23 December 2007

Don't let "the Lachey way" reign


In case you hadn't noticed, I almost never make mention of men's fashion here on ASJiNE.

There are several reasons for the omission, most notably that I have very little knowledge of and experience with menswear labels, cuts and accoutrement. Half-Windsor, single-vented, double-breasted, French-cuff, spread-collar -- sure, I could identify each of them in a line-up, and sure, I know that I personally prefer this to that, but to match body-type 'X' with silhouette 'Y' to create flattering look 'Z' is a task in which I'm neither particularly interested nor one for which I'm remotely prepared.

There is one exception to my no-boys-allowed rule, however, and it involves an all too commonplace practice I've dubbed "the Lachey way" in honor of its earliest and most frequent offender, Nick Lachey.

Now, before I point out what it is about this good ol' Ohio boy - and most men within ±10 years of his age (34) - that frustrates me to no end, let me first say that from what little I know of the former Mr. Jessica Simpson, I actually quite like the one time boyband-er. He seems awfully levelheaded, extremely well-adjusted, and blonde simpleton aside, he certainly has good taste in smokin' hot half-Asian women. Despite his tribal arm tatts and Staten Island gel-helmet, you can be sure I'd sooner accept a second date with Nick than most men who give me 'the eye' at a K St. happy hour.

That I have nothing against Mr. Lachey personally should lend some credence to my argument against his namesake offense, otherwise known as always dressing two to three times more casually than his lady escort.

Take the picture above, for example, one of many just like it I've come across in the decade or so Nick Lachey's coming and goings have been tracked in the tabloids. Big-time movie premiere, Friday night in Hollywood, red carpet, woman in a white cocktail mini and strappy metallic evening sandals. To complement her, you decide to throw on a pair of baggy stonewashed jeans, a white tee and a brown blazer-style leather jacket?

Really?

Given that I've always been in relationships with men who place as high or higher a premium on their appearance than I do, I don't know what it is that causes good men to go brain-dead when they slip on jeans/cords/khakis, opt not to iron and forego shaving in semi-formal and formal situations. Having witnessed the his-her outfit disparity enough times in enough cities in enough social circles, however, I have no choice but to accept that what started out as anomalous behavior of the boyus fraternus has somehow made its way into accepted, even standard male practice.

If Jessica, Vanessa and all the well-dressed women I see on city streets, college campuses and in the pages of my favorite magazines won't do anything to curb this epidemic, I feel I should do what little I can in my capacity as a fashion blogger and not only ask the Nick Lacheys of the world, "Why?" but also snap my finger in the Z-formation and say, "Nuh-uh, buddy, put on some flat-front dress trousers and your 'good' shoes."

Just as pink Reefs disrespect the aesthetic of a cowl-necked, cap-sleeved tweed sheath, so too does a man in cargo shorts cheapen the cocktail dress of the woman on his arm.

So guys, if you manage to land yourself a fabulous woman for whom looking put-together and polished is a top priority, why not demonstrate your appreciation by at least attempting to class it up?

Who knows, your efforts this New Year's Eve might even be rewarded with a midnight kiss more passionate than last year's...

More of Nick giving his ladies "the Lachey way" treatment:

19 comments:

1blueshi1 said...

I couldn't agree more, being burdened with a significant other who believes that jeans ARE dress up clothes. As opposed to the gym shorts he lives in. Then again, the dress code for staying home with a bad back for the totality of 2007 IS fairly casual. Shirt and shoes not required.
Note to self: google best Bham divorce attys....

from a guy's perspective said...

I see this all the time and always wonder what the guy was thinking when he got dressed. It's like you said, the message is what's most offensive: you're not worth the time for me to tuck in my shirt, press my dress slacks and slap on some cologne. It's very much a double standard, because if we saw a man in a nice suit with a woman in baggy jeans and a flip flops, she'd be ripped apart. Thankfully, I grew up with an ultra traditional father who still berates me if he hears I wore jeans to a party -- of any kind.

this is defintely the post that most hits home for me.

dc stylist said...

Yes! Yes! Yes!

men pay attention, PLEASE!

