As is maybe apparent by the fact that I am doing two men’s style profiles in a row, (I have also found myself much more pressed for time, and ain’t nobody got time to write a whole article) I have found myself more and more entranced with men’s fashion. I of course love the way I am able to dress as a female, and the way in which I can express both my feminism and femininity through my clothing. Women’s clothing and the constant innovation our trend-mongering forces designers to be artists and innovative. We buy so much stuff they gotta keep new things coming for the ladies.
That being said, there is something undeniable about the enduring nature of a classic men’s suit. Frustrating as I find it, it seems men in their clothing choices have been given the ability to be sexy without being sexual, and classy without being stuffy. Men’s fashion allows the message not to be muddled by all the subtext plaguing the way women dress. And the funny thing is many of them don’t realize they have this luxury. Maybe that’s why this luxury endures. If every man knew how easy it was to look amazing in a suit, maybe the truly stylish among them would have to step up their games to the point that the beautifully restrained nature of men’s clothing would be lost.
Regardless, I decided to sit down with another dapper gent and get Ian Mariani’s two bits on men’s and women’s fashion. After all, he has a pretty fabulous sock collection and we all know that can get you far in life.
How would you describe your style?
If I were to put it into one sentence it would have to be traditional with pieces of flair, as opposed to it being mumbo jumbo. So not noting anyone’s ever seen before.
You clearly put thought into the way you dress? Why do you care?
I care I guess because I’ve always been very self-conscious of my age. When I would do Thanksgiving just with my family we would all eat around the same table, but when I was around 10 we started going to a different family’s household, and they had a kid’s table and an adult’s table. I very distinctly remember going over to the adult’s table which had wine, and the better foods and, having overheard something and wanting to chime in. And my parents not being the ones to chastise me but being chastised as: “You should go back to the kid’s table.”
And perceiving that it kind of came along with being able to grow facial hair and eventually having a growth spurt, that the way to delete the age gap, and be taken as seriously as an adult was to dress like one. It’s calculated because in situations where I feel like I need to be taken seriously I do acknowledge that if I look professional, or I look put-together than people might listen to what I have to say a little bit more.
What argument do you think you’re making with the way you dress?
My argument would be that what you look like matters. You can get up there and show all your credentials and that’s only half the battle. Especially when your first impression isn’t even you talking, but also your profile picture. And I’m not advocating that everyone change their profile picture on Facebook to their LinkedIn picture but first impressions really do matter. And my argument would be that the way you dress is a huge part of that. People will try to characterize you into what they believe and for me, I would rather be perceived as put together and professional and then prove to be goofy than dress goofy and try and act professional. And dressing in a way that keeps your first impression confined to what you say and what you do.
Why do you think men generally think about fashion less than women?
Because they’re allowed to. Women and women’s fashion is, to me, more complicated. To me, it seems like men’s fashion is variations on a theme. It’s like that scene from Clueless, where you just match inputs to create an outfit. In the business world it’s like you pick a suit, you pick a tie and that’s it. It’s a very simple formula. And in that sense, yeah, guys do have an easier time of it. But it gets back to issues I’m sure people talk about every day. I am definitely in the agency of being a white male, so my gender and my ethnicity don’t put me in the hole. So I wouldn’t understand what’s it’s like to be put in the hole for impressions you’re giving no matter how you dress. And I that’s probably why men care less. They have the agency to be able to prove themselves differently. If I showed up in a less put-together outfit, I think a man would have an easier time making the case that he’s smart, or that he’s well-spoken. And I think there’s an element of race and class to that as well but I think it is the case that a man does not need to put himself together in order to be taken seriously.
What do you think about when you get dressed in the morning?
A lot of it has to do with mood. A couple of friends and I used to do this thing we called “Classy Mondays”, and the philosophy behind it was that Monday is obviously the worst day of the week, and that’s the day you need the most compliments. And for us, dressing up meant we were getting those compliments. And for me it then became internalized that if I were in any given situation, and I were dressed nicer than I normally would it gave me confidence. If you see me walking down the quad in my best suit, it might be because I’m having a bad day. God forbid I’m in a bad mood and also wearing sweatpants.
Jeans: Levis, Shoes: Wallin &Bros, Shirt: Tihwrtyt, Tie: Tommy Hilfiger, Sweater: Polo Ralph Lauren, Sock grab bag website
Photo Cred to the lovely Ximena Santiago! Thanks girl!