Beginning to Revise the Rhetoric

Beginning to Revise the Rhetoric

“Fly, you fools.”

– Gandalf, also known as Stormcrow

I have the unique pleasure of attending a university that – for the vast majority of the student population – remains very well-dressed and externally confident. That’s not really who I’m intending to preach to with this particular post. I mean sure, confidence is not something that is reserved or can be doled out to specific individuals who need it, but this post is specifically targeted at those of us who want to explore something a bit… different.

I mean let’s be real, some trends are absolute garbage. Feathers need to stay inside coats and not be used as external decoration, neon will only ever look acceptable in a public place during raves or the collapse of nations where we organize ourselves based on generational preferences and small sunglasses only really work on models who still have the bodily proportions of a twelve-year-old. However, there are some trends that exist in the world around us that can and should be used universally by both sexes.

So let’s talk for a minute about men’s fashion – at least the practical type of fashion that dominates university campuses and the white/blue-collar workplace – and the implications that it has on our confidence as a byproduct. So I guess I also need to address the proverbial elephant in the room. Toxic masculinity – that trait of most men that is touted by news outlets around the world as a leading cause of *fill in the blank* – is defined as follows:

“A cultural concept of manliness that glorifies stoicism, strength, virility and dominance, and that is socially maladaptive or harmful to mental health.”

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/toxic-masculinity

And to be quite honest, I see a real correlation between the method of dress a man feels is socially acceptable and the spread of a newer breed of toxic masculinity that seems to be gripping – if not campuses all across the United States – specifically mine. Current men’s fashion seems very much based on brown and blue, green and cream, black and grey with no sense of personality whatsoever save for the occasional sports team hoodie and dash of color that adds to a wardrobe, which is totally understandable. However, here’s no experimentation that leads to discovery. There’s no spice that would honestly make the cold walk into classes so much more enjoyable as I watched personalities walk past me, instead of college students one paper away from living as a llama herder in Peru.

There’s no personality anywhere in these looks. I mean, the jackets are so specifically tailored to be universally accepted that they rest on the boarder of blandness. There’s no color aside from black, tan and white that’s acceptable for footwear and heaven help us all if a guy wants to wear a real heel. There’s no pop of color, no experimentation with fabrics and cuts, no daring to step outside of the boarder of what is defined by those who are loudest.

I really don’t care if you’re dressing in the morning for the blandest work meeting that anyone has ever attended (add a cardigan) or if you’re going on a date to the local art museum with the barista from your local coffee shop which you only visit because of her welcoming smile (wear a real pop of genuine color). I don’t care if you’re straight, gay, romantically bisexual, pansexual or identify as a pan-romantic sapio-sexual every other Thursday but only when Mercury is in retrograde. It doesn’t matter if you’re poor, rich or perfectly West Michigan middle class. You – men in general – don’t have an excuse to at least attempt dressing well. And that includes workout clothes, so we’ll have a good, long discussion about that when the time comes.

So how do I introduce this blog correctly? I guess it’s just a huge hodgepodge of all the things I’ve been thinking since I started my collegiate career four and a half long years ago:

  • My experiences at college and how they’ve influenced my views on masculinity and fashion, and maybe how the trend is changed not necessarily for the better.
  • Outfits that I’ve seen around my university and sort of offering budget-friendly options that are still ethically sourced.
  • Interviews with people in my life whom I consider exceptionally well-dressed and how they would change the trends that they see.
  • My hot takes on trends in fashion.
  • The phrase “Lord of the Rings Masculinity” and how I’m trying to let it re-shape my views on how men should conduct themselves when out in public.
  • Love on Queer Eye – whom I will often and repeatedly cite as a major influence for this blog. God bless Tan France and Karamo Brown.
  • Risks that I’ve taken and how they’ve gradually changed the way that I tend to dress.
  • Discussions on certain “genres” of fashion, and what is acceptable for what sort of circumstance.
  • How we’re supposed to balance our love of fashion, and getting new pieces cheaply, while still remaining sustainable. Which pieces are worth investing in?
  • Hats. How in God’s green earth are we supposed to wear them?
  • The best way I’ve found to make your room smell nice so you’re ready to wake up in the morning (that don’t rely on essential oils).
  • Depression and how that affects the confidence that we can feel, and how it morphs our confidence into something that relies on our “putting down” of others.
  • Why french-tucking in a universally-adaptable practice which can add dimension to an outfit no matter what gender you identify as.
  • How in the world to dress during the summer so you don’t roast under fabrics that are too thick or fry because your thighs haven’t seen the sun in 20 years.

So I guess since this is the end of my first-ever blog, I should thank you for reading the entire thing and leaving a comment, but only if you’re so inclined. I’m still in this process of learning and adapting to this ever-shifting world, so different worldviews are welcomed just as much as affirmations. I want to be challenged because that means growth is happening.

Nathaniel

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