Peplums, rompers, jorts and bandeaus, to name a few: There are plenty of oddly named garments women generally love and men generally don’t. Sure, lots of guys out there appreciate a ruffly belt-like thing that serves no practical purpose around a girl’s waist or enjoy an eyeful of buttcheek squeezed out of a pair of high-waisted jean shorts. Style is subjective, taste even more so, and everyone should wear whatever they want, no matter how much it repulses the opposite sex. I, for one, have worn a lot of perplexing and unflattering stuff in my time, including but not limited to tie-dyed men’s size XL sweatshorts, platform sneakers eerily reminiscent of “special shoes,” a 2015 NBA All-Stars LeBron James basketball jersey as a dress in the year 2016 and perhaps douchiest of all, a floppy linen newsboy cap for no good reason. Life’s too short to not wear dumb shit. Then again, life’s too short to not get laid.
It’s not just men who don’t understand a lot of women’s clothing. We get confused sometimes, too! Then there are a few special pieces of apparel women almost universally deplore for various reasons, like it makes you look like you’ve been transported from the year 2005 or Jesus, which may or may not be a compliment. Just ask Playboy Advisor Bridget Phetasy, sex columnist Dana Hamilton, comedian/writer Eden Dranger , Playmate and stylist Gia Marie and comedian/writer/actor/musician Lane Moore, all here to serve up their unfiltered opinions. While you didn’t solicit it, it probably won’t hurt to heed this advice.
Mandals are usually defined as sandals designed exclusively for men featuring thick leather straps and often emphasizing man toes. Flip-flops can fall into the category (but those are generally acceptable to women as they are appropriate for the beach and pool), as does any shoe that showcases a bare foot. Men will argue they, too, need to keep their feet cool come summer months, but do you really?
BRIDGET: I’m not a huge fan of men in open-toed shoes. Are you walking for 40 days and 40 nights? Selling Bibles? You might as well go barefoot. I don’t want to see your gross, unmanicured, hairy monkey toes. Ever.
DANA: I tend to date men who are actual dads or just look like dads, so I’m a huge fan of dad couture. (My most recent ex wore Tevas so often it was as if he had a corporate sponsorship he never told me about.) I love dads, or men who look like dads, because there’s something sexy about knowing you know how to take care of another human life, are financially responsible, and know how to change a diaper (I have a lot of gastrointestinal problems). Just kidding—I like men who change diapers because it’s selfless and dirty work and impossible to have an ego while changing a diaper.
EDEN: I get it. It’s summer, so I don’t blame men for wanting some ventilation for their feet. So if you go this route you must 1) take care of your feet! Make sure you clean up your feet and toenails before you show them off. And 2) Never pair them with socks.
GIA: Well, I’m not here to knock on anyone’s personal vibe or style, so power to you. But I personally think mandals are only okay if you’re a 50-year-old dad wearing them with tube socks: acceptable! Or the common gym coach with one ball hanging out the side of his dad shorts. Other than that, if you’re not a pro surfer riding the treacherous waves in Australia with your perfect surfer ass and tanned skin, maybe reconsider those mandals.
LANE: No idea why men’s clothing companies have to put the word “man” in front of things to get you to buy them, which is my chief mandals complaint, but so many guys who wear mandals have long, creepy, yellowed, trollish toenails and it’s terrifying. So sure, wear sandals, but at least do the basic toe-and-foot upkeep women are expected to do too.
The fedora will never die, but that doesn’t mean a lot of people don’t want to murder it forever. The soft-brim hat has been around since 1891, which is longer than any of us. While we can respect the fedora and its lengthy life span, we have a hard time respecting those who wear it. Whether it’s to up your indie credibility (at this point, the style is about as indie as drinking Pabst) or conceal an irksome bald spot, the fedora almost never accomplishes its intended job. The moral: Hats with ribbons and/or feathers are problematic.
BRIDGET: Unless you’re a modern pimp, a 1920s Italian mafia boss in Sicily or Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca, please don’t. My uterus is drying up.
DANA: Fedoras are universally bad. Regardless of gender, they don’t look good on anybody. The only creature that could wear a fedora and still look cute is a Golden Retriever puppy, but even then it’s questionable because I’m not sure if it’s going to want to talk about the vastness of the universe and dark matter and shit the entire time at my birthday party and then eventually angrily try to tell me I “friend-zoned” it two months later.
EDEN: A great method for birth control.
GIA: Oh lord, where do I start? Please, please, men, if your hat’s brim is too short to actual shade your face from the sun, you shouldn’t be wearing it. Especially tipped back on the back of your head, like the fashion statement hats word by ladies of the 1920s. Honestly, the fedora isn’t as bad as the newsboy cap. Don’t even get me started on the newsboy.
To be clear, V-neck T-shirts are perfectly fine. To be really clear, deep V-neck T-shirts are not. They are, in fact, considered to be so hilarious that Saturday Night Live devoted an entire digital short to their absurdity in 2011. Showing skin can feel great and the fact that women usually get away with it much more easily than men is one of society’s double standards. But do we want to live in a society where self-respecting men are parading around with their cleavage strategically on display? Well, maybe!
BRIDGET: 2005 called. It wants its fashion back.
