Category Archives: mens clothes

The Zip-off Pants

I was just talking about traveling light and being able to carry your bag on Friday. But I feel like I should be clear that you shouldn’t  travel light by wearing zip-off pants. No zip-off pants.

Nothing is much better than these things, at shouting “tourist!” I know they seem to be a good idea, but they’re not. Especially if you have any desire to blend in at all with the local populace. The only people I’ve ever seen sporting zip-offs are tourists. And that can be ok if you want to remain  immersed in a clot of your fellow zip-off pant wearers.

I’ve found when traveling, the more you blend in the better your experience of another culture can be. So, being somewhat sensitive to local fashion can help. For example in Mexico, as you travel inland from the coast, adult men don’t wear shorts. Sure, if you have blue eyes and freckles you won’t be mistaken for a local Mexican man even if you’re wearing long pants, but you don’t want to work against yourself either.

Zip-off pants are the tip of the attention drawing iceberg of bad travel practices. Last week I saw this article, How To Avoid Looking Like A Tourist, by Kate Kuhlman.  The article covers almost every travel fashion faux pas from the wrong footwear to cameras used as necklaces. She beat me to it and did a good job on the subject, it’s funny too.

So remember, the people hawking travel wear like zip-off pants have their sales numbers in mind, not what you’ll actually look like outside of the shop or catalog.

If you went to a beach in Brazil populated by women who looked like the one below, do think she might be using a secret tip-off signal for her friends – to check out your zip-off pants?                                                                                                                                                                                              

Clothes = Fonts

I read somewhere that fonts are the clothes your words wear.

Writers, bloggers, editors, and publishers agonize over which font is appropriate for the work in question. Wordsmiths want to send the right message and give the impression they’re after.

The reverse is true too. Clothes are the fonts for people. Clothes can make a statement and men especially don’t usually get the subtle points of dressing. Many men  tend to be frozen in the sartorial period that they thought was happening the year that they graduated from college. And here in Mexico, there are guys living on the coast who get dressed up like rodeo participants even though they usually don’t know how to ride a horse; since I never see them on horseback.

Clothes and fashion can send conscious and unconscious signals and messages to viewers. Men traditionally haven’t been overly concerned with their clothes, but the situation seems to be changing, at least in the north-eastern US.

In her article “All Dudes Learned How to Dress and It Sucks” Mary HK Choi jokingly bemoans the sudden and seemingly widespread good taste displayed by men in New York City. Choi says she’s no longer able to clearly pigeon-hole guys as rich or poor, graphic designer or laborer, straight or gay even.

The rise, at least in NYC, of tasteful and trendy dressing for men has erased her ability to read men the way she used to. She’s now unable to gauge how old a guy is. And even drawn out on a limb to chat up a guy on a train because he was so well put together. He turned out to be engaged as well as someone she wouldn’t have approached before all this widespread fashion sense set in.

It will be interesting to see if this fashion sense trend that’s now in parts of  the tri state area will spread to men in other locals causing confusion for people who thought men were easy to read.