by Brandon Tietz
In the quest to look cool and appear desirable to the opposite sex, straight men have taken the liberty of appropriating certain fashion trends. I’m not talking about the crisp, well-tailored suits featured in GQ or the faux-rugged looks displayed in the Guess fall catalogue. In this instance, I’m erring more toward the Karl Lagerfeld side of things—gay fashion. However, this is a complex label because there’s a gray area on what could and could not be considered gay. It’s just as much about attitude as it is the article of clothing. It’s bold, experimental, and yes, maybe a little ostentatious. Gay men seem to have little to no issue pulling these looks off. Straight men, on the other hand, need to check themselves.
The day a man wears pants that double as a tanning reflector mirror—that is the day he needs to think about his life choices. Look, I totally get it: You want to look like a bounty hunter from the future. That’s cool and all, but there’s no damn way this look can pass in the year 2016 when worn by a straight man. It’s confusing and too easily sets up the line, “I can see myself in those pants.” Unless you plan on going to a rave out in the desert, leave them on the rack.
Exception to the rule: You’re one of those street performers that is covered head-to-toe in silver paint, popping-and-locking for quarters on the corner. Or you’re Mase and Puff Daddy in the 1997 music video “Mo Money, Mo Problems.”
Tote bags a.k.a. man purses:
Logistically, I understand the allure of owning a tote bag because it’s basically one huge pocket. Pockets are awesome, especially when you consider pocket real estate has gone way down in the age of the skinny jean. The issue we run into with the tote is we’re essentially calling a purse something other than a purse to maintain a masculine image. It’s just like that episode of “Seinfeld” where Jerry keeps getting teased by the public about his designer bag, yelling back in his own defense, “It’s not a purse! It’s European!” I believe there was an episode of “Friends” exploring this, too. Sorry guys, but a purse is a purse is a purse, no matter what alias you give it. Use a laptop bag or backpack if you really need the additional pocket room.
Exception to the rule: You make your living as a purse-snatcher. This isn’t an endorsement of that particular vocation, by the way.
Gay men can rock the shit out of fur. Straight men, not so much. It lends a certain softness to the overall image that only women and gay men can get away with. On a straight guy it looks like they’re trying too hard (at what, I’m not sure exactly). Picture Ryan Gosling. Now picture Ryan Gosling in a huge-ass mink coat. Something’s not adding up here, right? It’s like putting a scoop of sorbet on top of a steak. Makes no damn sense.
Exception to the rule: Vin Diesel in “Triple X.” Actually, any yoked out dude that looks like he can end your life can probably pull off fur.
Super-duper short shorts:
Apparently, 1972 called and some straight dudes got the message that short shorts are the “in” thing again. We’re talking Lt. Dangle in “Reno 911” short. Jackie Moon short. For serious, I’ve seen a crazy amount of man leg this summer. Not just at the pool, but out and about in the shopping districts. That much pale and hairy thigh meat is a little much. Having recently attended Pride, I get the whole short shorts thing. It’s a staple in gay men’s fashion. On a straight guy though, it’s a little over the top. Let’s see a few more inches of coverage, gentleman.
Exception to the rule: You’re a track & field athlete.
Mesh (or anything see-through)
There’s nothing weirder than going to a club (or any public place) and seeing a dude’s nipples through his shirt. A shirt that allows me to see nipples and hair and whatever else totally defeats the purpose of a shirt. It’s counterintuitive and weird. That’s the vibe mesh puts out…that pseudo-creepy “this is technically a shirt but almost lingerie” kind of vibe. Straight men just can’t seem to pull this off without it looking totally pervy nor should they try. Hell, even gay men have a hard time pulling off this look. Just ask E.J. Johnson.
Exception to the rule: Brad Pitt in “Fight Club.” Brad can wear whatever the hell he wants, pretty much.