Rosemary Mac Cabe

Hemlines, heels and haute couture – your daily dose

In which Fash Mob makes a confession

Yesterday, I posted a link to Paul Galvin’s, um, witterings (for want of a better work) for the Irish Independent and, you know, did some sarcastic layering. It was like a remix of sorts, or a mash-up, if you will, …

Tue, Feb 22, 2011, 10:30


Yesterday, I posted a link to Paul Galvin’s, um, witterings (for want of a better work) for the Irish Independent and, you know, did some sarcastic layering. It was like a remix of sorts, or a mash-up, if you will, wherein I used the original material to riff off, and to create something better!

However (couldn’t you see I had “but” face?): it was pointed out to me, in the comments, that it is easy to make a mockery of someone who is, and I am paraphrasing but these are not necessarily my thoughts, of lesser intelligence, looks and social standing than you, and so it might be an idea for me to write a post on accessories for men, a post of my own. Novel concept, mais non, my esteemed readers? Well, as I am rarely one to turn down a challenge*, I shall oblige, and I shall begin (after the jump), with a confession.

I strongly dislike non-functional hats of all types, with one notable exception. Actually it’s not even an exception in itself, but it smacks of exceptional circumstances, which are different. I will tolerate a hat if, and only if, the wearer is at a ska gig, and is dressed in a dapper ska fashion. You know, a little hat, a checkered waistcoat, that kind of vibe. Anything beyond that and it’s a no from me. You like trilbies? Suck it up. Fancy a baseball cap? Not without a time machine (so you can go back to the 1990s where you belong). And this is not a sexist thing. I dislike hats of all sorts on all genders. I am an equal opportunities judger. If you’re wearing a hat, you are getting judged. To whit:

Do you respect this man? I think we both know the answer to that question, so we can move along.

Accessories - and Galvin’s on to something here – can really make or break an outfit, and it’s a really personal thing as to what approach you take. Coco Chanel’s advice was to always take one item off before leaving the house, whereas I, on the other hand, would always advise adding something. Another necklace, perhaps? Or another cuff?

For men, the game is slightly harder to play, firstly because – as with all aspects of fashion – you have a lot less choice, and secondly because the indicators for men might be slightly more limiting than they are for women. Confused? Think of it like this: if a woman decides, on a night out, to wear a pink scarf with Playboy bunnies on it, people might temporarily think she’s an idiot, whereas if a straight man decides to wear a rainbow coloured belt and a jaunty trilby, some people may think he’s gay and, depending on the man, this might be a huge reason not to take fashion risks.

(As a not-very-aside, the whole “people will think you’re gay” idea is the fear that dare not speak its name. Am I giving power to the stereotype of fashionable gay men if I talk about it? Do fashionable gay men care if they are stereotyped as being, eh, “fashionable and gay”? This is, in my opinion, the main reason that Irish men won’t take risks with fashion – they’re afraid that people will think they’re gay. Feel free to differ.)

The crux of the matter for me is, except for where hats are concerned, fashion should eschew all sense of the practical. Think style, not substance. Need a belt to hold up your trousers? Please! Grow up and get a pair that fit, then buy a belt that’s stylish, not functional. Or, better yet, buy a pair of suspenders! They are jaunty, and slightly sexy in a Don Draper way. Do you need a new pair of walking shoes? Talk to the hand, boy. Buy a pair of slick trainers and keep the walking shoe talk for your mother on a Sunday.

Take risks. Think outside the box – and think about jewellery as being more than just an embellishment for your girlfriend at Christmas. Bracelets, necklaces, scarves . . . BUT BE WARNED. If you look as if you just got back from three weeks in Thailand, you are wearing the wrong thing. (If you did just get back from three weeks in Thailand, no, I don’t want to hear about the jungle trek, and no, that doesn’t make your leather thong necklace okay.)

(Not only has Fash Mob made a confession – Fash Mob has had a revelation. Fash Mob is very judgmental.)

Where should you shop? Try Urban Outfitters for cool accessories – but be wary of going down the hipster route. Check out Topman and H&M too – and while you’re there take a gander at their underwear, some of my faves for men. And if you’re concerned about being too feminine by accessorising, think – and it pains me slightly to say this – military. Check out army surplus and secondhand stores for “tougher” accessories and channel the army with khaki green, tough leather and studs. And have fun! That’s what fashion is about, and it knows not gender so don’t feel limited by yours.

* This is a lie. Not a white lie such as, “no I think the dog knocked it over”, but an out and out lie such as, “no I didn’t kiss your brother while you were on holidays”. I frequently, if not always, turn down challenges, for the same reason I don’t gamble: I, quite frankly, have too much to lose.