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I am the first person to admit that I have absolutely no fashion sense. My entire wardrobe has been created using my two-syllable mantra: B-A-R-G-A-I-N

Old Navy and H&M are favorites of mine, but I also do shop at Macy’s, Filene’s, Lord & Taylor, Structure/Express Men and stores like that – but I never purchase items unless they’re on sale. And the clothes I do tend to buy are always very nondescript. Nothing I own or buy would make me stand out in a crowd. In fact, they do the opposite – they allow me to blend.

That said, even with my limited fashion sense, there are some things I just can’t stand. I like to think that my disdain for such things is universal, but apparently it is not. Maybe my fashion sense is so out of whack that I can’t tell what is hip (as those young-whipper-snappers say). So here goes – my list of fashion offenses:

1 – sweathshirts tucked into pants (this is what I observed this morning and what prompted this posting). The men who do this are (99.9% of the time) steroid ape-men with excessive muscles and no neck. They wear a sweatshirt and then tuck it into their jeans (or worse, sweat pants). What’s up with that? Aren’t sweatshirts designed with that elastic/stretch waist already?

2 – birkenstocks with socks in winter. Actually, I’m not too keen on sandals with socks in general, but as a person who’s feet sweat I can understand the functional aspects of it. However, what I don’t understand are people wearing them in the winter when the ground is cold and slushy. I mean, their feet must get cold? …and then wet. This can’t be pracitcal. I notice this fashion trend is most common among the liberal-academic elite (Harvard professors, etc..).

3 – neon colored skin-tight lyrca shirts on overweight women. It’s bad enough that a size 18 woman is squeezing into size 10 garments, but when the lycra shirt is too short and ends up showing a stretch-marked bare mid-riff it’s simply wrong. And why are these shirts almost always brightly-colored? This is something I’ve seen in all seasons and it all parts of the country. Trust me – I’m  all for the body beautiful and believe EVERYBODY should be proud of their body, but as with the muscle clones in Item #1, you don’t need to show it off that way. In fact, well-fitted clothes would be even more flattering (actually, seeing as there is nothing flattering about this fashion phenomenon, a burlap bag would be more flattering).

4 – brands plastered all over garments. I don’t understand the point of being a walking/talking advertisement for a designer. I mean, if the designer is good enough, the clothes will speak for themselves. I must admit, I’m a partial offender here: Old Navy seems to put their name all over their clothes. However, I tend to only buy the products they sell that don’t scream “OLD NAVY” (but at $4.99 for a shirt, I can handle a little logo on the chest). The biggest offenders out there for me are Tommy Hilfiger and Abercromibie and Fitch. (note: I was so thrilled when the Abercrombie store in Harvard Square closed down in less than two years).

5 – bowel-droop jeans. Once again, I’ve been guilty of wearing clothes that are too big for me (I’ve recently discovered that I have a 32 inch waist yet have been mostly buying size 34 for the past decade). Still, the jeans I was buying fit normally – just loose. They didn’t ride 3 inches south of my waist exposing my underwear. And the worst part of that look is that the ass is so saggy it makes the guy appear to be carrying around a huge mound of fecal matter. What’s the point?

I can’t believe that I, the most fashion-free person I know, actually constructed a list of fashion offenses. It’s like the Pope adivising people of the best brand of condoms to use.


  1. Comment by Doug on September 17, 2004 11:10 am

    You forgot one more peeve…..Age Appropriate Dressing. You know when a 60 year old woman ‘thinks’ she is still a hot 25 year old and wears a mini skirt to the office with stilettos and leopard print. I find this trend to be especially obvious with the um….’white trash’ part of the population.

  2. Comment by chris on September 17, 2004 1:14 pm

    ONE full weekend shopping in NY with Les Souers Pardo and our Karl had bloomed into Anna Wintour.

    i have a mantra to share, and in some of these cases its applicable:

    “if you have it, flaunt it. if you dont, DONT”.

    its such a simple mantra!

    as long as you buy your coveted 4.99 “Old Navy” branded/logoed tshirts, you cant really complain about tommy et al. which brings me to my second mantra

    “live better with less”

  3. Comment by chris on September 17, 2004 1:17 pm

    oh and since the Holiday season is slowly drawing near, karl has a new favorite color:


    it really brings out the blue in his eyes! just a helpful fashion shopping hint!

  4. Comment by chris on September 17, 2004 1:34 pm

    for doug, above:

    if a man in his early 50s who obviously works out and takes care of himself wears a sleeveless t-shirt, cargo shorts,a baseball cap, and flip flops in public, would you take offense to that?

    is the idea of Not So Taut Flesh the part that turns you off?

    after 30, are we all relegated to a life of button-down collars and dockers chinos and sensible shoes?

  5. Comment by Will on September 17, 2004 2:43 pm

    Fritz will love you when we finally all get together–he refuses under any circumstances to wear clothing with brand names all over it. Says that if he’s going to do advertising for Tommy or whomever, then THEY should pay HIM.

    Chris–Boy do I agree. In my early 20s, I looked at middle-aged guys who had kept their bodies , had experienced life but had LOTS of good wear left on them and decided they were the hottest thing out there. I love to see a guy like that wearing as little as possible!

  6. Comment by jeff on September 17, 2004 4:14 pm

    neon colored skin-tight lyrca shirts on overweight women

    Were you standing outside my office building? My catty coworker and I stand outside laughing at them after lunch usually. Then of course there’s our own Annoying Coworker who seems to think that a blouse that shows off ever roll of fat is the best kind. That and she wears those damn stretch pants that show off her panties.

    Makes me want to call in the Fashion Police!

  7. Comment by Will on September 18, 2004 9:01 am

    Jeff brings up one of those infallible social phenomena like Murphy’s Law: after age 35, it is PRECISELY those who should not wear spandex who always do.

  8. Comment by Thom on September 18, 2004 9:58 am

    I just want to put in a word of agreement with Chris and Will – there’s nothing I find hotter than a 40- or 50-something guy who pays attention to his body and grooming. Not a thing wrong with that, not at all…

  9. Comment by Doug on September 18, 2004 10:32 am

    Hello Chris….Hell no, I wouldnt complain….I would call him ‘Daddy’! Its the older gay men who still dress in pastels and clothes from Chess King that need to be dealt with….LOL

  10. Comment by Sofia on August 24, 2005 4:53 pm

    Thank you for the info.

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