Friday, October 15, 2010

In praise of the well-dressed man

In this part of the world, there is little mention about how casual Fridays are getting out of hand. Personally, I love it when the gents dress with circumspection; i.e. to suit the occasion.

Don't get me wrong; I do enjoy men in their comfy casuals like slouchy t-shirts and jeans / footie jersey and cargoes, but there's something about a well turned out man that just makes one's mouth water.

It used to be a rite of passage for a guy to get the first pair of suit bespoke by a tailor introduced to him by his father. However, as casual fashion becomes more and more pervasive, this is a lore that one only read in books of the silverspoon genre. More and more workplace tolerate dressy casuals and suits become something that is relegated to either rarefied circles or tolerated for weddings/funerals/etc.

I think one of the reasons why Arthur of Inception received a great deal of attention in fandom is because of the way he dressed. Who would have expected a sombre looking guy in a three-piece suit to be kickin' ass and taking name in such style?



He brought back the panache that was embodied by Sean Connery when he was James Bond; a man in a sharp suit armed with a rapier mind, ambiguous moral code and laser honed reactions. A capacity for violence masked by the veneer of civility lent by the suit is incredibly alluring and seductive (but only when directed against the bad guys, of course).

But that's a fictional character, you gentlemen may say. What about an ordinary Joe who doesn't have a personal trainer to keep his waistline trim or the funds for a bespoke wardrobe?

Well, a man doesn't need licence to kill to be a lady killer, you know. For the formal occasions, look for a well-fitting suit (you may need to alter off-the-rack acquisitions) in a style and colour that flatters you (navy is a safe bet for all skin tone). Team them with cotton shirts in hues that enhances your complexion and a natty tie (matching, naturallement); learn to accessorise with cuff links or even pocket squares. Polish your shoes. Buy socks that is NOT white. Experiment with what looks best for you.

But what about  the physical constraints and discomfort of wearing suits in equatorial weather? It may surprise you but there *are* fabrics for tropical weather suits. Cotton, linen suits can be very dashing and are lightweight to accommodate high temperatures (but not humidity). There are also summer-weight wool blends that can work beautifully in tropical latitudes. You *do* have options.

For those who don't wish to look like a mindless corporate drone, why not add your own personal signature to your style? If you need ideas, visit The Sartorialist; he documents ordinary people with extraordinary style with his fabulous photographs.

Traditional dress like baju melayu and kurta can also be incredibly flattering. I recall fondly the guys participating in bara'an (Javanese tradition of visiting house-to-house in a large group to sing praises to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH during the first few days of Eid-ul-Fitr to bring blessings to the host) decked in their Hari Raya finery of baju melayu complete with songkok and kain sampin. No matter what colour of material they chose, or the body it draped, the ensemble brings out the best in them: emphasising the breadth of the shoulders, minimising the portness of the tummy and even giving height to the vertically challenged ones.

Therefore, gentlemen, do take due consideration when selecting your garments. Because we love to appreciate you at your best. That's not saying that we don't appreciate you when you want to get down and comfortable, we are just saying that a little pride in your appearance goes a long way.

In praise of well dressed men, here is Barney Stinson serenading his true love in life: his sartorial elegance.

Ganked from manticore's FB update, thank you very much.


me the martian said...

i totally agree with u!!!

hey u go to bara'an? jawa ke? same same!

Snuze said...

Yay! Bocah jowo jugak!

Since my grandma passed away we no longer go balik kampung early enough to catch the bara'an. :p

I did remember sneaking peeks from the kitchen as I help prepare the drinks for them. Some of my cousins' friends are totally to die for. There's something to be said for a well-built Javanese man in full regalia, you know?

Totally swoon-worthy.