Friday, September 15, 2006


After reading The Devil Wears Prada on the plane, and flicking through a copy of Details magazine, I came to the conclusion, late last night, that I am not the most fashionable person in the world. Shops like Banana Republic and Next, which I tend to buy most of my clothes at, are viewed as uncool by the Fashion Elite. That speech about the blue sweater could have been written about me.

So I decided today to turn over a new leaf and use all my unspent Canadian dollars to get a new wardrobe. There is a clothes shop near to where I live which I'm scared of. The assistants look like they're too cool for school. Even the mannequins in the window seem to draw away from me when I walk past. Anyway, I braved it. I expected them to ask me to leave immediately (I was wearing a 16 month old jacket from Next, a pair of jeans (also Next) that had been pre-faded in a way that equally dated them as old old old, a top from Topman and a pair of unfashionable old men's brown slip-on shoes - OK, OK, I know! I have problem feet. It's a curse. When I had to take them off to go through security at the airport last week a bunch of Paris Hiltons actually screamed at them.)

The shop assistant took an interest in me though (I was the only person in the shop) and said "Look. Do you want me to pick out some clothes that will make you look good?" This has never happened to me before. So I enthusiastically agreed. For the next hour we played "Dressing up Lubin Odana". She was a harsh mistress. I wasn't able to change clothes quick enough for her and she kept coming up to me saying "Aren't you changed yet? Men! You're all the same!" She deliberated for fifteen minutes over whether I should have the 32 or 34 inch leg jeans (just in - and pre-faded in a way that means I can wear them without shame). "You're actually a 33", she said finally. "But go for the large - women HATE it when men wear jeans that are even a little bit too small. It's awful when you see a man walking from behind and the jeans ride up and show off his socks." Really? I had no idea. I apologise for all the times I've done this and caused great offence to women everywhere.

"This'll look great in you!" she said, handing me a sweater that looked as if it had been pulled to bits by a child with ADD. "The girls will love you in this." I wanted to say "Yes, but will it get the attention of those hunky builders I have to pass every day?" but I only have the strength to confront heteronormative thinking about once in every 5 times it happens (and it's happening with worrying frequency at the moment - even when my friend took me to a gay bar in Vancouver, two people asked him if I was straight. For Chrissakes - I like Bette Davis films, that's about as nelly as you can get!)

So I ended up spending £200 on new clothes (I was given a £50 discount for some reason, I'm not sure why, but it involved having to buy a woman's magazine "I know you men all read women's magazines!" teased the helpful/scary assitant). I bought a t-shirt that I wasn't sure I really wanted - but I'd ended up sweating into it so much (fashion makes you hot) and was too embarrassed to put it back on the rack all wet and smelly. So now I have clothes that I be proud of. That's until I sit down on my sofa and a) they instantly turn ginger from all the cat hairs and b) my cat jumps on my lap and his claws get caught up in them, ruining them - or perhaps making them even more cool - as "distressed" seems to be in at the moment.

And if anyone still thinks I'm straight - I will direct them to this post. Because even the most metrosexual straight man wouldn't stoop to write something so self-debasing and neurotic (or admit to it at least).


jetpack said...

you're brave taking fashion advice from a woman. I'm sure it was good advice but a woman's perspective is not the same as that of a man. Women might love the way you dress but you could inadvertently look ridiculous to every other man (did you watch "10 years younger"?) - I'm sure that's not the case, it's just not a risk I would take (but then I guess any advice is better than none at all!)

fin de fichier said...

Oh Lubin. Next thing you know you'll be coloring in pictures of unicorns and princesses.
Honestly though I've dreamed of a makeover from my female friends. To me the prevailing look now in the US for the young trendy boys does seem to be "dressed by my girlfiend." Capri pants, flip flops, turned up collar, friendship necklace or whatever they are called. Sheessh. I'd take anything other than the 70s over this nonsense. The flipped up collar keeps seeming to go away but then rears its ugly head again, viz:

Rob7534 said...

Perhaps she was just being polite, by adding, "the girls will love you in this..." not wanting to assume that you prefered the man sausage, but knowing all along that you were gay all along. Not with her comision at stake!

Adrian said...

The thing about fashion is that it is at its best when you wear clothes that suit you, and accentuate all your good bits and your personality.

I think slavishly following 'the fashion' is wrong. It makes people look like wannabes. Style should e instinctive. If you know it's right and you feel right, then it is.

Diana Ross has a fashion philosophy: two neutrals and a splash.

This, I like.