FAQ: WTF?


You know, I was feeling a lot better about understanding fashion particularly with regards to how it relates to me. I felt I had a bit more of a vocabulary and I didn’t seem as lost when surrounded by racks of choices. My eyes would even hone in on some item then the brain would follow critically, assessing my find against its practicality for moi.

It was therefore probably a mistake to click on the Style page of the NY Times today. Barely able to walk, I think they’re asking me to run. I was confronted with this:

21-brown-lapel-tmagSF

My first thought was of course the ubiquitous ‘WTF?” It’s such a perfect catchall, and unrevealing of the nature of one’s confusion/amusement/disdain etc. Such a reactionary response is indicative of curiosity on my part so I read further as to why a designer chose to add a bit of Rocky the Flying Squirrel to an otherwise ordinary suit.

It seems that the designer is attempting to evoke style reminiscent of military sashes. True, lapels did start from military tunics, with the ability to button over to perform the task of Keeping Warm. Trust the military to come up with such practical considerations. As we all know, looking good in high fashion has nothing to do with personal comfort (ask any university club hopper – see also ShpakBlog on the subject). Such is the case here, as the over-lapel buttons onto the jacket somehow.

I don’t want to know how, and I really don’t want, the next time I buy a suit or sport coat, to find extra buttons all over the thing for purposes of attaching hunks of chipmunk fur to me.

Here’s some things I already don’t understand about men’s clothing:

  • Why do they stitch suit pockets shut? If you don’t want to use it as a pocket, don’t use it as a pocket. Do you need stitching to save you from yourself? Really? If the designer wants a pocket flap as a design element, but Godforbid that anyone should use it to carry grapefruit, then why put a pocket behind it?
  • Sort of a corollary: The stitched lapel slot, for a boutonnière, well, they go around it with a buttonhole stitch, but then don’t bother to cut the thing open. You’re going to trust me with this, probably at the last minute when said boutonnière is sprung on me? It’s likely a borrowed pocket knife will do the honours. “Yes, it’s Armani, with Swiss Army Accents,” I might say, explaining away the hatchet job on the left lapel.
  • On the topic of buttonholes: dress shirts, and even a lot of casual shirts are showing up with the bottom hole horizontal, versus the vertical arrangement of the remainder. At first I thought this might be Moron Protection, aha, this must be the bottom button hole so I start here, thus avoiding an embarrassing misalignment, but there’s no guarantee I start with the bottom button, is there? And in fact the extra buttons sewn onto the shirt for replacements are down there so Lowest Button is ambiguous in some cases. In any event, if you can do up an entire shirt and are still oblivious to the fact you’re one buttonhole off, then it is your duty to entertain the rest of us. I, for one, need something to take my mind off wondering what the horizontal hole is for.
  • Lastly, can I just request industry standard agreement on the placement of the inner pocket on any men’s garment? Now, most of them are on the left to facilitate a right handed man. Okay, I get that. Yet every now and then there’s something with a pocket on the inner right. That’s okay, in itself, as I dress. In goes the wallet. Yet hours later, when needing to retrieve said wallet, there’s the moment of panic when I forget about this oddity of nature. Is somebody, 34661_1511927635155_1143301626_1477855_3849623_nsomewhere, laughing at me? No? Then pick a side, people, and stick with it.

And while you’re at it, lose the furry lapel thing. If I want to wear a sash, I’ll become a scout leader. Now, THIS is a man who can wear a sash ————————————->

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3 Comments

  1. Okay, the pockets are sewn shut on both good quality men’s and women’s garments for a reason, but they are basted and the basting is meant to be removed after you purchase the garment. The article hangs better and looks better without the pockets gaping open, thus making you more interested in purchasing it. If you take scissors and clip the thread careful, it easily pulls out and voila, you have pockets. Use them at your peril, though. Stuffing your pockets with kleenex or even your hands will ruin the line of your jacket, pants, vest, whatever.

  2. They also tear out quite nicely, which is far more realistic to expect from a Remade Man’s Garment. Just checked my coats. None show signs of Pocket Sag despite said ripping. So I am not buying the gaping thing. And I’ll pack my grapefruit as I see fit, thank you.

  3. I think this is a standardization job for George Massenburg at the next AES. A committee needs to be struck and an audio guy needs to settle this thing once and for all. You’ll know that the garment is pin 2 hot, at least.


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