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.
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”.
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.
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.
Oh, Esther- you’re amazing! Thank you! Can’t wait for shoes. It’s trainers and socks here everyday. Bless you for writing this on your holidays too- we are all *extremely* grateful. X
Unless it requires a suit he tends to look like a tramp. I have at least managed to get rid of the pants with holes and the ‘smart shoes’ which were his old school shoes that he had clearly played football in… we did meet at 21 in his defence but still!
I only managed to rid him of school shoes in 2015. He finished school in 1995…
Nicola Underdown says
I have a horrible feeling that his “smart black interview trousers” are still from 6th form. He’s 40 next year.
Josephine lukehurst says
My husband finds a theme and sticks with it. Current wardrobe for the last 14 years as follows –
German Army issue moleskin trousers because the pockets are really useful and they only need laundering once a fortnight. The teens call him the Nazi and he just carries on!
An array of Barbour t-shirts because no one else makes them.
One pair of shorts very similar to the ones Giles is sporting in that photo!. Did he donate to a charity shop in Virginia Water – if so I think my husband bought them!
One fishermans sweater which is so scratchy it would lacerate my face if I got too close.
A well worn zip up fleece for those cooler in between seasons days.
One pair of Chinos for smart occasions (Christmas day).
One checked shirt for sophisticated events (Christmas day).
I am not prepared to disclose footwear – it’s just too upsetting.
Oh Esther please save us!
Pockets are fine and very useful but these are not exclusive to German Army issue Moleskins and that is the problem. Just reading this again and actually I suppose this is a bit of a capsule wardrobe!
I know I wear many things that he hates so all is fair I guess……..
It’s tricky, if he is very happy with what he’s wearing – and I have to say his wardrobe doesn’t sound too awful (he at least wears chinos and a checked shirt for best, which is okay) – it’s hard to implement sweeping changes. What are the things you wear that he hates?
Tom B says
Oh I am looking forward to this series hugely (& a certain amount of dread too!)
Tom B says
One thing that always gets forgotten in previous attempts to ‘dress’ me is pockets. Sweeping generalisation and mildly sexist alert ……most men don’t carry handbags so we need somewhere for phone/keys/wallet – just saying!
Tom I would never recommend anything that didn’t have pockets
Tom B says
They have to be usable though!
The photo of Giles in your least favourite outfit is my husband’s choice of going out clothes and has been for twenty years. I really, really, really need help.
Alyson we’re going to fix this TOGETHER
Claire OC says
Tom B, I’m very impressed your reading this – the thought of my husband reading the The Spike is hilarious in itself! Cant wait to read more….
Tom B says
I love it, a throw back to the recipe days, but it always entertains and informs me!
This is going to be wonderful – but will also make me a little sad as my husband is 6 foot 7 and really skinny and most clothes look awful on him no matter what. The only jeans he can wear are terrible starchy baggy Levis and I gave up all hope years ago of finding a decent winter coat for him as those that are long enough are inevitably made for tall men who are also wide and they kind of hang off him like a sandwich board. And don’t even mention t-shirts. They are ALL crop tops on him. Do you think you add a bit of advice for this potentially tiny niche problem please Esther?!
Kathy Sandison says
See below, we have the same!!
Maybe not so niche after all. X
Emily! 6 foot 7 that is a WHOLE LOTTA MAN. I’m going to throw this out to the floor – anyone with recommendations for those gifted with height?
My husband isn’t as tall as yours (about 6 ft 2) but he is very slim and has very long arms. We have had most success for smarter stuff getting suits from Charles Tyrwhitt which you then get tailored to tweak them to size. So you go for the biggest size you need for leg and arm length to work, and then they bring in the breadth and waist as slimly as you need them to. Not sure if they could cope with someone as tall as your husband but might be worth a look. From memory we also did this with his winter coat which was very needed – I agree with you, men’s coats that aren’t fitted enough look dreadful. Like wearing a cardboard box.
Two words: Ralph Lauren.
Their outlets are good value esp if you can go often. Also excellent for the stouter gentleman.
Rachel Williams says
My brother in law is 6’8 (it’s just silly really no one needs to be that tall) and he always requests things from Charles Tyrwhitt for Christmas. Apparently uniqlo are good for length too, I can’t be sure on width (girth?) though, he’s an ex rugby player so he’s not a narrow man.
