Brown Belt, Black Shoes

Photo by Miles Ranno

I’m the first to admit that I think high fashion is silly. One of my favorite magazines, Vanity Fair, is absolutely gorged with full-page ads for ostentatious brands like Fendi, Louis Vuitton and Versace, and I only tolerate them because they are what keeps the cover price in a somewhat reasonable range. I appreciate fashion from an artistic standpoint (Project Runway is probably the best ‘reality’ show I’ve seen), but the overall need to be chic – succumbing to fashion for fashion’s sake – seems like little more than an insipid hobby for those who have far too much money.

That said, I have to confess that even I feel there are certain rules that men* should follow when getting dressed. I’m not talking about the great debate of “Sock, Sock, Shoe, Shoe” vs. “Sock, Shoe, Sock, Shoe.” As long as the shoes match one another and the socks are at least passably similar, it doesn’t matter which of these methods you employ to get them on your feet. By the same token, if you want to put your pants on both legs at a time – or, even better, no legs at a time – hey, that’s totally fine with me. All that matters is that the end result does not violate any of the points I’m about to list.

Now, in a perfect world, anyone to whom the following unsolicited advice applies would instantly recognize it as Truth and immediately abide by its time-tested insight. As it is, I’m probably just going to spend the next few hundred words preaching to the choir.

Rule #1: Sandals and Socks – Please Limit Your Choice to One

Look, daddy-o, I know the Birkenstocks are your sensible footwear of choice and far be it from me to impose anything but “the world’s first contoured cork/latex footbed” upon your tender tootsies. I understand that you perceive common shoes as nothing more than Gougandine corsets for the feet and I can appreciate that not having your feet completely imprisoned provides a continual feeling of liberation outdone only by the indescribable rapture of going completely barefoot. Through blooming orchids. During a full moon.

But, for the love of the Great Mother, don’t wear socks with your sandals! If your feet are cold, well, that’s why they make shoes. Socks, while great for providing warmth, are merely shoe supplements; they work in unison with shoes and boots. They do not work with sandals. Sandals, by virtue of their most basic design characteristic, are intended to be worn sans socks. They are summer footwear, as evidenced by the fact that they were invented by desert-dwellers in the Middle East and not by Eskimoes.

Rule #2: Some Shirts Should Not Be Tucked In

Okay, so it’s casual Friday and you’re allowed to wear jeans and a breezy shirt to work. You throw on a pair of Levi’s, a belt, and your favorite novelty t-shirt. So far, so good. But then you make the calamitous mistake of tucking the t-shirt into your jeans. You do that thing with your thumbs to smooth out the front and shift the folds to the back, but this does little to alter the fact that you look like a complete idiot.

Nothing says “I’m an out-of-touch nitwit” like a t-shirt tucked into jeans. (Well, I guess actually a t-shirt tucked into slacks is worse because you’ve combined a t-shirt with slacks, but let’s not digress.) See, jeans are casual. T-shirts are casual. Tucking is the absolute antithesis of casual. I have dear friends who regularly tuck their t-shirts in and most of them are so uptight their diet is 47% Rolaids. Don’t do this to yourself. Lighten up. Let the t-shirt hang freely!

UPDATE: I have been enlightened by a couple of my female readers to the fact that the tucked t-shirt allows proper viewing of other, shall we say, assets. This is a good point and I would acknowledge that a plain white t-shirt tucked in, alá icon of coolness Bruce Springsteen, is perfectly acceptable. It says, “Hey, I had a nicer shirt on over this, but I had to remove it to get rugged.”

Rule #3: Underwear Is Not an Accessory

Straight up, I’m all about lookin’ fly fo’ the ladies, yo. I been sportin’ da Kangol and stylish bling for a minute. But, for real, ain’t no hotties gettin’ all sweaty just ‘cause they can see the waistband of your drawers.

It ought to be common knowledge that only 8-ball ho’s** are turned on by a Tommy Hilfiger logo on your boxers, but then again, if you think showing everyone your underwear is a valid courting ritual, maybe you’re turned on by 8-ball ho’s.

Rule #4: If a Ring Only Fits Your Pinky, It Doesn’t Fit At All

Not a lot of elaboration needed here, folks. Unless you’re either a cigar-chomping, corporate pig-man, or one of those guys who has more piercings than teeth and wears a ring on every finger, you cannot get away with sporting a pinky ring. At best, it’s tacky. At worst, it’s a solid admission that you’re a pretentious tool. I actually have a very nice star-sapphire which is set in a timeless, white gold band. It only fits my pinky. Until I come up with the scratch to have it resized, it remains in its velvet-lined box where it belongs.

Author’s Notes:

* This list applies mainly to men, as the female fashion dynamic is quite different and allows for some deviation not available to the male gender.
**As an English major, I detest the use of apostrophes for pluralization. However, in the interest of not confusing sleazy women with garden tools (and because the entire paragraph is an exercise in butchering the English language anyway), I have opted to fudge it just this once.

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About the Photographer: Miles Ranno

Miles Ranno has been behind the camera his enitre life. The type of photos he captures most often are the emotional, candid moments, ranging from love and lust, to rage and craze.  Those unrehearsed moments come and go so fast,  ”it makes my head spin when I miss the opportunity to photograph them,” says he.  For this reason Mr, Ranno goes about his life with his Nikon strapped to his shoulder waiting for those poetic moments to show themselves, so that he can capture and share them with the world.

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Last 5 posts by Kirk Starr