Style Mag Stereotypes

I read Straightjacketed’s blog posted titled GQ: Leather Trousers Proceed With Caution the other day. In the post, SJ quoted parts of a reader’s inquiry to GQ Magazine and their resident “Style Guy’s” reply. What prompted the response was a letter from a guy who was asking GQ about its “take” on leather having a resurgence and wearing a pair of leather pants (trousers) without “scraficing the little fashion credibility I have.”

Unfortunately, the Style Guy’s reply was full of half-hearted attempts at being witty, but had many underlying descriptions of stereotypical thoughts about guys who may choose to wear leather pants (trousers, jeans, whatever you want to call them.)

Some of the statements offered by the so-called Style Guy include: I understand the appeal of leather – even if it is on a deep-down pervy level – and that whole Wild West meets The Wild One schtick. But the truth is leather trousers are, how can I put this, just a little bit gay (think chaps), and I think one runs the risk of looking more Village People than Marlon Brando.

SJ described the article as a gem of witlessness and a simple case of kneejerk homophobia. I completely agree.

Unlike SJ, I never really followed, read, or was interested in men’s style magazines. Dressing “stylishly” was always something that bothered me to my core. Why? Besides the expense, I never liked how “stylish” clothing looked on other men, or myself. I detest dress shoes. I hate ties. I abhor suits. I wouldn’t be caught dead in an overcoat. In my opinion, pants with cuffs or shirts with cufflinks look silly. Please understand: that is my opinion. My personal feeling about this manner of men’s dress has become even more strong as I have aged, rather than my becoming more conservative and accepting.

I cannot put my finger on the reasons why I feel this way. It may have to do with an ongoing rejection of conformity, since I am a child of the 60s and 70s. … though, I get my hair buzzed (primarily because I don’t like to “style” my hair. A buzz-cut is much easier to keep clean!)

My aversion to stylish dress may have to do with what I perceive to be the lifestyle choices of the men who wear such clothing. But I will not go down the road of offering stereotypes of yuppies….

And I mentioned the expense, which bothers a fiscally conservative guy like me a lot. Why pay $200 for one pair of pants and $100 for a shirt when a $40 pair of pants and $25 shirt from Lands End will look great, be wrinkle-free, and be washable at home, as well. Why pay the ongoing expense of dry cleaning?

I have looked and cannot find the letter that SJ was quoting from in the UK version of GQ. I looked on the UK GQ website, as well as the US GQ website, and all I could find was more anti-leather, stereotypical articles and comments about “style guys” thinking that men wearing anything other than a leather jacket is not fashionable or acceptable.

They are as entitled to their opinions as I am entitled to my own. I think they are wrong, short-sighted, ill-informed, as well as being homophobic and that they enjoy (as SJ says) using lazy journalistic clichés about leather. I never read their magazine, and will not begin to do so now.

I truly regret, however, that exposure to this thoughtless, witless drivel on an ongoing basis affects the thinking of the straight men of the world. Then one of them will see me wearing a pair of leather jeans, and think something badly about me, because their perception was clouded by such negativity.

My brother was a good example — he is a very stylish man. He told me that he would never wear a pair of leather pants until his wife and I talked him into trying on a pair of leather pants a couple weeks ago. Now he loves them. He has also done what I have suggested a lot on this blog: be your own guy. To heck with nay-sayin’ commentaries from ill-informed people.

Life is short: wear leather. Grrrrrrrrrrrr.

3 thoughts on “Style Mag Stereotypes

  1. I recall a time when, as a very young man, I was mesmerized by GQ. To me, it represented a style I wished to emulate. It didn't take long, however, to discover that very few could really afford to dress like the magazine models. Even for the most style-conscious, $200 for a shirt and $1000 for a pair of pants is ridiculous. It also became apparent that the magazine was light on content and heavy on advertising and the clothes it chose to feature were those of the magazine's advertisers. So, don't be surprised if they change their tune about leather when a major clothing manufacturer advertises in their magazine. At the end of the day, it's about profit.

    Kevin

  2. Thanks for the mention, bro', but I have to clarify something. I did not think that wearing a pair of leather jeans suited me — the man I am. I have a certain style of dress in which I am comfortable. You have yours.

    Leather pants were not — until just recently — included in my wardrobe because I did not think I would look good in them, or that the people around me would accept.

    When my wife suggested that I try them on, I heard your voice in my head saying, "be your own guy." So I am — thanks to her and to you!

    Heck with those inflated style mags. As your friend Kevin said, they're all out to push a horribly expensive product, not really to demonstrate sensible men's attire.

    Lovingly, your twin brother, J

  3. Hey there, BHD!

    I too searched the UK and US versions of GQ online but couldn't find the offending article, so I assume it's in the printed magazine only (UK edition, March).

    I've gone into the reasons why, despite myself, I still buy the occasional style mag – even knowing I'll roll my eyes at how overpriced it all is. As I get older, I find I'm more and more interested in the history of mens' fashion, particularly where there's a link to my fetish attractions. I was geekily excited to discover the historical connections between Barbour, motorcycle gear and naval oilskins – and men with beards. 🙂

    The real power of clothing is how it makes one feel. Much of my wardrobe tends to be based around leather – what'll look good with this jacket, that coat, this pair of jeans – but I've been known to splash out occasionally on something really special. Me and my partner are both Scottish and, when we had our civil partnership a few years ago, the only significant expense was our decision to have full Highland outfits made in one of his family tartans. We've had a lot of use out of those kilts and we still love wearing them.

    It should be about feeling good and having fun, though. Even before the stupid leather article, I used to find the GQ Style Shrink column ridiculous: all these men apparently paralysed with fear at the thought that they might knot their scarves the wrong way…

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