The whole family are giant and all swear by R.M Williams too, but they are all farmer/rugby types so I have no idea if it’s something non-hooray types would like.
Thanks Rachel this is all really helpful. I had forgotten about RM Williams I will look into it x
I have a 6ft 7er too. He wears slim fit jeans & chinos in long length, from Boden. They are just long enough (better with a chelsea boot than a shoe). Size 13 footwear can also be a challenge. Especially in a narrow fit! Boden jumpers and polos also seem to have just enough length but that is in an XL so not sure about smaller sizes. Charles Tyrwhitt for smart shirts, they’re long enough to stay tucked in. None of it will win any style awards but they’re smart and don’t cost the earth (Ralph Lauren Big & Tall I’m looking at you).
I too would welcome any suggestions!
Thank you we have issues in this area though *only* 6’3 – hard to get slim fitting in larger sizes.
Glenys Moreno says
Hi Esther, major prob is balancing out the loook of short legs….
Kathy Sandison says
My husband is very tall 6 ft 6, but also quite slim so High and Mighty and other ‘big men shops’ are no good for clothes. Things are getting a little better now with tall ranges from Ted Baker but historically he’s mainly worn whatever he can find that fits him (and some sports wear).
Problems include, arm length (think Peter Crouch and his football kit), body length, trouser length, shrinkage when you think you have something perfect but after one wash it goes to ‘normal sized’. Finding nice shoes in size 14 etc etc.
Myrddyn Phillips says
This is very scary as I don’t believe you wrote this, I believe it was my girlfriend. If it wasn’t my girlfriend and was in fact you, I believe you must have a twin, who is in fact my girlfriend. Except for the perversity of not knowing that my girlfriend is writing about me in such a way, I found reading this to be unhealthily near the truth.
Mr P it’s great to have you here x
Ed Harvey says
Same here. 6’4″, average build. Hard to get nice size 13 shoes that don’t cost twice as much as anything else. Casual shirts are too short in the sleeve. 36/38″ waist with 34″ leg means rarely get decent choice either.
Hmm this is clearly a real problem
Went to a BBQ recently and all the men were wearing Giles’ shorts and polo shirt combo, or variations of, and ALL of them had bulging cargo pockets full of stuff.
Tom B says
Cargo shorts/trousers are unbeatable when it comes to paraphernalia carriage, I am bracing myself in case Esther bans them!
Yes but Tom seriously, how much do you actually need to carry around? Phone, wallet, keys – what else?
Tom B says
That’s about the lot, but that’s quite a challenge for the traditional trouser. I do like a buttoned back pocket for the wallet, but as in many things, size is critical. Jeans pockets often too tight to be of any serious use!
Tom I can feel you panicking. I will be sure to accommodate your mountains of “stuff” in my suggestions
Tom B says
Not panicking- actually genuinely interested to see what you come up with, have been looking forward to this since you announced the plan. So far it hasn’t disappointed!
Tom now I’M panicking
Tom B says
Have just guffawed in the coffee room at work, I knew this would get me into trouble!
My husband slings his crap in my bag whenever he can really annoying. To be fair he’s a type 1 diabetic and some of it is required for keeping him alive but still…I’m trying to phase out the polo/cargo imbroglio too I mean pockets yes, but you don’t need to dress totally in pockets like you’re Bill the pack pony. Do you? (This is not aimed at you personally Tom, you’re just in the line of fire)
Tom B says
No offence taken! Am planning some pics so the wallet conundrum is understood!
Tales from the middle ages says
They really do spend a disproportionate amount of time sitting on the loo don’t they?
I will read these with interest but there is no hope here – if I suggest ANYTHING new he just shows me the hand and says “I’m not your PROJECT”
you could always forward him the blog post. but also some men are beyond help alas
I would love to know about white work shirts. Husband currently wears H&M which look great until they’ve been washed twice whereupon they look rubbish. Alternatives seem to be spending about £200 in Zegna which seems like a lot for a shirt, also, as he is an academic, unnecessary. Thanks!
Emily he should not be wearing a white shirt during the day anyway he’s not a waiter. I will tackle this
EXACTLY – though my husband is allowed one as he says that white hides sweat marks if you’re giving a massive presentation etc. ie nervous as hell. He is allowed one white shirt only of v high quality (and I still think it’s awful, but I expect he has a point).
