July 1, 2013

Reader Question: Quarterly Edition


I love reading other publications’ answers to their readers’ questions, particularly those in a specific gentlemen’s magazine. Lately though, I’ve felt that some of the answers have gotten a bit flippant or out of touch with younger generations. That is why every few months I’ll provide my own answers to a few that I thought were mishandled.

1. Alas, Poor Acid Wash.
“Are acid-washed jeans back in style yet? I don’t want to throw away my pairs from the ‘80s, and I feel like it’s bound to happen soon.”              – April Issue
This is actually a really simple one to answer – get rid of them. Even if acid-wash comes back, hopefully the fit of the 80’s will not come back with them. While fashion is cyclical, the details tend to evolve. Tom Ford brought back the wide lapel suits, but you would still look strange in a polyester leisure suit from 1976. Denim is no different. The fit, pocket size and placement, and use of elastic are all things that will likely be drastically different if/when acid wash makes a comeback. But let’s all hope that it doesn’t.

2. To Clean or Not to Clean?
“I struggle with how many times to wear a dress shirt before sending it out to be dry-cleaned. I used to send my shirts back after every wear, but I think that expedited the mortality of the fabric and buttons. Do you have a rule of thumb?” – May Issue
While I generally agree with the given answer, I feel like more specifics are needed. How often you wash your dress shirts depends a lot on what you are doing and what the temperature is like. If they look, feel, or smell dirty, then it’s probably time for a wash. I generally get two full days out of my shirts, sometimes three. That said, I also always wear an undershirt, which helps a lot with keeping the shirts clean. When it does come time to wash them, I will usually launder my shirts as dry cleaning absolutely shortens their life span. It is important not to be afraid of the dry cleaner when the need arises though. Whenever the collar or cuffs of my lighter colored shirts start to get dingy, they go to the cleaners to brighten them back up. A good dry cleaner will know what to launder, what to dry clean, and how best to treat whatever stains you may have.

3. All the World’s a Stage
“I’m dating a girl who belly dances, and she often invites me to watch her dance before our dates. But what to wear to something like that? Is it appropriate to add a small boutonniere the color of the costume she is wearing, or would that be over the top?” – June Issue
The answer given to this was actually borderline offensive (to me at least) and seemingly confused belly dancing with stripping. I think a small boutonniere is about as far from over the top as you can get and a nice gesture to boot. You could maybe even push the envelope and go with a pocket square instead. Anything more would probably be too much. As for what to wear, it sounds like you are on the right track if you are considering wearing a boutonniere. Most of the belly dance shows that I’ve attended have been quite nice, so trousers, a jacket, collared shirt, and possibly a tie are absolutely appropriate, especially if you are going out on a date afterwards. In my mind, there is rarely an instance where being overdressed is a bad thing.

Have style questions of your own? Send me an email and I’ll do my best to answer them for you. Also, forgive the bad Shakespeare-inspired titles. I’m really looking forward to seeing Joss Whedon’s Much Ado.

Stay stylish,
- JJ

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