Belfast Telegraph

Men: don't be fooled by fashion. It's just underpants

By Grace Dent

A Richard James suit, Oliver Sweeney shoes and M-amp;S pants," said David Cameron, telling secrets of his 'look' to journalists at the Men's London Fashion Week.

Behold David Gandy, Tinie Tempah, Benedict Cumberbatch et al, in bank-balance crippling garms on front rows, pulling the 'constipated goose' face one must while 'frowing' (front-rowing).

So, yes, Men's Fashion Week is very serious - even if I cannot read phrases like "blah, blah was famed for introducing the man clutch" without a small smile playing around my gob.

I bet there are hundreds of unclutched male clutch bags lying neglected in the bottom of British men's wardrobes right now.

Because, over recent decades, one wonky by-product of equality in the sexes is that men are being as cajoled and peer-pressurised by fashion as women are.

A hollow cacophony of smoke and mirrors brainwashes idiots like me - and a million other intelligent women - into buying hyper-expensive coats, the arms of which fall off in a fortnight.

And all almost wholly written about in the media and fashion blogs by people too terrified to put a foot wrong as advertisers will pull budgets, or their ticket to 'frow' next season may be reneged.

But now it's 2013 and men are embracing all this, too. Welcome, boys. We've been expecting you.

Have you thought about going on a diet? Summer is coming and pastel-coloured super-short short suits can be very unforgiving.

I see men in my life glued to the Mr Porter online sale, or arranging dates to go clothes shopping. (I still don't believe straight men really meet up to go shopping.)

In the Seventies, if my grandfather needed trousers, my gran would go to town, purchase three pairs, schlep them home, then take the two unsuitable pairs back the next morning. Job done. Clothes bought. He could get on with mucking about up a ladder.

My father will set foot in M-amp;S menswear department only if each item he buys is offered to him by my mother with its specific usage. "These, George, would be comfy trousers to drive the Volvo in." Or, "Here is a jacket perfect for walking a dog in." And so on.

But times have shifted and now men can and should be as curious about Tom Ford's Autumn/Winter plans and the quest for a signature scent as me. Aren't you lucky.

Of course, at the root of all this desperation to look fabulous is the inner quest for sex, money, or power. Fashionably groomed men must be an aphrodisiac for some women, if the Bernie Eccleston-a-likes I see festooned in the finest leisurewear being fawned upon by 20-year-old girlfriends are anything to go by.

It seems to be easier to love someone at first sight, when their Oswald Boateng suit suggests they winter in St Barts. Yet I'm not sure whether women are truly turned on by men obsessed with fashion.

Hollywood actor Gerard Butler, for example, has the look of someone who dresses only from the Fat Face sale rack and is not fully aware of the brand of his underpants, which is perhaps why I often think about removing them.


From Belfast Telegraph