My husband is an engineer and wears a “uniform” in the office daily. White slim fit poplin shirt from TW Lewin, grey or navy trousers and brogues. Cuffs always rolled, because you can’t look too buttoned up, ya know ?! He feels the same about the sweat factor as Sophie’s husband. He used to wear blue shirts but felt it showed too easily when presenting (no doubt all in his mind but I can sympathise!)
He also works a capsule wardrobe of sorts in mufti, but I am unconvinced a 40 year old man should be wearing check/lumberjack shirts and Merrell trainer shoe things…
Cyclists/rugby thighs with a long body and short legs are also a problem for him (me).
He bought several pairs of Levi 517s? In America last year, and is working his way through them.
He also has a 15 year old pair of short very similar to Giles’!
Your husband sounds super smart. His mufti sounds fine too xxx
By accident rather than design, my husband manages to pull off a sort of – not trying too hard- stylishness. The problem is he ruins everything by insisting on hoisting his trousers up way too high – think Churchill/ Rumpole of the Bailey. He blames it on his school days where untucked shirts were punishable by death ( well caning at least).
How strange! Although I don’t like an untucked shirt except in the most casual of causal situations
Now I feel a tad smug having a stylish husband- or one who cares at least. MR Porter was his defining moment- no need to traipse around shops and trying stuff on-now it all comes to the door and is collected too! Folk clothing also good. My main issue was how much it cost him to upgrade his wardrobe but means I have free reign and will listen to no complaints about my own prolific spending.
Winning brands for basics have been: oficine generale, apc, sunspell for shirts, Norse projects. Orlebar brown for shorts (not just swim). All brands have pockets, just not all the way down the leg like a soldier. Zara, Sandro and gap can all unearth gems too.
Sonia men ought to be spending more on clothes, but buying less and less often – for those in the market for it, Mr Porter is really great, as are all the other brands you mention xxx
Victoria Bell says
This is going to be EPIC!
hold on to your action sandals Victoria!
As well as shoes, which I agree are generally a bit of a disaster, I’d like us to cover tshirts.
Possibly as a result of Clarke Kent syndrome, my husband (handsome, successful, generally of sound taste and judgement) insists on dressing like a 19 year old student with those dreadful screen printed retro ads and logos all over the place. My suggested alternative to this is block colour polo shirts in a VERY restricted colour palette (white, royal blue, navy, burgundy – and that’s it) which I think is better but still not great. So what should he wear?!
His smart dressing is much more successful (NOW) so I will have a think about what works well and where we go, and add these when I think of them.
Am excited to see what you come up with so thank you so much for doing this. Am also excited for the first time I see a man on the street and know he too is (or knows) a Spiker!
My husband is quite good, sartorially. But he struggles with layers in spring/summer. He has lovely summer trousers, jeans and tops. But jackets are tough. A linen jacket gets rumpled too easily, a suit jacket is too formal, a blazer can work but it’s often too smart if you’re going to a barbecue or something. Any suggestions for a smartish casual men’s summer jacket?
Hi Lizzie, my husband has a good jersey navy almost blazer thing from somewhere. So quite a soft structure but still looks quite smart. Cotton. I’ll try to find the brand for you!
Hi Sonia. This sounds like exactly the kind of thing we have been looking for too so it would be super if you could share!
Thank you x
I tried to reply earlier in the week but it crashed- sorry ladies! I cant find the jacket in the wardrobe (means probably strewn somewhere) BUT if you google Mens Jersey Blazer there are loads, and river island have some for £20!! (no idea what sizes left). I think a navy and/or light grey one would be great for summer. They look great on.
Good luck and sorry for slow reply
Overshirts are good – good for summer but can also be worn when it gets colder with a knit underneath or a proper jacket on top. Like this kind of vibe: https://www.mrporter.com/en-gb/mens/clothing/coats_and_jackets/overshirts
Silk/linen or wool/silk combos are light but crease a lot less – they aren’t very hard-wearing though – and a herringbone weave hides most creases.
watching with interest also – my husband is 6’5″ and I’ve found J Crew Tall to be the best bet, as High and Mighty just seem to make their clothes wider rather than longer. Any tips on how persuade him to throw out trousers (red/mustard!!) from SCHOOL days would be appreciated, and some of the decades worth of jumpers collected/given. And he’s colour blind, which has its pros and cons.
