A reader writes:
I’ve just read “Top 10 Men’s Fashion Rules” and you’re really against to jeans. My question is, i’m a college student and 23 years old and i like to dress “more formal” than the all t-shirt and sneakers wearers around me. And i always wear dark unwashed jeans with a dress shirt, a jacket and if it’s really cold a overcoat. And generally long wingtip bluchers for shoes. So i’m almost %90 more decent dressed every single guy around me and it really helps me to get chicks and be respected anywhere. But should i throw my jeans, is it the time ? Or should i wait until i get a decent job ? I mean am i overdressing for my age and position or am i actually wrong to try and bring it down a little with jeans ? What do you say ?
My dear young man, congratulations. You have taken your first step into a land which frightens your confréres; indeed, it is a place that scares the willies out of a growing number of people. This the Adulthood.
Americans now clutch to youth long past the point of seemliness, as if nobody notices their sagging or surgically stretched skin. Those inflicted labor under the delusion that if only they dressed like post-pubescent teens, people will find them youthful.
They particularly fear that if they dressed like adults, they would have to think and act like them, too. In this they are correct, if only because those around a suit-wearer treat him differently. Someone dressing as an adult is called “Sir” instead of “Hey you.” And there is absolutely no question that women far prefer a well dressed man to a stock (“ironic”) t-shirt-and-jeans-wearing lemming.
An adult realizes that he is not only dressing for himself, but for those around him. Everybody has to look at you. Why cause people pain? Dressing well is a duty, another characteristic of Adulthood.
Now as to you. Your choice of shoes is excellent. There are two spending rules for mens clothes: never skimp in shoes or hats. Everybody instantly notices inferior quality. And nothing ruins an outfit faster than subpar foot- and head-wear (no hipster hats). Sneakers, or what we called tennis shoes, are forbidden except when running after a ball. Just don’t wear them. They are always ugly, and because of the use of neon pipping, growing more hideous each year.
Also correct are the wearing of a jacket and adult shirt. T-shirts are forbidden except as undergarments or when playing sports.
The lesson here is that much less can be spent on shirts than on anything else. Thrift stores are good hunting grounds. The jacket covers most of the shirt, a tie hides even more. Therefore a shirt’s fit isn’t as crucial. Just try to ensure the neck closes around your gullet and the sleeves come to the meat of your thumb.
To answer your main question, yes: throw away your jeans. Yours Truly does not even own a pair, but then he lives in a city. If you are in the country, again I say, throw them away. My grandfather used to show me pictures of his father and uncle fishing in the Detroit River wearing three-piece suits. It’s what people did. (This was in the late 1800s, early 1900s.)
Ever notice any of those PBS “costume” dramas? The lords and ladies out for a hunt, that sort of thing? All in suits and frocks. Looks classy, no? Jeans aren’t necessary, except if you are earnestly laboring in the field, then they are just the ticket. Otherwise, no.
You said you wear “dark unwashed jeans.” Ah, yes. A common approach, especially in the aged. An attempt to disguise jeans as something other than jeans. These jeans are often expensive because it takes many steps to create pants that aren’t pants but look like them if you’re not looking closely. You would pay less for a pair of real trousers.
You don’t have to jump right into a suit. Jacket and tie and mismatched trousers are fine, even preferred in many instances. Don’t forget the pocket square.
There will be a price to pay in teasing and odd looks from your immediate friends. But this lasts only days or weeks. You will soon discover that you are the one these fellows come to for dressing tips. And you will instantly be aware of the greater attention from ladies and increased respect of strangers.
P.S. I’d correct your grammar, but I don’t want to be accused of micro-aggression.