Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Is That What You're Going to Wear??

I am now going to do something I have never done. Today’s post is addressed to men at the request of a woman.

Do you remember my smart and pretty, 30-something client Carrie? (See “A Conversation with Carrie – Why is This So Hard?”) Well, I ran into her over the weekend. I hadn’t seen her for over a year.

“You look just great, Carrie, how is everything?” I asked.

“Let’s put it this way,” she replied, “professional life - high fives; love life - no fives.”

The latest in a series of dating disasters occurred last week, when the cute new guy at the office asked her out – dinner and a movie. She was excited. She put on her favorite, summer floral dress and coral wedgies.

When the doorbell rang, she opened it to find him standing there in baggy cargo shorts, wrinkled tee-shirt and flip-flops. Whether he realized it or not, his sloppy appearance sent her a clear signal that their date was no big deal – not as important as dressing up for the office and on a par with a night out with the boys.

“I was so deflated,” Carrie said. “I mean, I know it’s summer and guys want to be casual and comfortable and everything, but I spent time putting together a cute outfit, and he looked as if he’d just pulled his clothes out of a dirty hamper. He was nice enough, and this is not the first time this has happened; but, somehow, I guess, I thought he would be different. I mean, he always looked nice at the office.

“I know you don’t normally work with men, but do you think you could put something on your Blog for guys? I mean, I think they could really use a few tips, don’t you?”

Yes, Carrie, I definitely do, and now is the perfect time for me to have a little heart-to-heart with the boys of summer -- so here goes!

Fall will be here before you know it, Guys, and winter not far behind. Time to put away the baggy cargo shorts (my preference would be to burn them!) and flip-flops, hide your hairy toes and get your sartorial sh_ _ in order.

To get you started in the right direction, here’s a list of the Top 10 Wardrobe Items that should be in your closet, followed by a list of 4 Great Accessories guaranteed to get you the right kind of attention from the ladies.

1) The best quality, conservative Grey Suit you can afford. Make sure the fit is perfect. 

2) A White Dress Shirt in 100% cotton Oxford cloth, preferably without collar buttons, as this will make it less formal and more versatile.

3) A solid color Silk Tie (navy and/or burgundy) and a striped silk tie.

4) A well cut Navy-Blue Jacket or blazer is timeless and will take you from season to season. It instantly dresses up a pair of jeans or khakis.

Richard Gere - "American Gigolo" 1980

5) Perfectly tailored, Dark Wash Jeans can take you from day (with a jewel-toned polo shirt) to evening (with a dress shirt and jacket).

6) Khakis (fuller cut) or Chinos (slimmer, straight cut) in 100% cotton twill are perfect for casual summer and fall weekends.

7) A V-neck, Cashmere Sweater, preferably in a neutral (but don’t be afraid of color). It should hug the body. Avoid bulky, over-sized sweaters.

8) A great Polo in a solid color. Don’t button the top button and don’t pop the collar over your sweater or jacket.

Balmoral Oxford Ties - Made in Italy

9) The best pair(s) of black and/or dark brown, lace-up Dress Shoes you can afford. They go with everything and you’ll wear them more often than you think. Keep them well polished.

Classic Burberry Trench Coat

10) A belted Trench Coat in a go-with-anything neutral color.

Now, for the 4 Great Accessories guaranteed to grab a gal’s attention:

Vintage Omega Watch

1)  You may use your cell phone to tell time, but a great Wristwatch tells a lot about you. It tells a woman that you are a man of substance and taste.

There’s something about a fabulous watch on a man’s wrist that is oh soooo sexy!

 2)  Good quality Leather Gloves in black or dark brown. They should fit well. Leather gloves are classy and sexy on both men and women.

3) A light-weight, Wool Scarf (or 2 or 3) in solid color, striped or discreet plaid (fringe optional) is a must-have accessory.

Thrown over a blazer or trench coat, it adds a dash of swashbuckle to your look, and no woman can resist that.

4) And for that extra dash of country gentleman, slip a great Pocket Square into your breast pocket. (Pipe optional.)

The pocket square is a wonderfully insouciant touch, at once discreet and slightly bold.

It can be a great conversation starter without you having to say a thing -- “Hi, I just love your pocket square. It’s really great!” The rest is up to you.

In fact, the well-dressed man can let his clothes speak for him, which comes in handy when you can’t think of anything clever to say.

Will Smith Leaving Berlin Airport

Oh, and BTW, Gentlemen…lest you think well-dressed men don’t wear hats anymore??? Think again.