There is nothing wrong with taking the opportunity to donate some of the more vile items in husband’s wardrobe to the the charity shop when he is travelling. Absolute denial is the best way when the subject is raised. If he has as huge a section of vile as mine does then he might not notice for some months. Re Giles pre-you, what IS it with awful coloured polo shirts? I’ve seen off the lemon one and the emerald green one but the purple one still sticks around.
Liz quite often those are the only colours you can get because places like Lacoste make crazy coloured shirts for their customers who are mainly Euro bankers who are trying too look nonchalant despite having the dead body of a murdered Latvian prostitute in the boot of their Lexus
My bloody MIL works at the one and only charity shop in town and once she brought it all BACK saying ‘wife must have put these in the bag BY MISTAKE!!!!’ Witch. Now I have to smuggle it out of the house and drive it to Stafford (20mins away) to throw in one of those metal charity clothes bins under the cover of darkness. Sigh!
I’d suggest that you accidentally destroy them in the wash instead of charity shopping them – but then again MY mother in law sometimes buys him items from M&S and they are INDESTRUCTIBLE, so it isn’t a foolproof strategy…
this is an absolutely amazing story
My MIL got rid of some of FIL trousers at a charity shop and he bought them back not realising they were originally his. I shit you not.
Sasha B says
Oh I’m already loving this edition of the capsule series! The pre-chat is almost as entertaining as the the capsule digestion and post-chat. My dilemma with Mr B is “the holiday wardrobe”. We battle every year with the 10yr old (god they really are now 10 YEARS OLD) beige three-quarter-length cargo shorts that end mid-calf with 6 pockets either side for all that useful carrying that needs to be done. Last year, due to suncream spillage, they developed a nasty grease stain at the front that refused to budge so we now have that attractive sight to contend with this year. Bah! My husband also loves a white t-shirt but because of his craze to buy ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING in a sale, these white t-shirts are usually the multi-pack kind designed to wear under shirts and so are slightly thin and not great worn on their own. Needless to say, my protests on this subject are met with deaf ears and 6 inappropriate white t-shirts will be packed and worn and smeared with suncream around the neck, staining them forever more, chocolate ice cream and pen (always some ink! Stain Devils are my friend)..and worn again when we’re home.
I’ve had some success -last year I went to House of Fraser and bought 5 short sleeve classic cut shirts, in navy, some plain, some minimal pattern, stylish and capsule like. He wore them and likes them (result!) and they’ll be going on holiday again this year to provide some relief from the stained white t-shirt look.
Hats, don’t even get me started. Someone needs to tell my darling husband (apart from me every year) there are alternative and far more stylish (and age appropriate) hats than BASEBALL CAPS.
Then shoes. We had a battle one year in the south of France in near 40C heat when I refused to go out with him in the dreaded three-quarter-lengths worn with TRAINERS and dragged him into a shoe shop where I put Birkenstocks on his feet as he swooned in the heat, and, spotting my moment, purchased Birkenstocks pronto as he sat under an AC unit then we spent the rest of the holiday sticking plasters on his blistered feet from the Birkenstocks that I got the blame for. Bah! But we do have the Birkenstocks now, worn in and looking semi-decent for a holiday situ. I do hope Esther, Birkies are not on your banned list! p.s. husband does not have hairy toes so think ok.
Sasha how did the Birkies give him BLISTERS?! I loved all of this, thanks for taking the time to write x
I am concerned that tom hardy has left the tag in his shirt here. But willing to overloook it..
I agree with the T shirt thing. One of the reasons I’m glad we left West London was the hideous sight of all the 40-something men in bloody Superdry T shirts at the weekend. Now we live near the sea it’s mostly sailing brands or things like Hilfiger so my husband’s taste has improved by osmosis which is super. T shirts are generally difficult I think as not everyone wants to wear a proper shirt all the time but most of them are awful.
I quite like this style of polo shirt (not this colour but they do new ones every season) from Reiss as a good compromise between being smarter and nicer than a tshirt, a little less preppy than a polo shirt, and less formal than a full blown shirt. Need to wear it less tightly than the guy in the photo but if a chap is slimmish they work pretty well
Looking forward to this – my other half is generally pretty stylish but has kind of lost his way since moving to a new job. On a height-related note, he’s 6’5″ and has found the Next raw denim straight-leg jeans to be good, but they have to be PLAIN INDIGO, not those featuring ‘whiskering’ or other Paul Hollywood/Man at River Island type ‘details’. Tips on where to source longer tops would be good, though.
