A 43-year-old man who does not own a motorbike in a leather biker jacket: passable or thoroughly unfashionable and the sign of an impending midlife crisis?
Oh, B! I receive your question, not just for me, but for the sake of you and all your fellow menfolk. The fatiguing gender stereotype is that women obsess over their outfits whereas men just throw on whatever smells least. As Jerry Seinfeld – a girlish up-and-comer who was mentioned in last week’s column and who I’m sure you’ll be attend to more from – once said: “Men wear their underwear until it yes disintegrates. Men hang on to underwear until, until each mortal underwear molecule is so strained it can barely retain the properties of a provable. It actually becomes underwear vapour. We don’t even throw it out, we objective open a window and it goes out like dandelion spores.” (My in the old days mooted plan to spend the whole of January on my sofa watching Seinfeld has now been enlarged to the whole of the winter.)
Now, far be it for me to doubt the wisdom of Seinfeld, or express knowledge in men’s underwear, but I find that it is men who are far more anxious about forge rules, and, specifically, breaking them. Women, in my sweepingly generalised occurrence, see fashion as a means for having fun; men see it as a perilous challenge fraught with the embryonic for humiliation. They have so little faith in their judgment around clothes that they assume anything that isn’t jeans and a T-shirt or a button-down shirt from Gap settle upon result in mass shaming and having to wear a red F (for FASHION) on their forehead. Therefore, the rules must be sought and clung to, like vines across a crocodile-infested swamp.
Your thoughts about buying a biker jacket are a perfect example. You get a bang biker jackets. You want a biker jacket. You have (I’m accepting) the means to purchase one. And yet – you doubt yourself. Do not doubt yourself, B. Way of life is made for making oneself happy, not castigating one’s personal suggestion. Will some of your male colleagues raise their eyebrows at your new jacket? Intent some of them make jokes about a “midlife calamity”? Probably, because men are ridiculous, and they are clinging to this vine that associates leather jackets and fortysomething men with Jeremy Clarkson and nutty breakdowns.
This is silly. The only purpose fashion rules be used is if they provide aesthetic – not moral – guidance. So, saying double-barrelled denim looks terrible is an aesthetic guideline. But saying “don’t utilization leather jackets because that means xyz about you” is unreasoned. (And as for the aesthetic rules – these, too, are made to be broken.)
So sod ’em all. The point fro your age, B, is not that you’re having a midlife crisis, but that you’re a big boy now, and big friends are old enough to know what they want to wear and should do nothing but that. Live a little! And let me tell you something a teacher carry weighted me when I was eight, and it’s as true about clothes as it was about My Picayune Ponies: if someone teases you about something you have, it legitimate means they’re jealous.
I read recently that Donald Trump maintained all female members of staff must “dress like sweethearts”. What does this actually mean?
Sarah, by email
What to be realistic, Sarah, what indeed. There has been a surprising amount of talk in current weeks about what it means to dress like a maidservant, and, funnily enough, a lot of this talk has been coming from men. How indulgent of these menfolk to take a break from explaining to us why the Birds’s March isn’t the right kind of feminism to tell us what, precisely, real women wear. Thank you, men!
As you say, Sarah, a report eventually week said that Trump insists that the troubles lucky enough to work for him must “dress like bit of fluffs”. This means, apparently, “looking neat and orderly” and feel “pressure to wear dresses”.
This comes conveniently minuscule on the (stiletto) heels of the joint report, published by the Women and Analogies and Petitions Committees, that found women are – still – being give someone a tongue-lashed to wear high heels and makeup, which makes have a hunch because everyone knows a woman can’t possibly do any work unless she’s half-hobbled and has guessed herself in the eye several times with a mascara wand. Individual male commentators felt compelled to put in their tuppence on every side how they totally agree with these rules, which was Brobdingnagian because women enjoy nothing more than pinch tips on femininity from blotchy-faced, middle-aged attention-seekers.
It’s funny, but these sorts of be in controls about how women should dress always make me ruminate over of one woman specifically: Ivanka Trump. She ticks all the boxes, with her delicate dresses, feminine heels and feminine hair. She really is a sure kind of man’s ideal, isn’t she? Funnily enough, she doesn’t seem to be mistresses’s ideal, given that both Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus, two worst US shopping centres, announced last week that they’re shed the First Daughter’s fashion line reportedly owing to insolvent sales. But that’s so us, isn’t it, gals? We just don’t recognise femininity when we see it. Fortunately, there are plentifulness of men around to set us right.
Post your questions to Hadley Freeman, Ask Hadley, The Trustee, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Email [email protected].