That old expression is often cited in fashion since it left Wallis Simpson lips: “you can never be too rich or too thin”. I’ve heard it whispered and shouted in ateliers, runway shows, and department stores. It’s an idea that is difficult to ignore.
The ideal of thin, sculpted body has taken over the fashion industry for some time. Since the 1990s “heroine chic” look ushered in by Calvin Klein, runway models have looked painfully thin. In fact, several models globally have died from malnourishment. I had only considered this being an issue for women. How wrong I was!
Kareem from The Black Out Blog asked for my favorite looks for J.W. Anderson’s Fall 2013 menswear collection. The British designer focuses on androgyny, hoping to challenge conceptions of what men can and cannot wear. I’m always fascinated by the crossover between menswear and women’s wear, particularly how it makes people feel. It’s acceptable, and generally sexy, if women wear pieces inspired by menswear. The reaction is much different when menswear borrows styles or details from women’s garments.
Looks from the J. W. Anderson Fall 2013 show
As I watched the video, I found it really difficult to focus on the clothing. The male models were too thin. Instead of finding them attractive, I was noticing how most of the models had the same size thighs as me. I really hope that menswear doesn’t start taking this direction. I like men that are tall and muscular. The idea of skinny, emaciated men as the new ideal form makes me sad, and definitely makes my libido drop. In my opinion, men can be too thin. (New to my site? You should read a similar post on women’s bodies I’ve written: Movies, Boobies, and Ideal Beauty)
The first few looks did not impress me. However, the show improved as this model walked down the runway. This model was, to me, the most attractive and healthy looking. I loved this look! The white sweater shows off his sculpted form, and successfully incorporates a v-neck detail I’ve seen in women’s wear pieces. He still looks powerful and masculine, but in a soft and sexy way. The gray wool pants are also fantastic.
Here, Anderson has added a peplum. A peplum is a short overskirt common in dresses, skirts, and jackets for women. What’s great about these pants is that they are a classic staple in a great quality wool. A more fashion forward man could easily rock these with a peplum. A more traditional man could have the peplum removed.
My next favorite pieces were two black knitted sweaters. One had a pair of scissors knitted into the design, and the other had a white picket fence. These are also updated classics. The graphic element is really fun and playful. But I might just be partial to the historical reference to women’s wear designer Elsa Schiaparelli. In the 1920s, Schiaparelli started creating knit sweaters that incorporated graphic details like ties and bows into the design itself. These sweaters were really revolutionary, and produced using a double layer stitch, which Schiaparelli discovered by working with Armenian refugees in Paris. (See below)
Anderson does a great job at referencing Schiaparelli. What I love about Anderson’s his sweater is that I would wear one, and would also find it incredibly sexy on a man, too.
My final pick is an orange trench coat with a contrasting cream colored notched collar. Nothing is more elegant than a great trench coat. Lately, I’ve been partial to rich colors, especially orange. Maybe it’s that great AndrÃ© CourrÃ¨ges dress I found, or the great advice Choy shared with us in Style Notes. Whatever it is, being confident enough to wear a bold, rich color is always sexy, regardless of whether you’re a man or woman. So maybe Wallis Simpson had it half right – there’s no such thing as too rich.
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