Man at River Island!!! I don’t know if that’s a real thing or not but LOL
My husbands the same height and J Crew Tall has been our saviour, and Gant. Can also be persuaded into a crew clothing top at a push despite the phobia of anything with, god forbid, a LOGO.
Generally I would say my husband’s casual clothes aren’t too bad if you overlook the fact he has looked the same for about 15 years (an extensive collection of chinos and slimmish fit cords in neutral colours which fit his 6ft6 frame, slim waist and weirdly fat thighs, polo shirts in block inoffensive colours and interesting knitwear mostly bought by me from J Crew Tall). All occasions where there is an accepted dress code are fine – work, weddings, black tie evenings. Where the system falls down is for semi-formal things like christenings, engagement parties, proper catered drinks parties, lunch with aging godparents or ex-tutors (also a Balliol man). Event themed guidance on casual jackets etc would be brilliant. Swimming costumes and, to a lesser extent, shoes also a serious blind spot.
coming up x
Louisa Booth says
How do we all feel about the sizes of things husbands wear?
Now I have been buying my husband Medium as he has filled out a bit .. not fat just not 21 and a tiny small (plus retiring from competitive cycling and taking up crossfit).
To which he has been getting a bit huffy .. I’m gently trying to point out that a size too small doesn’t nothing for you.
And Fred Perry … will this be banned as it’s almost all he will wear to work (trendy silly American dress casual workplace… think bean bags and chil pods and all that manner of ridiculous office type morale)
Louisa a thing I have REALLY noticed while researching this is that men wear their clothes too small… I think it’s that they can’t get used to not being 21 and eating whatever they want anymore
Pauline Wilby says
Sorry but have just googled Mr Porter and nearly had a fit at the prices! I have a 5′ 6″ OH and his has taken me 12 years to alter his mind set over certain items in his wardrobe. He now wears shorts just on his knee which caused many hissy fits as his preferred length was what I called ‘pervert style”. He likes a nice t shirt but mostly have to have a collar due to stupid golf club rules. We have a very good menswear shop just down the road which has improved things as they shorten trousers etc. He had an aversion to spending money on clothes though but as he’s now 71 (good legs and bum albeit slightly overweight) I’m just about winning. Incidentally he looks great in his kilt so needs no other clothes for the very rare ‘posh do’s’ we go to! Looking forward to more inspiration from you over the next few days.
Pauline Mr Porter is definitely only for a lucky few… I like the sound of your Mr xxx
Tom B says
This is exceeding my expectations and not a single garment has yet been recommended! Cannot wait!
Please give us some advice about casual trousers for men that aren’t jeans and aren’t horrible and aren’t eye-wateringly expensive. And nice polo shirts that aren’t stripy.
It’s shoes in this house. We switch between Nike running shoes (it’s taken me 15 years to insist these are only actually worn for, you know, running) or horrific Merrell things (he’s tall and slim, they make him look like a bloody golf club!) and ‘boating shoes’ he found on sale at TKMaxx. Once he brought home some black monstrosities from the Clarks sale. I don’t even know what happened to those, I blocked it out. Oh and we have some nice leather Reef flip flops which I’m so grateful for in comparison to the others that I overlook his less than delightful feet in!
He loves the bloody cargo shorts and polo shirts but at least I’ve got him down to tasteful colours now. Have introduced Boden chinos and plain navy knitwear which is all fine and he can rock a nice checked shirt. But yes, tshirts one size too small. He blames my love of the tumble dryer…I blame his advances towards 40.
And for laughs, this is a true story, once he forgot his clothes for a works party so was forced to venture out and buy some at lunch. He bought ladies’ cords in Zara (not intentionally, they were in the wrong section, but still!) and a pink tshirt from Topman that had a picture of a chimp on the front holding a gun with the words ‘make my day, punk ass monkey’. THIS IS ALL TRUE.
Sadly I didn’t find out until the next day when I saw photos on Facebook and found the offending items on our bedroom floor. He still wonders why colleagues look at him weirdly…
sorry sorry it didnt really say make my day punk ass monkey?!?!?!? I… am…. FALLING about laughing actual tears. the funniest thing is that he went FROM zara TO top man to get this t shirt
No it really truly did. I wish I had a photo somewhere… it was a lovely pink colour AND THE MAN HAS ORANGE HAIR.
