Fashion is for people with no style, it is often said. On the near-empty subway home from a very pleasant dinner of sushi and martinis, I sat next to an abandoned copy of GQ (January 2012 issue), and started spinning through it. To my schadenfreudian pleasure, I saw that it was still borderline useless, designed by man-boys for the specific consumption by other man-children.
Look very closely at the images below. If you have a pulse and are awake while viewing these pictures, you will see that the trend clobbers your style sense with its ugly style agenda.
There is nothing wrong with socklessness in moderation, but the high-water/pegged cuff-with-dress shoes trend is just that: a trend. And it's dumb. Very dumb. It's for children and not for men. It was almost charming when young Londoners did it in the 60's, and it was almost funny when Pee-Wee Herman did it in the 80's, but today it still looks dumb. I try to avoid saying that this or that is right or wrong, but many trends can generally be dismissed out of hand as suspect at best, and subversive at worst.
Not that this should come as a surprise within the pages of "men's" magazines... especially when they are publications that encourage men to undertake grotesque body-building (unrelated to athleticism, by the way), practice sporadic abstinence with shaving, and to pain endlessly to achieve a pseudo bed-head hair style. I generally tend to be laissez faire when it comes to style, preferring that people do and wear what they like if it is no harm to me, but when it becomes wedged down one's throat, my hackles get crackled.
Consider this "fashion advice" from their long-running column:
Since a bow tie conceals the collar points, I find this advice especially moronic. Below, I have a spread collar with a bow tie... what's the problem?
"YWP, If you don't always like GQ, don't read it." An appropriate suggestion since I just said "laissez faire" a few lines ago, but it goes deeper than that. It is clear that there is a resurgence in style-hungry young men, and like you, I quietly bristle (as unsanctimoniously as possible) at that to which these eyes turn. Should they be looking to blogs? Maybe as a last resort. Magazines? No. They should have been guided by an older generation of fathers, grandfathers, brothers, uncles, teachers, and even public figures. Further, they should be guided (by insistence) by mothers, sisters, girlfriends, and wives.
Southern women are the best for this... they lay it out plainly about what their boys and men should wear, how they should act, etc., and they stubbornly adhere to their expectations in a way that is always refreshing and appropriate. I always love spending time in the Mid-Atlantic and South for this reason. They insist that men dress and behave in a certain way, and it pays off. As a Yankee (who married a Yankee) who travels several times per month, I assure you that the contrast is vivid. That is not to say that there are not appropriately strong-willed and exceedingly hospitable women elsewhere who refuse to abdicate to lower standards. In New England there are many, and I imagine that it comes from family, school, friends, or any combination of those, or even from an innate sense of self-assuredness and certainty of how they choose to interact with the world (a nod to the Fowler sisters, M.F and K.F.).
In Boston, men will pretend to sleep or read on the subways and buses to avoid giving their seats to the elderly, the injured, or even very pregnant women. When the offense becomes too glaring, it will normally be the smartly dressed gal with a sweet southern lilt (student or transplant) who will be the first to insist that "At least one of you able-bodied men will SURELY give you seat to this woman."
My close friend with three girls says that if he had three sons, he could only teach three boys how to behave... but with three daughters he can teach the whole town... and he lives in Maine. Sound philosophy.