I saw someone wearing parachute pants the other day. It reminded me that clothing and fashion goes out of style and then comes back in again. Yet there remains several fashion choices that need to forever say in the "DO NOT RESUSCITATE" category. What follows are five things you won't see me wearing...and that no grown man should be wearing. As I coast happily into middle-age, I see many train wrecks around me. Here are five that need to be cleaned up and hauled away.
5. Track Suits/Jogging Suits. You know who should be wearing jogging suits? People who are jogging. You know who always seems to be wearing them? Fat guys at the mall. Unless you're actually exercising or -- here's a stretch -- running somewhere, you need to leave the track suits at the track.
Same goes for people who wear sweat pants anywhere but at the gym or on the couch at home. Someone once told me that he wears sweatpants on the plane because he likes to feel comfortable. Well, if sitting in a chair, dressed like an adult who is able to function in society is such a chore, perhaps you don't need to be flying anywhere in the first place. And if a pair of jeans is that uncomfortable, you should just go ahead and move into the local Walmart.
4. Fanny Packs. I got one of these as a gift in the early 90s. I wore it for about a week as a way to carry my Walkman (!) whenever I went for a walk (not wearing a track suit). I looked stupid. So do you. Stop wearing them. You have pockets for a reason. If you can't fit your keys in your pocket, you need either a briefcase or messenger bag or--here's an idea--fewer keys. If you need to carry so many things with you at once that you need a special bag attached to you at all times, this article doesn't apply to you because you are a woman. Special shout-out to people still wearing their cell phones in a holster on their belts. It's a phone, Wyatt Earp, not a Colt revolver. And you're a nerd, not a gunslinger.
3. Bolo Ties. Many people don't know that this is the name for those "string ties" you see a lot of guys wearing. A long string with some sort of medallion or pendant that tightens at the collar. It's mostly a Western thing; a throwback to the olden times, like handlebar moustaches and domestic violence. I was given one when I was 15. The pendant was a big silver star. Now I wish it was a Japanese throwing star so I could have stabbed out the eye of the person who gave it to me in the first place. Unless your name is "Tex" and you live on a ranch and are regularly seen riding bulls, you need to not be wearing one of these. Learn to tie a four-in-hand or simply keep your collar open. The bolo tie belongs in Dallas re-runs and on buckets of chicken.
2. Crocs. If you see a man wearing Crocs, take them off his feet and beat him with them. Those are shoes for children. They are convenient and easy to wash when your child pukes or does something worse on his feet. Or walks through someone else's puke or something worse. They are not for grown men to wear simply because they have given up. There are plenty of shoes out there just as convenient and easy to wear as Crocs which make it possible to not look like a creepy uncle who sits alone and watches Nickelodeon sitcoms.And I don't care if they make Crocs in your size; they make bras in your size, too. Wearing Crocs as a grown man is akin to telling people you're allergic to sex.
1. Jewelry Outside the Shirt. Sometimes you just can't have it both ways. You have a great necklace you want people to see? That's adorable. So, go put on a standard button-up shirt and leave the collar open. You're cold and want something to keep your neck warm? A turtle neck is a great idea. But that necklace you're excited about showing off? It goes UNDER the turtle neck shirt, got it? Wearing your necklace outside your shirt is like wearing your socks over the cuffs of your pants. Sometimes less is more and, in this case, seeing less of your accessory is more what you should be doing. This also goes for men who wear their wristwatch over their shirt cuffs. While you're at it, just go ahead and wear your belt around your head.
This is just a quick list of things men should not be wearing. But it really could be much, much longer than five examples. I still didn't get to acid-wash jeans, pants with elastic waist bands, shoes with velcro for laces, socks with sandals, sneakers with suits, and wallets with chains attached to the belt. Got a fashion item you can't stand? Tell me about it.
Ward Anderson is one half of the SiriusXM talk radio program "Ward and Al", which is heard weekday mornings all over North America. His first novel will be released by Kensington Books in spring 2014. He carries a messenger bag, although some people have been known to call it a "murse". He has too many keys.