Let them wear Prada | Bleader

Let them wear Prada

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Models wear Gucci creations during fashion week in Milan in January. These will soon be staples at the Reader.
  • AP Photo/Antonio Calanni
  • Models wear Gucci creations during fashion week in Milan in January. These will soon be staples at the Reader.
This just in from T, the New York Times's style magazine: men have stopped "deluding themselves that it's somehow more manly to look like a bum."

"The frumpy Dockers and the men's version of mom jeans and the oversize shirts billowing like jibs have been bagged up and shipped to Goodwill," Guy Trebay informs us in his essay "The Rise of the Well-Dressed Man." So at least the bums will luck into appropriate clothing.

"A generation raised on the insult-to-the-eyes that was casual Fridays has suddenly discovered a novel new uniform: the suit," Trebay writes. We men at the Reader will surely discover it any day now.

The subtitle of his piece alerts us that "designer fashion is no longer just for gay men and Europeans." And continues: "Welcome to the age of sartorial enlightenment, in which the average male has shed schlumpiness for style."

Ah, the average male—Trebay's and T's specialty!

Trebay was in a restaurant in Williamsburg, the hip Brooklyn neighborhood, when he noticed that all the men "seemed to have gotten the same style memo, the one that called for cardigans with granddad shawl collars, for select brands of pricey Japanese denim and for glasses that make you look like you've read too much Ayn Rand."

He realized then that he was onto something important about the average American male. To make sure this wasn't merely a New York phenomenon—or perhaps just a phenomenon of the New York Trebay frequents—he decided to do research, to conduct a "survey of the landscape." The survey consisted of interviews with a fashion editor at Esquire, an editor of GQ, and the editor of Details, at the recent men's fashion shows in Milan. Where better to survey the American landscape than in Milan?

Trebay asked his informants what they made of "the apparent spike in the fashion I.Q. of the average American male." The fashion editors felt it was a product of more sports stars dressing stylishly—which, as Trebay puts it, "gave all the lunks of the world permission to exit their man caves and go shopping."

Shopping! The real T specialty. I'm going out on a limb and predicting that T will never discover that shopping's become passe.

For the rising well-dressed men, this issue of T also helpfully provides a "Modern Man" photo spread, displaying a Prada shirt ($1,420), Louis Vuitton jacket ($1,925), Dior Homme pants ($710), Krisvanassche shorts ($625), and Diemme sneakers ($405). The new man will be well dressed for the sequester. "There's a frank irony to dressing stylishly today," the Modern Man subtitle notes without irony.

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