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20 All-too-Common Male "Looks" (and Behaviors) That Need to Disappear in 2014, Part II

Are you guilty of leaving the house in clothes that look this bad?  Photo from Postgrad.Com.

Yesterday we looked at various flawed male "looks" that are all around us these days, and which the average guy striving to kick up his everyday style several notches should leave behind at all costs.  Today, let's pick up where we left off yesterday and examine Part II of  20 All-too-Common Common Male “Looks” (and Behaviors) That Need to Disappear in 2014.  Some of these points will seem familiar to you, and others less so, but all are sartorial and behavioral issues that need to be addressed if we want to come consistently across to others as men with some grooming, sophistication, and good taste.  And regardless of what some might say and would like to believe, very little of this is subjective or open to argument.  Unless you were raised in a barn somewhere.  Got it?  Good.  Now, here we go!

11) Cargo Anything
Pants with lots of pockets don’t even look good on soldiers although they might have a genuine function there.  But on anyone else?  Um, no.  British paratrooper pants with pockets on the thighs might have seemed cool when Sting or Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth occasionally wore ‘em 30 years ago, but let’s not kid ourselves here.  Time has marched on, and pants like these never manage to look good.  Even when clean and relatively unwrinkled.  And cargo shorts just look plain dumb.  There.  I’ve said it.

12) Over-sized Anything
This point relates to a few things mentioned in Part I of 20 All-too-Common Male “Looks” (and Behaviors) That Need to Disappear in 2014.  Just why so many department stores still seem to carry over-sized stuff is beyond me.  Even more vexing is the number of people who continue buying and wearing this stuff.  Unless it has something to do with the fact that we have become so overweight here in the United States during the last 30 years or so and, apparently, live on our overstuffed couches most of the time.  Unless you really, honestly, truly do have the ubiquitous glandular condition that so many people seem to claim, exercise some agency and get off that sofa.  Turn off the TV or computer, start exercising in some way routinely, and cut out the constant snacking, which seems to be a way of life for many.  Oh, and get yourself clothes that actually fit.  You’ll look a lot better instantly. . .  whatever your physical dimensions might be, and -- Surprise! -- that will have a positive effect on how you feel about yourself, your life, and the world in general.

13) Wrinkled Clothes
This particular “look” is easy to avoid if you simply fold and/or hang up your stuff when it comes out of the dryer as soon as the cycle ends and the dryer buzzes.  You might not look creased and crisp, but you’ll look a whole lot better than if you pile your laundry back into your duffle bag or basket and leave it there all week, haphazardly digging out one item at a time on an as needed basis until it’s laundry day once again.  What are you, a college freshman living away from home for the first time?  Come on guys!  It’s time to get with the program and start caring a bit more about how you look, the message you inadvertently send to the rest of the world, and what others think about you as a result.  Not caring at all is a pretty piss poor attitude to drag along behind you as you go through life.  That particular millstone is drowning you, boys, so it's time for you to start caring about what you look like.  You’ll be glad you did.

14) Sunglasses worn facing backwards on your cap or head
One word for the kind of guy who routinely sports this look: DOUCHEBAG!  And that’s a word I never use, but it fits here.

15) Ski caps
Unless you are outside in the winter braving the cold, or actually on the ski slopes, these look really stupid when you wear them inside and/or during the rest of the year.  And you know what?  If you’re hair is thinning, you’re not fooling anyone but yourself by covering up that shiny crown.  It’s time to own your male pattern baldness instead and get a classic fedora or tweed cap for those colder days.  But don’t forget to remove it when you enter a building and/or sit down to the table for a meal.

16) Visible Tattoos
Hasn’t the whole tattoo craze been done to death already?  Contrary to what many in the middle-class, suburban world, and elsewhere think, tattoos are not edgy and succeed only in making average guys and (gals) look tacky and cheap. . .  at best.  And they certainly don't make you look tough, just misguided.  Moreover, when soccer moms, high school kids, and corporate drones are getting and displaying tattoos, you know that a trend has long overstayed its welcome.  And let’s be honest here.  There’s nothing attractive about faded, sagging tattoos on middle-aged or older bodies however cool and unique that barbed wire thingy around your upper arm might have seemed 20 years ago when you were lifting four days a week in the basement fitness room of your dorm, and your guns were at their peak.   Nope.  It’s far better to avoid tattoos all together.  Ok, Sailor Jerry?  Or at least get your ink somewhere where you can cover it up without too much trouble.  No doubt, this point will anger some readers, but there you are.