I think he just wandered aimlessly from Zara into the next shop along. Once he’d bought women’s trousers there wasn’t really any lower he could fall so…
God, you’ve really got your work cut out here!!
Linda Pattison says
I await in all eagerness. Mine is solicitor by day so suit yadda yadda….. but then he comes home and out comes his fave ORANGE polo shirt. Share the love
I wish I had half the problems which you lot have laid out … you have no idea what the world of fashion is like for men in the Netherlands (or Germany come to that). When I met my Cloggy 19 years ago he practically had a mullet, wore COWBOY BOOTS and a disgusting beige suede jacket. It has taken me until this time to get him into half way decent clothes and then only through the M&S online website. But still …. shorts exactly the same as Giles, SINGLETS (or whatever you call those horrendous things vests)? and a tatty old linen jacket I insisted he buy which has never been off his back for four years. He buys his jeans in C&A. I cannot believe I just typed those words. Please help … (he’s medium with a beer belly and good bum and legs). X
Nicola Underdown says
The issue I’m faced with is a husband who does manual work but not the sort where he gets a uniform or even a hoody/t shirt (cameraman). He’s out meeting the public but also crawling through small spaces, fixing oily kit/van, trying not to draw attention in dodgy places, standing in the rain etc etc. That means his uniform, 24/7 (barring wedding etc) is jeans, trainers and t shirt. I’d like some difference to be discernible on the odd occasion we escape the toddler to socialise!
Nicola is your husband a spy
Strawberry Blonde, actually says
This thread has made my day, hilarious. The battles in my house are over his devotion to short sleeved white shirts for work, even though we now can’t go to Tesco after work as someone always assumes he’s an employee and asks where the eggs are.
BARF!!!! they’ve got to go
Tom B says
I can’t work out how to post pics, but have just done an experiment with my wallet (the only thing of the holy trinity that goes in my back pocket). Some of my trousers have a button sealing my wallet in safely ✅, some have a deepish back pocket hiding the wallet successfully so almost a ✅, jeans however allow the wallet to peek out practically inviting a pickpocket and thus rule jeans out as particularly practical wear for me!
Tom this is psychotic. I love it!
Tom you’ve painted quite the picture with words xx
Regarding the tall man issue, my husband is 6’5″ and slim, and there are two American brands that have clothes that fit him: Eddie Bauer and Nordstrom. They both carry long sleeve button down shirts in a “Large Tall,” which is perfect for my husband because his arms are too long for Large and XL looks like a tent on him! Nordstrom is definitely the more expensive of the two, but they do make great clothing. Eddie Bauer carries the Large Tall size for sweaters and jackets as well, and also has pants that fit his long legs. I don’t know what their details are for shipping outside the US, (which is where I am) but it might be worth looking into. I hope this helps, because the Large Tall size has been a life-saver for us! (Well, maybe it didn’t save our lives, but you know what I mean.)
Louisa Booth says
We are very excited in this house about unearthing some magical shops.
My husband said he basically never cared about clothes and just bought bamd t-shirts leaving his Mum to supply the jeans etc.
He cares more now, but at 5’7 and just over 40 he doesn’t want to shop in Superdry and wear big logos but needs more places to go!
Superdry! BARF! I love the conversations that these posts are starting – that’s the most important thing really… just to start talking about it…
Looking forward to this already! My husband has v broad shoulders but is slim everywhere else (he’s basically a triangle on legs). He had a pre-me winter coat which was ridiculous on him because it fitted his shoulders but then hung straight down. It looked like he’d borrowed his dad’s coat (except his dad is much shorter than him and not triangular). He thought it was ‘fine’. The lining was becoming worn at the ‘seat’ so I took it out with the full intention of replacing it but – whoops – winter popped round first and we *had* to get him a new one (which I helped choose, is fitted and looks really good). Win!
where is it from?????
M&S 🙂 Sorry I meant to mention that!
My husband is 6ft3 and has a long body so struggles to find t-shirts that don’t look like crop tops from Miss Selfridge. He used to buy all his t-shirts from American Apparell but they’ve gone bust and all the shops have shut. My friend whose husband is 6ft7 suggested Abercrombie & Fitch as an alternative but my husband hates anything with an identifiable logo, and also he’s not a Californian teenager. So what tshirts can I ball up to put in his stocking?
