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Bi-Polar Dressing

How to Improve your style

By Megan Collins | Last Updated: Oct 12 2016

Today I want to talk about a style blunder I see guys make all too often, but luckily is easy to fix: bi-polar dressing.

Now, I’m not talking about mixing stripes with paisley, or sporting a black belt with brown shoes. Those are small fries to this big potato of a problem. I’m talking about the all-too-familiar faux pas of an outfit having one “look” from the waist-up, and a whole ‘nother from the waist down.

At a friend’s apartment last weekend, I performed an impromptu style consultation targeting this easily correctable offense. My friend, who I’ll call Walter (because that’s his real name and I kind of love it) was all dressed up for a night on the town, but his outfit just…wasn’t working. On top, Walter was wearing a track jacket, henceforth known as a tracket, with a gray t-shirt underneath. Below that, he had on jeans (with visible-stitch front pockets, an offense meriting a post of its own)…and dress shoes. Black dress shoes with a tracket. Just the thought sends shivers down my cashmere-covered spine.

Why guys? Why do you confuse us with your mixed message dressing? Walter’s top half said, I just came from a leisure afternoon activity and decided to pop over to the neighborhood bar to meet some friends for a pint, while his bottom half shouted, So! Do you come to this techno-thumping nightclub often? Walter – who, on top of being named Walter had the unlucky fate to be born a ginger – is a really nice guy, so I couldn’t let him walk out the door in this condition.

I dragged him to his closet and pulled out two easy options to re-work his wardrobe: (1) change out of the dress shoes and into a pair of spotless New Balances, or (2) keep the shoes and trade the tracket for a dress shirt. I argued for the former, as the button-down/jeans/black shoes combo always strikes me as a little generic. The tracket wasn’t bowling me over either – the tropical pattern across the chest had me humming the Beach Boys’ “Kokomo” as I dug into his closet – but at least it had personality.

I left for another party (what can I say? I’m a social girl) before Walter decided if he wanted to dress up or dress down, but I felt good just knowing I spread the word about the importance of single-minded dressing. As a wise man once said, “Suit up.” And if that suit is a track suit, so be it. As long as what’s happening above the belt matches what’s going on below, we’re all good.