Monday, 17 August 2009
They do shopping, we buy clothes – they dress up, we get dressed. Who are they? Men and women. Clothes serve the same function for both sexes – to preserve heat and protect the body from injury or harm. But there are empirical differences between what t-shirts, jeans, skirts, jackets and shoes mean to the distinguished genders. It’s to the extent that supports the much heard saying “men are from Mars and women from Venus.”
For me to leave a relaxing mind set and journey towards Brompton Road, New Bond Street, Dover Street or Slone Street and elbow through the crowds of shoppers converging on the streets of London every summer, there needs to be a purpose. An example is yesterday’s pick -- a pack of 5 pairs of black socks. Many of the thin socks in my top right drawer are nearing the end of their life span and there has been a need to refresh my sock collection. Well justified in shopping I left home and 1 hour later returned home to be cleared out drawer feeling content about my purchase. The price was right, the socks looked decent and were easily found. The spiritual reward of finding exactly what I want is immeasurable. I had found exactly what I was looking for and the mission was successful. Other individuals, who hold the view that “there is no such thing as too much shopping” get their satisfaction and adrenalin from the quest is self – the shopping experience of lurking and evidently finding something irresistible. They will leave their home just after noon on a Saturday to mosey in random shops ignored in the past or never bothered to step into, in hope of falling in love with a dress they suddenly need to live on for another day in life. Solitary shopping is often avoided. Ideal shopping companion is off course an equally spending-happy friend who acts like a board or advisor enthusiastically giving blessings and justification for irrational materialistic cravings. Shopping of this behaviour is alien in the man’s world were few items other than cars have the ability to awaken the ultimate shopping-self inside a man as well as his best friend who is there to fend off impartial advice from malicious car salesmen.
Lady Gaga is not only a well accredited singer, but she has extended her curriculum vitae to becoming a stylist and a fashion fanatic. Speaking louder than her voice is her choice of sexually provocative and eccentric outfits. Her bathing suits, fishnet stockings and transparent tops have escaped the eyes of few. Speculating about what artistically expressive clothing she’ll wear on next time the 10 paparazzi men ambush her is more interesting than guessing the title of her next album. Gaga is a fashion maverick, the dressing icon of 2009. Rarely walking with her legs covered, one might wonder how she manages not to catch a cold walking trough chilly airport terminals flanked by a body guard ready to wave off photographers as if they were flies. Understandably the photographers don’t want to miss an occasion with such an extrovert showbiz persona, especially when it seems though as her outfits have been puzzled together to produce a certain effect; distaste, confusion, bemusement and discussion. What’s immune from negative criticism is the well taken care of physic of Gaga. Her body is invigorating and inarguably sexy is everything she wears – regardless of how ugly. The excessive exposure of skin and body contours is recognizable from the era of leather and nylon – the wild 1980s. Back then Rick James, Boy George and Prince amongst other pop artists paved the way for an overly decorative fashion styles that were followed by millions. Recording commercially successful tracks was important as coming up with new shocking outfits to daunt the fans with.
One of the most celebrated and still performing artist to emerge out of the 80s boom of pop music is Madonna. At the age of 50s the star has yet to show any signs of fading star quality or desire to leave the lime light. From featuring in million pound advertising campaigns with top designers, kissing Britney Spears on stage to defying adoption laws and wearing compromising stage outfits, Madonna is the great missionary of the 80s; Sexy, revolting, spirited and magical. Ruffled shirt, leather leggings and transparent did not live long into the 90s before hip-hop wear became main stream appeal. The word sexy is nowhere to be found in the glossary for men’s fashion. Only in the context of cross dressing is it acceptable for a man to intent on dressing sexy because the attributes of the word is showing your skin and attempt at arousing the opposite sex. It’s not common man’s nature. From baggy jeans the world has adopted slim or skinny jeans that in combination with a blazer and tie create the defining outfit for this decade.
On one occasion this year I unknowingly had the fortunes of sexiness on my side as I intensely seduced a woman. It was a clear sky, a happy day with slightly brisk May winds that cooled my face while I taking small steps to freedom. My final exam for the second academic year at University had been attended and stood at the entrance of a building which was soon to stand empty over a 4.5 half months summer break. I joyously shook hands with fellow students who had taken the exam, some of which were terrifying discussing questions they had answered incorrectly. While still tightly fused and bonded from working together on challenging group works which had erupted in numerous feuds and emotional outbreaks like in an episode of the apprentice, ten of us decided to conclude the academic year with a round of drinks. A student bar in Camden selling Swedish cider became the venue of choice for a wallet friendly warm up before we crossed central London on the underground for a night’s finale at in the West End. Music was play distortedly from the weak speakers but the modest levels of alcohol streaming through my veins washed away all the worries about University exams, the economy and whether there is any chilled food in my fridge to munch on when I arrive home later during the night.
Huddled closely together we danced casually on the dance floor. Scanning the environment around me I drifted off to a certain female who intensely had her eyes locked on me. The eggshell coloured cardigan made her easy to spot as we drew close to each other with equal determination to engage. Enquiring what the curiosity was about I said hi and caressed her hair and left cheek marking my intentions about accelerating the love episode. After exchanging names she surprisingly complimented me on my shirt which she found to look `amazing´ on me. During our near inaudible conversation dissolved in loud house music she continued to share her fondness of my shirt with some very kind words. Standing intimately close, she hesitantly danced with me and followed up with some bad news. Yelling into my ear she informed me of the whereabouts of her boyfriend, which was were her finger was pointing – across the room. As my eyes focused on the 5 meter distance I saw a tall and athletic guy with his arms crossed. His face had the expression of dismay and anguish as he had me and his suspected not so faithful girlfriend in plain sight. As a demonstration of my praiseworthy gentlemanship I retreated into the darkness of the club, ending the love triangle. It was a cautionary action to avoid a brawl which would result in blood stains on the shirt the lady in eggshell was deeply in love with.
It was a moment of seductive power. The way she clinched on to me drawn by her affection for my shirt was like wearing the mantle of Superman – in her eyes I was sexy but in my view I was quite casual. On a note, I wasn’t wearing just any shirt. The shirt was tailor-made one -- blue/white striped white collar and cuffs. Who would have thought that dressing sexy as a man didn’t take any effort at all? There was no attempt at impressing any way as I had just tucked in the shirt into my jeans, rolled up the sleeves and left one button open. Versatile as a Swiss-army knife, a shirt is the most vital piece in a man’s wardrobe. Attach a tie for a formal appearance, leave buttons open for regulating heat or roll sleeves up for a leisure look. A man can therefore not own to many shirts -- even of a similar kind. Rotation of shirt is important for longevity, though not too important if you’ve invested in more premium priced quality shirts which are cheaper in the long run compared with ´bargain´ alternatives that wear out quality and need to be discarded after 3-6 months of use. Tailored shirts that are designed to look their best on your body make not only a difference to you but also to the eye of the beholder. Yet again, simplicity has triumph overcomplicated outfits in seducing the opposite sex.