

DO NOT BUY CHEAP ONES. A well-made classic, particularly these Timberlands, in the right circumstances look absolutely right and proper. 14 million Sloanes can’t be wrong.

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Timberland deck shoes, £109

5 Birkenstocks

Giles bought these Arizona Birkenstocks for himself, which I’m surprised about, considering his massive horror of anyone getting their feet out. But it’s also a good thing because it is really important in life, just generally, to change your mind about things.

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To not change your mind about things, to simply blunder through life holding the same boring opinions and prejudices about the same boring shit is awful and very ageing.

And the thing that Giles would never do is get a pair of Birkies. BUT NOW HE’S GOT SOME!!! If you really genuinely hate them and you’re not just posturing then don’t encourage it, but if you don’t mind they’re not a bad idea. I think they have become in the last 5 years a classic shoe.

They are especially good on a tall man or anyone with a long back because a bad back is no fun and these will help.

BIG FEET

I have had several requests for good shoes for big feet – I have sent various people to Elephant Feet in Brixton with loads of success, but I think they might have closed down now because I can’t find any evidence of them online.

There is a website called Magnus, which I suppose you may already have tracked down if you have a man with big feet and have done a cursory Google search. But if not I think it looks quite good. I like these blue trainers.

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Tomorrow! Shirts and t-shirts!

Men’s capsule wardrobe

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Men who really care about clothes can come across a bit sinister. Vanity is a tiny bit serial killer isn’t it?

But then a lot of men go the other way, wearing clothes because they are there, because they fit, possibly not even sure how they came by them. They can be as resistant to shopping as I am to watching football, or sitting on the loo for 9 hours or whatever other ghastly stuff men think is fun.

I  hope that a lot of men dress badly, in weird and awful clothing, because they don’t know that other options exist, rather than they dress in this appalling way out of choice.

They are simply living in a cave and will not know that they are living in a cave until they leave it. Won’t they?

Men also do not have access to male role-models when it comes to getting dressed. And other men are not helpful, I don’t think they really sit about talking about clothes in as open and honest way as women do. For men I just don’t think there is that kind of conversation about clothes, except occasionally possibly that this person or that person dresses like a tit because he once wore a panama hat. Or possibly not even that – this is the gender that can’t tell the difference between a dress and a skirt, after all.

And men’s clothing departments… oh my Christ alive! I live to shop, right? I can get excited about a trip to Homebase. And even I used to get the fuzzy eyes/brain within 15 seconds of being in any mens’ clothing shop or department. What… is it? What does it all… mean? Do you really have to wear those pointy shiny shoes? Is a duffel coat really mandatory? Save me.

And mens’ magazines are not helpful either, featuring lithe male models or David freaking Gandy all trussed up in tight suits and hilarious pastel casual wear, like someone dressed up as a pretend nice person because he wants to rob your grandma of her pension. It’s all so passive, these men sitting about wearing clothes and pointing off into the distance, when men – as we all know – are supposed to be active.

There’s never anyone looking like any normal, sane British man would like to look. Why don’t men’s magazines feature slightly chubby adorable dads mending a Frog bike in a great sweater/jacket combo? Don’t answer that.

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NOT HELPFUL!

My fear, of course, is that men who dress badly are wearing the double denim or the gross trainers or the foul ski jacket because they have looked at the alternatives and gone “no, thanks”.

Or it might be for even worse reasons.

A lot of men suffer consciously or unconsciously from the awful thing that my husband and dad are occasionally prone to, which I have decided to call Clark Kent syndrome.

Both Giles and my Dad would, left to their own devices, wander about the place looking like utter shite, despite being reasonably handsome and in decent shape.

This is because they rather enjoy encountering strangers and thinking “Aha you think that I am a poor destitute tramp but ACTUALLY I AM GILES COREN/A BALLIOL DON/SUPERMAN”.

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Giles wearing 2 of my least favourite pre-me items, since banned

But the fact is, to go about looking dirty and shabby is not cool and unstructured – it’s just rude. People are looking at you! It’s nice to look nice, for you and for other people. It’s as much as a civic duty as washing or smiling. (This is what I told my Dad anyway.)

Sometimes, once a man gets his head around the idea that it’s just not really cricket to dress like a slob and embarrass one’s family, or that it’s not just terrifying homosexuals and perverts who have the right clothes for the right occasions, excellent changes can quickly follow.

Of course, you and I can’t make the man in your life want to change the way he dresses. You may well be stuck with it and I would say there are worse men to be stuck with than a bad dresser.

But, if you detect vulnerability, or if your male specimen openly yearns for change and yet you both simply have your minds on things other than clothes, I might have a few answers for you.

This is all with this caveat that also comes with all the things I write about clothes, or about the capsule theory: I’m not saying that this is what men ought to wear, just that this is what they could wear and it won’t make them looked like a preened thingummy out of GQ.

It won’t make him look like Tom Hardy either – when I find the solution to making them all look like Tom Hardy, I’ll let you know.

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Giles has this exact shirt

So we’ll start on Wednesday with SHOES, as is only right and proper.

In the meantime, please feel free to leave a comment in the box below and let me know which occasions you or the man in your life finds it difficult to dress for.

 

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