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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Why Australian Men Lack The Cultural Sophistication Of Europeans - The Melbourne Cup Conundrum

My dear underground informant, Mr. Carlos Oppenheimer, aka The Jackal, has often made the remark that when making a critique of people it is 'better to praise individually and criticise categorically'. That being said I have decided to not publish any photos of the blokes I think that got it awfully wrong at the Melbourne Cup yesterday.

At almost every Melbourne Cup I am thoroughly disappointed by the 'mean' in menswear that gets observed on social media and yesterday that was the only means by which I was able to observe the Cup as I was on baby-sitting duty the entire day. So, let me start by stating those things which to me are the hallmarks of tacky Australian menswear.

The slim notched lapel is dead. Get over it.

How sad it is to see so many men still donning those awful cheap suits made for $699 with their skinny notched lapels that, especially on solid-build fellas, just look tacky and outrageously disproportionate for their shoulders. To my fellow Australians, take a page from the man who can't put a foot wrong at the moment, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, and note that accordingly the breadth of his shoulders and the width of his notch is roughly proportionate. You must also recognise that there are two other styles of suit lapel, shawl and peaked, and on a day like the Melbourne Cup, you might like to experiment with both alternatives.

The skinny tie died with the skinny notch.

If you are built like a brick shit-house and you have cauliflower ears from rugby AND you already made the faux pas of wearing a skinny notched lapel that doesn't suit your torso, don't then try and put on a skinny neck tie to boot. It's like adding insult to injury. If then you also happen to tie a standard four in hand knot, give yourself another uppercut. You look silly. It's about as stupid as seeing a dad of three wear skinny jeans and a muffin top into his late thirties. I think it was Eminem who summed it up by saying "you're too old, let go, nobody listens to techno".

A pre-tied bow tie is a clammy handshake

I do not understand Australian men that spend a great deal of time getting together an outfit for the Melbourne Cup only to finish their ensemble with a pre-tied bow tie. It's an instant slap. It's offensive to see so many pre-tied bow ties still running around the Birdcage after so many years of us working tirelessly to show you all how to a tie a bow tie. If you are wearing a pre-tied bow tie in 2015 you are a muppet. We make exceptions for people who are handicapped or too old to tie their own bow. If you are able bodied, you should be tying it yourself.

Lose the cheese dick sunglasses

It was so lovely to see that, eventually, Australian real-estate agents that all wore the same Prada wrap around sunglasses circa 2000's, came to realise that they all looked the same. So many of them moved on. However, there are still so many Australian men, usually the ones that also subscribe to the skinny notched lapel movement, that still have no idea about eyewear. Lose the cheese dick sunglasses. There are literally thousands of places around the world to buy magnificent, fashionable, stylish and timeless sunglasses.

When pygmies cast tall shadows, the day is well and truly over

You can always tell a trend is on the way out when the even the least trendy friend you know is onto the same stuff. Use your least trendy friend as a litmus test. If he's wearing what you are wearing, stop wearing that thing.

If you 'belong to a tailor', don't let him own your real estate

Sadly, some of Australia's best known tailors and measuring and style specialists (ie: they don't actually make a suit but they style the suit and measure you before it's made off shore - in which case we ought to have another name rather than 'tailor' which we should call them) end up owning their customer's looks because the customer ends up going for the house style which may not suit his physique and style. The best known example I saw yesterday was a nightclub identity that is built with quite a substantial presence but whose shoulders are sloping downwards quite heavily owing to the weights and fitness regime this person must employ. Having an Italian soft shoulder does not suit this kind of torso. Nor does wearing the tailoring house's muted silk ties. This kind of personality might have looked fabulous in a Thierry Mugler-esque or Edward Sexton-esque suit but because they go to a tailor that tells them what they 'ought' to wear, they end up looking like a a badly managed clone of the tailor himself - subscribing to Neapolitan values they know nothing about and which don't in fact suit them at all.

The shirt cuff should extend past the sleeve end of your jacket

On certain angles during the course of the day it is impossible for your sleeve cuff not to get caught up in your sleeve - especially if you are cheering on a horse etc. But at least when you look in front of the mirror as you depart for Flemington, try and and make sure that a thumbs width of cuff is showing beyond your jacket sleeve.

If in doubt, look it up on the internet

There are so many wonderful resources these days on good tailoring and how to dress well on all kinds of budgets. Do not be afraid to use the internet to do some solid research and avoid menswear blogs that are tying to sell you something, even mine for example. We are pushing bow ties - let's not beat around the bush. So, if you don't like bow ties, you may not want to use our blog to research your look.


Now that I have got that off chest - here are two men that I though showed a level of personal style which separated them from the pack. These are not the only stylish men that got it right, but they are two I managed to find on Instagram. The first is Edward Hoddle, an art salesman in Sydney, the second is Miles Wharton, an Australian fashion blogger. Both expressed personality and a certain level of panache despite coming from very different angles. Whilst Hoddle seems to channel more of our British roots (apologies to Indigenous Australians that find that offensive but how else am I supposed to write that) , Wharton carries a certain colour flair that seems to be part Italian part Ace Rothstein.

Here ends the rant.

Edward Hoddle, looking sharp at the Melbourne Cup

Miles Wharton, progressive but charming.

1 comment:

  1. You need to have a very good tan to get away with no socks like that. Also, not sure whether it's appropriate for the races which usually necessitates a greater level of formality. Having said that, he's better dressed than 99% of the yobos there.