17) Flashing (Real or Fake) Gang Signs
These look so incredibly stupid in photos that various people, outside the gang world,  share online via Facebook and elsewhere.  Why in the hell would an upstanding average guy, who is not in actually part of a gang, and who is otherwise making a genuine effort to kick up his everyday style several notches, want to imitate something that lawless gangbangers do?  Guys, these people are criminals and murderers.  Remember?  So, unless you really are in the Crips, Bloods, or whoever stop it.  It's neither funny, nor cute. 

18) Fist Bumps, Etc. 
Know what, Tyler?  You’re an adult now.  It’s not Sanford and Son ca. 1973 anymore.  And you aren’t on the playground with your best buds Steven, Ducky, and Curtis anymore like you were that one summer after your collective year together in the second grade.  So, shake hands firmly when you meet people and say “Good Morning, “Hello,” or “How do you do?”  And please leave the weak, ubiquitous “Nice to meet you” to the soccer moms and preschool teachers’ aides, ok guys?  You’re men now.  Act like it. 

19) Cracking/Popping Your Knuckles
I'm unsure why this particular crass behavior has never occurred to me before because lots of guys (and gals) do it all the time without a thought.  But cracking your knuckles is as annoying and off-putting as constantly burping, spitting, or passing gas in a public space like the office and thinking a lighted match somehow makes your disgusting behavior permissible.  Cracking your knuckles is another habit you need to become aware of and work to stop if you indulge in it.  Remember, a huge part of our personal style has to do with things besides clothing, shoes, and accessories.  Pleasant personal habits and behavior will go a long way in helping an average guy come across as a more polished and sophisticated individual. Plus, you become much nicer to have around even if others can't quite put their collective finger on why that might be.

20) Casual Shoes with Suits or Sports Jacket/Dress Pant Combos 
Not as egregious as certain other points I’ve made today, sure, but worth considering all the same.  Here’s the deal.  When you’ve gone to the trouble to improve your overall look with decent shirts, a few jackets, and some creased wool dress pants – or even a suit or two – why spoil it with rubber-soled casual shoes, which are really just sneakers masquerading as dress shoes?  Leather uppers or not, rubber-soled casual shoes are meant to be worn with khakis or jeans during the evenings and on weekends.  When worn with an otherwise more formal ensemble, they scream mall security and Information Desk staff.   

For a more professional, urbane look, invest in some high quality, leather-soled dress shoes!  And don’t argue that they are uncomfortable.  When you find and purchase shoes that fit you, and opt for quality brands, you are investing in something that will not only last a long time (with regular care and maintenance), those same shoes will also feel extremely comfortable to wear.  If they are uncomfortable -- Ding!  Ding!  Ding! -- they don't fit you.  Try a different size and/or width.  My personal favorite is the American brand Allen Edmonds, but there are a number of other shoe brands out there that are comparable or even better.  The point?  Don’t wear the rubber comfort soles with your suits or sports jackets and ties, and don’t cut corners either.  It makes solid (and comfortable) sense to get the best you can afford when it comes to your footwear, Ebenezer.  Know what I mean?

Any combination of the problems noted in the two parts of 20 All-too-Common Male “Looks” (and Behaviors) That Need to Disappear in 2014 risk making you come across like a schmo, a schlemiel, a rube, or a prole -- take your pick -- who hasn’t a clue about looking and/or being appropriate, serious, and capable in any sense or form.  If you are at all aware of the need to kick up your everyday style several notches from what it is currently, however, then these are ways of looking (and acting) that you’ll want to leave behind -- far, far behind -- in 2014 and beyond.  Trust me.

-- Heinz-Ulrich


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All opinions are welcome here. Even those that differ from mine. But let's keep it clean and civil, please.

-- Heinz-Ulrich

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