Slobs No More: It’s Time for Guys to Shape Up — Jon Gabriel

 

For years, I’ve been annoyed at the slovenly among us. I’m hardly a tuxedo-clad metrosexual, but why do so many adult males dress like kids on summer break? Whether I’m at a tech office, a church service, or — heaven forbid — an airplane, it looks like the Sunday morning after frat rush week. Stained T-shirts over big bellies, ill-fitting Wal-Mart shorts, ratty gym shoes — and would it kill you to drag a comb through that shaggy mop?

Growing up in the Southwest, I’m hardly one for undue formality. Shorts and light shirts are essential for several months of the year. But if you’re afraid to carry a styrofoam cup because strangers keep throwing change in it, it’s time to re-evaluate the wardrobe.

It wasn’t always this way. Compare the crowd buying hotdogs at a baseball game; this first shot is from 1920s New York, the second from today.

Clothing

Today’s men probably have 20 times the net worth of the Brooklyn Dodgers fans, even adjusted for inflation. We have greater sophistication, education and global retail resources. Yet those on the right would be pitied as street urchins and paupers by the gentlemen of Ebbets Field.

I’m not sure quite what to make of this de-evolution, but it appears something significant was lost in our rush to the casual.

What do you think? Is this an out-of-touch call for the “good old days” or should we re-civilize our wardrobes?

There are 108 comments.

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  1. The (apathetic) King Prawn Member

    Although I long for the days when all men wore hats (not baseball caps, hats) I think there was way too much should in the wardrobe selections and not enough want. Of course, setting a little higher bar to be considered part of civilized society probably wouldn’t be a bad thing. I guess I’m all over the map on this one. I don’t necessarily wish all men dressed better, but I sure wish they wanted to, and for the right reasons.

    • #1
    • April 1, 2014, at 12:43 PM PDT
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  2. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor

    By mixing a plaid bowtie with a striped shirt?!

    That’s only shaping up if you’re blind. Someone should change the photo that goes with this post.

    • #2
    • April 1, 2014, at 12:44 PM PDT
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  3. Misthiocracy grudgingly Member

    I ain’t wearing a wool suit to a hot summer baseball game.

    • #3
    • April 1, 2014, at 12:48 PM PDT
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  4. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Chief
    Jon Gabriel, Ed. Post author

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake:

    By mixing a plaid bowtie with a striped shirt?!

    That’s only shaping up if you’re blind. Someone should change the photo that goes with this post.

     I was trying to show a slob trying to shape up his act. 

    Okay, okay, I’ll look for something else.

    • #4
    • April 1, 2014, at 12:57 PM PDT
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  5. SkipSul Moderator

    I own 1 suit – wear it maybe twice per year, depending on the number of funerals I attend. I hate wearing ties and they interfere with work.

    I do not wear printed T-shirts – I’m not a billboard. But I do wear jeans regularly because they’re cheap, comfy, good in the workshop, or going out. What’s to change?

    • #5
    • April 1, 2014, at 12:59 PM PDT
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  6. Matt Smith Inactive

    Those Brooklyn Dodgers fans were paying about 12-14% of their income on clothing. Today it’s closer to 3%. Three decent suits, a blazer or two, ten dress shirts, a couple of pairs of decent jeans, and three pairs of well-made dress shoes will cost a gentleman north of $5000. The equivalent wardrobe of cargo shorts, T-shirts and tennis shoes is probably a tenth of that. Unless, of course, those baseball fans opt to wear $100+ replica jerseys to the game.

    We’ve also gotten a lot fatter, which motivates the choice of the untucked XXL T-shirt.

    • #6
    • April 1, 2014, at 1:07 PM PDT
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  7. Matt Smith Inactive

    About the bearded guy in the plaid bowtie and striped shirt: I think he looks fine, if by “fine” you mean “like a bartender in a craft cocktail bar”.

    • #7
    • April 1, 2014, at 1:09 PM PDT
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  8. DocJay Inactive

    Here’s a patient of mine this morning,no kidding. I think he dresses just perfect.curt

    • #8
    • April 1, 2014, at 1:11 PM PDT
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  9. Doctor Bass Monkey Inactive

    Suits are worn by those who don’t actually do physical work. You should just be glad some of us are wearing pants.

    • #9
    • April 1, 2014, at 1:13 PM PDT
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  10. Done Contributor

    skipsul:
    I own 1 suit – wear it maybe twice per year, depending on the number of funerals I attend. I hate wearing ties and they interfere with work.
    I do not wear printed T-shirts – I’m not a billboard. But I do wear jeans regularly because they’re cheap, comfy, good in the workshop, or going out. What’s to change?

