Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Gentlemen's corner

According to Charlie Porter in the Guardian today, the new trend in menswear is the jumpsuit. Let's revisit that sentence againsand see what is the matter with it. Spot the problem? The new trend in menswear. Men change the style of their clothes with the speed of glaciers. In my lifetime all I can remember altering is width of the amount of fabric on the lower leg and the with of the amount of fabric on the chest. But brave Charlie ploughs on:

Men's jumpsuits are now arriving in stores from the likes of Prada, Calvin Klein and Mulberry, and I think they're a challenge we should accept. Yes, there are hints of Guantánamo Bay, and the jumpsuit is decidedly old blue-collar, but that's why I find it so delicious. Much of the trusted male wardrobe is derived from functionality, such as the military trench coat, or denim jeans. Jumpsuits traditionally work for hard labour because you can forget you've got the thing on and focus on the job. When I'm in a suit, I'm distracted by paranoia: Is it all straight? Is everything tucked in? Is it making me look like a fraud? With the jumpsuit, you can just get on with living.

But apparently there are ways and ways of wearing a jumpsuit, as Charlie explains:

Last October, I borrowed a slate-grey tight nylon jumpsuit with electric blue trim from Alexander McQueen to wear to the Fashion Rocks event at the Royal Albert Hall. It was a black-tie affair, so I put a tux jacket over the top. Between acts, Tom Ford came over and said he didn't approve of how I was wearing it. His comment: lose the underwear. It's not advice I have taken.

Many man and some innocent women would go into a swoon if Tom Ford told them to remove their delicates, and perhaps Charlie was misreading the signals but there again he has more practical tips on how to wear a jumpsuit:

Prada's jumpsuit is for those who are lucky enough to be lanky, as are most of the designer jumpsuit offerings [and the author]. If you try one on, and I do hope that you will, make sure you look at yourself from all angles, particularly the side. Paunches are what prevent most men from engaging in designer clothing, and jumpsuits have a nasty habit of riding a touch too tight over that humiliating area. Also make sure the jumpsuit fastens low enough to allow yourself quick access at the urinal. And, finally, you need to ask yourself the all-important romper-suit question: do I look like a grown-up baby? After all, I'm jealous of the ease with which my friend Ruth dresses her newborn son Arthur, but nobody wants to look as if they swap fashion tips with under-fives.


mq, cb said...

He's having us on, right?

Deja Pseu said...

I'm having Devo flashbacks.

Toby Wollin said...

Sorry - my flashbacks are worse - I'm envisioning George "Chimpy McFlightsuit" Bush and his "Mission Accomplished" photo op.

enc said...

Yes, that's all fine and good, but what guy will wear one—in all seriousness?

(toby wollin: "Chimpy McFlightsuit? that is the best laugh I've had all day. Thank you.)

Phyllis said...

To quote another favorite blog of mine, "Just the thing for relaxing in your cell in D Block."

chellspecker said...

I was watching Soul Train last night. In the section where everyone disco dances very seriously, there was a handsome young African-American Black Panther afro'ed type dancing in a rather fetching cantaloupe-coloured denim overall-style jumsuit with no shirt underneath. Osh Kosh B'Gosh, I've gotta get me one of those! I'll be only 30 years too late, and the wrong ethnicity, but I'll be damned if I can't still pull it off.