This is the way to rock a hat. Fabulous!

So, the next time you take out a special Lady, show her how special she is by taking care to look your best.

I promise you, you won’t regret it.


  1. So fun, M-T. J'adore! This all makes sense to me, and I will actually forward this post to a couple of male friends who have gotten way too laid back lately. Men, like women, stop trying sometimes, and it shows. One thing I don't get in this country is flip-flops. Could you explain the fascination? They are not comfortable, they provide zero ankle support. Any pretty sandals show off a brand-new pedi better than they ever will. They are ok at home or at the beach I guess (and that is how most French people wear them,) but in a city? Seriously? Meh. To each his own I guess, but I feel sorry for your friend Carrie. Veronique (French Girl in Seattle)

    1. Ma chère, I am simply unable to explain the American obsession with flip-flops. Everything you say about them is quite correct. I wear them to and from my pedi....point à la ligne. I find them horribly uncomfortable, w/that "thing" between the toes which irritates my skin.

      And, let's face it, most people simply do not have attractive feet. The less said about that the better. I once spent an entire flight next to a man in flip-flops with his dirty right foot resting on his left thigh almost level with my face. It was beyond disgusting.

      I am delighted that you will be passing this along to male friends who may need a gentle reminder of how we women love it when they make an effort to look their best.

      Would love to know their reactions.

      Thanks again for a great comment.

  2. This post is a wonderful guideline, and makes me nostalgic as well for the "well-dressed man". And OMG, young Richard Gere -- what a dreamy looking man.

    1. Lately I've been visiting nostalgia land a lot, where all the men and women are so well dressed. (sigh!)

      Wasn't young Richard Gere a knock-out??? If you get a chance, check out the great video of him from the film, "American Gigolo," where he sorts through his amazing closet putting together the "perfect" outfit, all the while dancing to a Jackson 5 tune. I think you can find it on You Tube. It's fabulous!!

      Thanks for stopping by. Hope to hear from you again.

  3. Hi M-T !

    What a fun post :-)
    Thank you for the good time you offered us !
    You were right to give smart and accurate advice about men's wardrobe and accessories. The misfortune of your friend Carrie shows how important it is for us, women, to be with a man who doesn't look sloppy. After all, we are always the ones under pressure. We are constantly asked to make efforts to look pretty, slim, perfect. Why would we be the only ones to make efforts ? Unfair and frustrating. Also, it's so rewarding to be with a man who has class - real class. To me it means: being nicely dressed + having an elegant tie (Hermes !), a classy watch (not a show off one) which all fine connoisseurs will identify right away (Jaeger Lecoultre, Patek / or IWC for a more sporty look)and finally sophisticated leather shoes. If one of these requirements is not fulfilled, than forget. The whole attempt to look classy will be ruined...
    Finally being stylish also implies to behave like a gentleman (hold the door in a restaurant, help a woman carrying her suitcase, do not drink a beer by the bottle,etc..).
    I am lucky to have found this dream guy some years ago. Sorry single Ladies... I married him and we are still happy :-)))He is flawless ... (or at least almost flawless. LOL !)
    PS: last but not least: a scarf (wool, cashemere) is also a great sign of distinction....
    All the best from windy Florida

    1. Ma chère, your Comment is worthy of an entire post all by itself…..superbe!!! You and I are clearly on the same “longueur d’onde.” In addition, your advice on accessories (watches, shoes, scarves, etc.), as my British “mamie” would say, is “spot on.” And, yes I do agree that it often seems most unfair that we ladies are always expected to look our best; but….it is part of the job description of being a woman, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love being a woman, even one “d’un certain âge.” Youth may fade and beauty changes with the decades, but the truly charming and feminine woman is ageless.

      As to your advice on behaving like a gentleman, well….I couldn’t agree more. I can't imagine my husband not opening doors for me, even after 35 years of marriage. I think American women having stopped expecting it, and, as a result, American men have stopped fulfilling their expectations. So sad.

      Perhaps I should do a post featuring all my beautiful Ex-pat French friends’ contributions on exactly this subject. Qu’en penses-tu?


My dear Readers, I do so love reading your comments and appreciate the time you take to make them. To make it easier to leave your comments, I have disabled that annoying "Word Verification" setting, which Blogger (in its infinite wisdom) enabled without my consent.

If you have a problem posting your comment, just send it to me at frenchtouchimage@gmail.com.

I will be happy to post it for you and link back to you. I look forward to hearing from you.

You Might Also Like

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...