    Same. The temperature in Atlanta makes jobs that require suits unbearable for most of the year, let alone going to a ball game in a suit.

    • #10
    • April 1, 2014, at 1:13 PM PDT
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  11. Salamandyr Inactive

    I don’t really want to go back to the days of suits for baseball games. I would like to see more young men trained in how to dress when formality is truly called for.

    Business casual is great for day to day, but one really should know have something in the closet more formal than a button down shirt and pair of chinos.

    • #11
    • April 1, 2014, at 1:15 PM PDT
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  12. Jon Gabriel, Ed. Chief
    Jon Gabriel, Ed. Post author

    I don’t think anyone in their right minds would call for thick wool suits at a summer baseball game. But there’s a step in between that and wearing a mustard-stained tee shirt, crocs and cargo shorts.

    • #12
    • April 1, 2014, at 1:17 PM PDT
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  13. DocJay Inactive

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.: I don’t think anyone in their right minds would call for thick wool suits at a summer baseball game. But there’s a step in between that and wearing a mustard-stained tee shirt, crocs and cargo shorts.

     A big step indeed. Somehow a bunch of metal in your face is a bit turnoffish too.

    Here’s one for you all. I still fit my wedding tux, which isn’t easy. The amphetamines help.cosmo

    • #13
    • April 1, 2014, at 1:20 PM PDT
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  14. Misthiocracy grudgingly Member

    I don’t think anyone in their right minds would call for thick wool suits at a summer baseball game. But there’s a step in between that and wearing a mustard-stained tee shirt, crocs and cargo shorts.

    Sounds like a strawman to me.

    Who in that photo is wearing a mustard-stained tee shirt and crocs?

    So, we’re saying the problem isn’t t-shirts and shorts, but rather dirty t-shirts and shorts? Is there really an epidemic of upstanding productive citizens going around in visibly dirty clothing?

    ( I assume this conversation applies only to upstanding productive citizens. We don’t expect bums, drop-outs, and welfare cases to dress nicely, right?)

    It’s no good saying “I wish people would dress better” without defining what “better” actually means.

    Today, at work, I’m wearing expensive brown leather shoes from Italy, a pair of cheap generic-brand blue jeans from Walmart, a decent Ralph Lauren dress shirt, a work vest from Mark’s Work Warehouse, and a 1960s-style hat.

    The whole point of my personal fashion style is to defy definition. Is it casual? Is it dressy? Is it hipster? What the heck, man?

    • #14
    • April 1, 2014, at 1:27 PM PDT
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  15. Son of Spengler Contributor

    Frank Soto: Same. The temperature in Atlanta makes jobs that require suits unbearable for most of the year, let alone going to a ball game in a suit.

     That’s why God created seersucker.

    • #15
    • April 1, 2014, at 1:29 PM PDT
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  16. Misthiocracy grudgingly Member

    Son of Spengler:

    Frank Soto: Same. The temperature in Atlanta makes jobs that require suits unbearable for most of the year, let alone going to a ball game in a suit.

    That’s why God created seersucker.

    Well, if you want to look like a historical re-enactor hired by the ball club to entertain the fans…

    • #16
    • April 1, 2014, at 1:33 PM PDT
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  17. Kim K. Member

    This is the natural consequence of Comfortable is King. My FIL is the one of the worst. He will not wear anything that is not entirely comfortable – in the “getting ready for bedtime jammies” sort of way. At least with him we can blame advanced age, although he’s been that way for many years.

    • #17
    • April 1, 2014, at 1:34 PM PDT
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  18. MLH Inactive
    MLH

    Whiskey Sam:
    Suits are worn by those who don’t actually do physical work. You should just be glad some of us are wearing pants.

     I thought only women and sailors wore “pants.” Do you mean “trousers?”

    • #18
    • April 1, 2014, at 1:39 PM PDT
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  19. MLH Inactive
    MLH

    Son of Spengler:

    Frank Soto: Same. The temperature in Atlanta makes jobs that require suits unbearable for most of the year, let alone going to a ball game in a suit.

    That’s why God created seersucker.

     Tropical weight wool, anyone? 

    • #19
    • April 1, 2014, at 1:40 PM PDT
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  20. Misthiocracy grudgingly Member

    I wonder how many men in the 1920s would look at that photo and say to themselves, “geez, wouldn’t it be nice if men wore top-hats, waistcoats and breeches? Those fellows look absolutely slovenly!”

