Wednesday, March 31, 2010

No Jacket, No Tie, No Service

Having recently attended a semi-formal social function, I am reminded of a grave problem facing the American public: men under-dressing their women. It’s really not as kinky as it sounds. It’s the act of women dressing up in a nice dress or skirt and heels and their husband/boyfriend dressing for a tee-time at the municipal golf course except with tennis shoes instead of golf shoes.

This most often happens at weddings and Christmas parties. Let’s take the wedding as an example. The bride-to-be spends an infinite amount of time and money searching for the perfect wedding gown then spends six hours the day of the wedding getting manicured, buffed, coiffed, and dressed. Meanwhile the bridegroom usually wears a formal tuxedo as a sign of deference and respect. It’s part of the deal. Granted, he usually just rents it and then gets a discount when his groomsmen use the same tux shop, but he puts out some effort and those rental shoes really hurt. Regardless, the bride and groom set the tone down through the fabulously dressed bridesmaids, groomsmen and ushers. Their efforts demand the respect of guests dressing appropriately.

Women seemed to have figured this out and always dress for the occasion. But even if men are clueless about societal functions, they should be able to take the cue from their wives/girlfriends and dress up to them. For example when a woman spends one to two hours getting ready for a wedding, the man shouldn’t wait until the last minute and then toss her the car keys and say, “Honey, pull the car around while I put something on.” Even if you are married, this is a sure sign of disrespect, and that your wife could probably do better. For instance, a young couple shows up at a wedding. The woman wears a lovely little black dress, Wonderbra, and six-inch heels while her boyfriend at least puts on a tie but tops off the ensemble with tennis shoes. Now that’s a cute outfit for a high school prom, but in the real world it just leaves people wondering, “I wonder how long before she dumps the 12-year-old.”

Living in the Great Republic throws a wrench into this problem. . I recently scoffed at a be-wrinkled man in jeans and untucked shirt following around his attractive, cocktail-dressed wife. “Do you think she’ll even speak to him tonight?” I asked St. Pauli Girl. “You think he could have at least put on a tie and ironed his shirt?”

“Well, he is wearing his good boots,” she replied.

So I have a lot to learn about Texas.

As a service to all of the misguided gentlemen and the discerning ladies out there, I offer these tips for proper dressing of the man:

How to Dress Equal to Your Woman

A. Casual Day
HER: t-shirt, jeans and tennis shoes.

YOU: Her very casual attire means that you are either already married to her or are just a general acquaintance. There is a danger of overdressing in this scenario; since you are either married or friends, overdressing will only showcase sinister intentions. Therefore, dress like the vagabond you normally are.

TEXANS: It’s okay to wear your rodeo jeans and muddy boots. Go with a baseball or gimme cap.

B. Business Casual
HER: Nice, button-up blouse, slacks and sensible shoes.

YOU: You can get away with designer jeans if she’s into that but play it safe with a pair of khaki pants, golf shirt is okay (button all buttons except the top). Lose the tennis shoes; that could be a deal breaker.

TEXANS: Clean rodeo jeans and slightly muddy boots are okay. Tuck in the shirt. An everyday cowboy hat is okay as long as it’s in season.

C. Church
HER: Simple dress, accessories, extra make-up, careful attention to hair, and designer cologne.

YOU: In this case, the man should only wear nice jeans if he’s also wearing a sport coat. Do not underestimate the jeans and sport coat look, the jacket shows that you’ve put some extra thought into this and very well could close the deal.

TEXANS: Same as above but clean under your fingernails and wear your church boots.

D. Cocktail Party
HER: some type of casual dress or skirt, minor heels, minimum to negligible cleavage.

YOU: The man has a couple of options here but definitely requires a tie or sport coat. Stick with the khaki pants, a long sleeve dress shirt is required (only 1 open button, no gold chains or visible chest hair unless your date is a stripper) with either a matching tie or sport coat. Casual dress shoes.

TEXANS: Either designer jeans or your best clean pair, long sleeved dress or western shirt (up to 3 open buttons) and any boots.

E. The Christmas Party
HER: Designer dress bought especially for the occasion, tanning salon tan, maximum heels and cleavage.

YOU: You need to bring out your best in this scenario. You can go the suit route if you’re still trying to close the deal but at least a nice dress shirt, tie, dress pants, sport coat and dress shoes. (Note: I am assuming that you or your wife knows how to color coordinate.)

TEXANS: Pressed jeans, Western shirt and your formal cowboy hat.

F. The Wedding (someone else’s)
HER: Same as the Christmas Party except more formal or sluttier depending on her age and personality. Maximum heels and cleavage.

YOU: Sport coat ensemble is acceptable but a nice suit really shows your woman the respect she deserves. Shoes should also be freshly polished preferably from an airport shoeshine.

TEXANS: Pressed jeans, long sleeved dress or pearl-snap shirt, formal cowboy hat, most expensive boots. Absolutely no mud.

G. Random Street Corner
HER: A leopard print mini-skirt, low cut bustier with rhinestones, fishnet stockings, and 8-inch thick platform shoes.

YOU: Wear whatever you want; you paid for her.

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