Also I absolutely love flowery Liberty print shirts but he absolutely refuses to wear them as he thinks they’re too effeminate and he “would feel like a dick” if he wore one. He is very tall and bald (and thuggish) looking so I think he could totally get away with stuff that is a bit effeminate/preppy e.g. candy coloured pink shorts, but he won’t countinence anything like that. Are they acceptable or not?
He COULD get away with it, but that is a look (although nice) that is now a bit dated, especially on the more intimidating (thuggish) gent. Also it’s really important that no-one feels like “a dick” wearing anything. There are plenty of preppy styles that would look great on him that aren’t literally floral and pink xxx
Did anyone see the Man in the Orange Shirt? Loved the styling of the main characters! Worth a look… what do you think Esther?
Tom B says
Interesting- having had my sartorial suggestion receptors unregulated by yesterday’s bants, I watched Man in the Orange Shirt with different eyes and yes I agree though Steve’s work outfit of shorts t-shirt and boots let it down a little! I am gagging to hear Esther’s suggestions!
Emily A says
thanks for all the tall thin man advice everyone – can’t wait to get started!
I am loving this even more than the womens’ capsule … Am extremely lucky that my husband is remarkably well-dressed all the time – I always feel like a bag lady next to him – but I have exerted quite a lot of influence over the years. All awful clothing has gone, everything that was sludge coloured or described as ‘marl’, and the majority of Crew tops and rugby shirts, apart from a few for beach wear, and everything his mother ever gave him! Mind you, he has never worn jeans or a t-shirt or a baseball cap or trainers, and does a lot of classic man-shopping: ‘I like these trousers in green, so I will buy them in navy and also in red’. I have even got him into Birkenstocks (which rubbed) (the unholy sight of him in coloured socks, Birkies and cords is very …. Stroud-y …. though this is a look he sports at home ONLY) .
The only sticking point is casual rubber-soled shoes; we have freezing floors, he has back problems exacerbated by cold feet and he hates deck shoes. I forced him to buy a pair but because he didn’t want to, he ended up with a horrid pair which, because he actually needs shoes like this, he wears all the time at home. Aaaargh.
Esther, no pressure !
Mike Fleming says
I’m very much looking forward to reading this series. I need help EC.
Hi Mike!! Long time no see, great to have you here x
The Theme Tune to this should be “Tramp” by Carla Thomas and Otis Reading, Are there any other songs that diss ones personal man’s menswear choices?
I think this is aiming for somewhere in between Tramp and Dedicated Follower of Fashion. I don’t think Otis’s argument that he is a gifted lover and therefore doesn’t need to be stylish is going to wash with a Spiker somehow.
Please, Esther, can Tom B do a guest post? It’s the only way we are going to get the diagrams I just *know* he has created. TB, loving your work.
I worry that Tom B is actually Giles in disguise
Tom B says
I promise I’m not!
I’m certain there’s a spreadsheet to be made at the end of this and Tom’s the man to do it. It is very helpful to get a man’s point of view for us downtrodden proxies.
My wife directed me to your blog and I would just like to thank you for these series of posts on “What The Well Dressed Man Is Wearing”. Having taken your recommendations on board I am sitting here typing this in a Sunspel t-shirt (never heard of them before, and Christ they are expensive, but very nice) and J Crew chinos, oh and desert boots (already had those! Tick!) and, frankly, I think I am just going to wear whatever you recommend from now on and throw out all the dreadful things I have mistakenly accumulated in my wardrobe up to now.
You’re right when you say men don’t talk about their clothes much and that maybe because we (okay, I) don’t know the first thing about the subject, despite having worn clothes every day of my life for the last 47 years. I don’t know why one colour goes with something and why another doesn’t. Or what looks good, and why. I view the rules of fashion as an American might view the rules of cricket. It’s a total mystery to me and always has been. The rules keep changing, and I never understand them anyway.
And the feedback I get from my other half is usually either a disapproving look or utter exasperation. No doubt richly deserved. It’s not her fault…
So it is hugely helpful to have a system, and some recommendations, if only to make those eye-rolls less frequent.
Thank you again.
Steve I think this is my favourite all-time comment from any reader about anything. Thanks for taking the time to get in touch x
Tom B says
Yes indeed Steve ‘s reply is itter genius I especially like the American’s view of the rules of cricket, sums it up brilliantly!