    After all, the fashions of the 1920s is as far removed from us as the fashions of the 1830s were to people at that ball game.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1820s_in_Western_fashion

    • #20
    • April 1, 2014, at 1:44 PM PDT
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  21. Misthiocracy grudgingly Member

    MLH:

    Whiskey Sam: Suits are worn by those who don’t actually do physical work. You should just be glad some of us are wearing pants.

    I thought only women and sailors wore “pants.” Do you mean “trousers?”

     You don’t wear pants on the outside unless you want to be arrested for indecent exposure.

    http://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/pants

    ;-)

    • #21
    • April 1, 2014, at 1:47 PM PDT
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  22. Misthiocracy grudgingly Member

    DocJay: Here’s one for you all. I still fit my wedding tux, which isn’t easy.

     “A metallic vest? I suppose that must be for protection against all the background radiation from the atomic wars in the future.” – a man in the 1950s looking at that photo

    • #22
    • April 1, 2014, at 1:53 PM PDT
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  23. Bulldawg Inactive

    To my mind, dressing for comfort includes dressing for the comfort of those around me. This means a gentleman ought not to appear in public as a sartorial abomination. In other words, don’t be a tacky slob.

    • #23
    • April 1, 2014, at 1:53 PM PDT
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  24. Misthiocracy grudgingly Member

    Bulldawg:
    To my mind, dressing for comfort includes dressing for the comfort of those around me. This means a gentleman ought not to appear in public as a sartorial abomination. In other words, don’t be a tacky slob.

    Again, one must define one’s terms. All I can gather from this statement is that you would like it if men didn’t dress in ways you don’t like. That doesn’t really help.

    • #24
    • April 1, 2014, at 1:54 PM PDT
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  25. Bulldawg Inactive

    Misthiocracy:

    Bulldawg: To my mind, dressing for comfort includes dressing for the comfort of those around me. This means a gentleman ought not to appear in public as a sartorial abomination. In other words, don’t be a tacky slob.

    Again, one must define one’s terms. All I can gather from this statement is that you would like it if men didn’t dress in ways you don’t like. That doesn’t really help.

     I used the words “gentleman” and “sartorial.” They give a pretty good sense of what I mean.

    • #25
    • April 1, 2014, at 1:58 PM PDT
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  26. Misthiocracy grudgingly Member

    Bulldawg:

    Misthiocracy:

    Bulldawg: To my mind, dressing for comfort includes dressing for the comfort of those around me. This means a gentleman ought not to appear in public as a sartorial abomination. In other words, don’t be a tacky slob.

    Again, one must define one’s terms. All I can gather from this statement is that you would like it if men didn’t dress in ways you don’t like. That doesn’t really help.

    I used the words “gentleman” and “sartorial.” They give a pretty good sense of what I mean.

    No, they really don’t. Those words could mean completely different things to different people. They’re simply synonyms for “good”.

    • #26
    • April 1, 2014, at 1:59 PM PDT
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  27. Pilli Inactive

    OK. How about this? Men and women should dress up for church. Men should wear a suit and tie. Women should wear a modest, nice dress.

    I get so annoyed with people coming to church wearing blue jeans and t-shirts with printing (men and women.) I can see going to a baseball game in cool, casual clothing. I cannot see going to a house of worship dressed like you’re going to the game.

    I can hear the Almighty now (in Rodney Dangerfield voice), “I get no respect. People come into my house looking like it’s a ball park.”

    • #27
    • April 1, 2014, at 2:07 PM PDT
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  28. 1967mustangman Inactive

    I note the female of the species has been left out or this conversation. What about absence of fancy dresses (or dresses at all), coiffed hairdo, and stylish hats in today’s female ballgame attendee.

    • #28
    • April 1, 2014, at 2:08 PM PDT
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  29. Misthiocracy grudgingly Member

    1967mustangman: I note the female of the species has been left out or this conversation. What about absence of fancy dresses (or dresses at all), coiffed hairdo, and stylish hats in today’s female ballgame attendee.

    I note the relative absence of the female of the species at all in photos from 1920s baseball games.

    Pre-1925 Baseball Fans

    And look at how slovenly the men are, with their loosened ties and their unbuttoned shirts! Disgraceful.

    • #29
    • April 1, 2014, at 2:15 PM PDT
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  30. Misthiocracy grudgingly Member

    Pilli: I get so annoyed with people coming to church wearing blue jeans and t-shirts with printing (men and women.)

    “Heaven Hath No Dresscode.” – slogan on the t-shirt of the church rock band I played drums for when I was 18

    Do you actually want to turn people away at the door to your church, with church attendance being what it is?

    Church Attendance Statistics

    Also, Jesus wore sandals.

    • #30
    • April 1, 2014, at 2:19 PM PDT
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