Guest Editorial: Who is to Blame for the Poorly Dressed American Man?

by MR Magazine Staff

Jack Abelson pleads with America’s wives and girlfriends, “Demand better clothing choices from your men!”

OP ED logo MRWith winter finally over, and the summer travel season about to begin, we see the emergence of substantial proof that American men generally dress poorly. Even after all these years of people watching in airports, the appalling state of male sartorial choices still amazes me. This is epitomized by the prevalence of shorts, often worn by those who should not, proving once again that just because you can does not mean you should. As an industry, we have tried very hard to educate and inform the male population regarding proper attire, so who, exactly, is to blame for this fiasco?

As always, it lies with she who controls everything, the female gender. Every straight man dresses for one thing, to impress women, and the gay guys get it already. Yes, ladies, it is your fault. If you demanded better clothing choices from your spouse, boyfriend, etc. and really meant it (“I am not going anywhere with you dressed like that!”), the taste level of menswear worn by American men would rocket up exponentially. After all, you do it with your mothers, as I have witnessed many times. So please, I am begging you, extend that same level of concern to the male(s) in your life.

How many times have you been out to dinner at even a modestly nice restaurant and seen a couple who epitomize exactly what I am talking about? She is dressed very nicely, often wearing a dress, and he looks as if he just finished a round of golf (if that good), including the dreaded flip flops. What does this say about their relationship? If he does not care enough about his lady to make even a modest effort at proper attire, how else does he view her? He cannot even take the small amount of time required to think through and address his wardrobe choices? I have often said the day I wish to leave this life is the day I see a representative couple and do the following. I walk up to their table, compliment her on how she looks and ask, “Then why are you with this slob?” The result would be predictable and tragic but it would be nice to go out on a high note.

I know there are women out there who take the element of risk out of the equation and buy their man’s clothes for him as well as insisting he wear their choices; while I say bravo to you, this group is far too limited and men need to step up themselves. Gentlemen, if your one sartorial goal in life is to wear shorts perpetually, please rethink that aspiration. To paraphrase Tom Ford, shorts belong on the beach or in your backyard, period. Change your desire to mine, for instance; in my next life, I want to be born Italian, with fashion in my DNA and sprezzatura oozing out of my pores, or at least be George Clooney. Now, when you have options, just ask yourself, “What would George do?” You cannot go wrong, I assure you.

Jack Abelson is an industry consultant with many years of experience in the apparel business. He can be reached at