Anonymous said...

this is a huge issue with my boyfriend and me. he HATES dressing up, I love it, and even though we get invited to tons of events through my work (I'm a lobbyist), we often stay at home, because he doesn't feel like changing out of his jeans/tee uniform. Every once in a while he'll do it, but every once in a while doesn't cut it. I love him to death, but I'm getting sick of going alone to function after function.

you have no idea how happy it would make me if he just decided on his own without any prompting to put on a suit. now *that* would earn more than a New Year's Eve kiss!!!

Maxie said...

I think that every guy I have ever dated has done this to me! And even at really nice places... what is wrong with them? He would have killed me if I had thrown on jeans for the occasion.

I think I may print this out and mail it to my ex's as a Christmas present.

Anonymous said...

if jeans, khakis and cords are out, what are we supposed to wear???

C said...

Ruh-roh. Why do I have a feeling somebody showed up underdressed for a date? Either that or you've simply had it with Monte's refusal to wear pants while you're getting all dolled up for him.

gemma g. said...

I can't tell you what a relief it is to finally be dating a man for whom dressing up nicely is as important to him as it is to me. It's just like any other major interest in that if they like it too, it makes both your lives easier and more enjoyable.

I could never go back to a man who wanted to spend his evenings in Levi's and a t-shirt. For some, it's fine I'm sure, but for me, since I like to dress up, it just doesn't work.

thanks for addressing this issue!

Oh...dear me said...

Guys love their jeans, like today we were going shopping and my DH wore a shirt, cashmere sweater, black trousers, with black shoes, I was wearing jeans today, he said I thought I would look nice for you today!

Dave said...

I've made similar comments when I've been out at various venues. You have, however, chosen a really bad picture for an example. Mrs. Lachey chose an outift that is skin tight and barely covers her posterior. What are we supposed to wear that compliments skanky ho?

Johanna said...

Dave-

your point was well-taken and incited me to spend the last 90 minutes scrounging up more evidence.

you have no idea how numbing a task it was to search various permutations of "nick lachey," "jessica simpson," "vanessa minillo" and "jeans".

my brain hurts, and I'm now going to bed.

merry christmas eve,
J

Anonymous said...

GREAT post!

intern in the city said...

the 90 minute search was worth it - the pictures really drive the point home. he's ridiculous in those, especially the first one with Vanessa. poor girl!

reader from KS said...

I love Nick but you're right, this is unacceptable behavior.

btw, how is it possible you've only dated men who care more about clothes than you? I find that hard to believe!!

I love your blog - merry Christmas!

Scott said...

This is a pet peeve of mine as I started to change my casual ways when I caught a glimpse of my date and I in a window and realized we didn't look like we were going to the same place.

From a guy's perspective I don't get it. I was at the Theater Friday night and other than a few of us in suits or sportcoats dressed up for most guys was what passes for business casual at an IT firm, but there were an equal number that looked like they came in from a WTO rally. I'm saying to myself, "'ya gotta wear a coat, so why not look nice?" The women however, were almost universally dressed up.

Perhaps women just aren't demanding enough? My sister wouldn't give a guy a second date if he showed up for the first one in tennis shoes. The guy she married, well he got a second date.

manhattan_darling said...

I'm really surprised that this happens in DC. I was under the impression that men in your city were always in suits. In New York, especially in the Village, Nolita, Chelsea, etc., this is a major problem. Well, the men don't think so but the women do ;)

jeans are for sports games, Christmas shopping and nights at home, not the club or an upscale bar or restaurant.

Anonymous said...

I think Scott has a good point. A big part of the problem is that women let guys who dress this way get away with it.

That said, though, age is a factor too. I'm not sure what the median age is for the blog readership (I'm afraid to ask) but when I was in my early 20s I didn't know what Canali was. Young men don't learn about how to dress well now until they're in their 30s.

N-Y-i-E

cali finale said...

and I thought this was strictly a Cali issue! ugh, yes the dressed-down man with the dressed-up woman is a fixture here in L.A. I think everyone here, including you, is right that women have to lay down the law or else our men will just wear whatever is easiest. if they love us, they'll listen. if not, well...

Anonymous said...

Well ....

on behalf of my gender, laying down the law rarely works. I'd suggest the, um, incentive-based approach Johanna mentioned.

And when we don't shave, or clean up the apartment before the lady comes over, it just means we feel comfortable with the woman in question. Really - it means there's enough intimacy that we can relax. So be flattered. It's just us saying we love you.

(Thank me later, boys).

N-Y-i-E