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I tend to cut guys a lot of slack in the fashion department. They didn’t grow up with their magazines, movies, and TV shows telling them their self-worth is factored heavily upon their appearance, so they didn’t develop the same survival-level fashion instincts most girls did at a young age. Society’s laissez-faire approach to men’s fashion has gifted us with staying trends such as socks with sandals, the Beefy T, and the high-school gym shorts worn well into a man’s thirties, and I am fine with that. To opt for comfort over steez is never a crime in my book.
There is, however, one trend that simply does not sit well with me. Increasingly popular among men of all ages, in both business and social settings, is the blazer-with-jeans combo. I get why this seems like an attractive option, in theory. If you’re a dude who enjoys the comfort of jeans, but you find yourself in a situation requiring a slight step up in the dress code, you might think adding just one piece will bippity-boppity-boo you into becoming Cinderella at the ball.
Do not be tempted by your fairy godmother in the form of the salesperson at Aeropostale, because it will not.
Blazers alone are great, and jeans alone are great. But together, the look is haphazard and indecisive. On a guy in his twenties, it says “I’ve never been to a restaurant before.” Thirties, “I’m very recently divorced.” Forties, “I’m very recently divorced and I hope you’ll ask me about my startup.” It doesn’t work on you. It works on no one.
The key to dressing for any occasion is commitment to the je ne sais quoi of your style. If the event calls for a blazer, wear chinos on the bottom. If the event calls for jeans, wear a sweater or button down on top. If you’re not sure, wear khakis and a sweater. If you don’t give a fuck, wear your Beefy T and your high school gym shorts. I’ve made known my support for the right to dress for comfort and will never attack anyone who exercises theirs.
But we all know the blazer and jeans look is not about comfort. It is insecurity, a lack of preparation, or both, on display. You look simultaneously overdressed and under-dressed. It’s both too much and somehow not enough. There is a reason the country club that requires you to wear a blazer does not allow you to wear jeans. I find myself in disagreement with many a country club policy, however, this is one they did not err on.
I never want to discourage anyone from expressing themselves. I simply want to give clear feedback on how exactly said self-expression is received. If the message you’re trying to send is the visual equivalent of a twelve-second long Tina Belcher groan, then sure, wear the blazer with the jeans. But if you want to seem like you’re capable of deciding whether the event you’re attending is closer in dress code to a wedding than a little league game, pick a lane and stay in it..
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