DANA: Most dudes who wear these are just trying to show off their pectoral muscles. And that’s fine! But a better way to do that is to be charming and respectful and consent-driven so a lady will request for you to take your shirt off. It’s like a gym selfie on Tinder: we all know you work out, but we don’t need you to tattoo the fact on your forehead.
EDEN: I actually think V-necks are a nice change from the standard T-shirt. Just don’t let it get too deep unless you want to be cast in a revival of Saturday Night Fever.
GIA: One word, maybe three: “Versace, Versace, Versace."
To the notion of man jewelry, defined by anything from a puka shell necklace to a stack of Cartier Love bracelets, some might say embrace your flair. Others notice it as an obvious mode of peacocking, a term brought into our lexicon thanks to 2005’s The Game. Some think a simple accent peace is perfectly fine, while other girls will say get out of here with your "spiritual” beads. The consensus? Whatever you do, keep it simple.
BRIDGET: Never trust a man wearing more than zero necklaces, which says everything you need to know about rappers and DJs. I’m old-school, so anything more than a nice watch and a wedding ring is too much. But if you’re going to do jewelry, pick one accessory and do it well. Don’t overdue it like Johnny Depp. Only rockstars like Lenny Kravitz can get away with too much.
DANA: I’d like to say that the only piece of man jewelry that turns me off is a wedding ring, but that’s not true. All man jewelry is terrible. The reason I don’t like man jewelry has nothing to do with the fact that it’s jewelry and societally deemed “feminine.” The problem with man jewelry is that it’s clunky and aesthetically displeasing, usually ugly in design and materials—like, I don’t want to see your giant brushed silver thumb ring of a dragon with ruby eyes. If you’re going to wear jewelry, at least let it be pretty and dainty with nice stones and colorful, intricate designs. Because then I could possibly borrow it.
EDEN: Depends. Necklaces weird me out, one bracelet is okay and an anklet just screams “alcohol monitoring device” or “I spent way too much time at Burning Man.” Wedding rings are fine if you don’t mention it all the time and point to it like, “Sorry, [points at ring] I’m married.”
GIA: Man jewelry. Fuck, this is a touchy subject. I sometimes I get it. Most of the time, I don’t. Okay, a simple chain necklace with a pendant is fine. A nice watch? Yes, I’m all for that. But please leave the rings for your girlfriends to wear. You can’t be wearing more jewelry than me. You’re not Jim Morrison with your sexy-ass beaded necklace, okay?
LANE: It’s not personal. It’s just been ruined by too many poets.
SQUARE-TOED “GOING OUT” SHOES
There is a certain kind of shoe, a style usually purchased at a mass retailer that certain men wear when they are going to a nightclub or anywhere they can’t sport their usual sneakers. Most often accompanied by striped button-shirts from Express and semi-distressed jeans, this certain shoe tends to suggest you don’t have style nor a mind of your own. Moreover, it indicates you’re terrified of proper dress shoes.
BRIDGET: Are those even a thing anymore? I’m pretty sure they’re out of fashion right now and according to my European friends, they’ve never been in fashion. I hate these for the same reason I hate Drakkar Noir. And while we’re talking about shoes, wear some fucking socks.
DANA: Square-toed shoes in general are awful. If you wear square-toed shoes, you’re either a witch, stuck in the 1990s, or a witch stuck in the nineties—and not in a cool way like Neve Campbell in The Craft. If you wear square-toed shoes, the only place you’ll be “going out” is to your middle school friend’s bar mitzvah you’re twenty years late to. Buy a nice pair of leather or suede boots if you need a “fancy” option for going out.
The same goes for boat shoes with no socks. Unless you actually own a boat and have an allergy to socks, please don’t do this. Upon sight, I just assume your dad works in local government, can get you out of a DUI, and that you take advantage of these facts almost constantly.
EDEN: Sure, go for it. Hey, I suffer half the year with high heels that if men are game to jam their feet into a square shoe for the sake of going out, let them have it at it.
LANE: I don’t know why these are the ugliest things in all of life, on men or women, but no. No. Just don’t do it. Don’t.
Cargo shorts are a tough one. On the one hand, they are very Old Navy circa 1998. On the other hand…maybe there is no other hand. I’m of the mind they can look cool if they are distinctly un-safari-like and worn by the right guy, say a stylishly dirty skater dude who has trashed them almost beyond recognition. Hot.
BRIDGET: Am I dating a Boy Scout or a man? Why do you need all those pockets? Are you a drug dealer? I realize this is a controversial item and I’ll give you a pass if you’re over the age of 40, and especially if you’re a dad. For some unexplainable reason Dads love cargo shorts. Also in this category jorts. What are you thinking? That you’re in a Madonna video? You’re not.
DANA: Ah, the calling card of the DILF. Cargo shorts say you just dropped your kid off at the babysitter and are now ready to party, but in a responsible way. I’m totally on board with these. Did somebody steal my heart or is it in one of your 12 pockets?
EDEN: I used to think they’re dorky, but now I’m like, “Yay, more places to put chicken nuggets!” Very practical.
GIA: Totally fine if you’re a bro, a grip or a dad. I understand they serve a utilitarian purpose, guys, and some of you would say you wear them for comfort. But unless you’re in your pick-up truck blasting 3 Doors Down or Nickelback, please don’t show up for our date in cargo shorts. Okay, thank you.
LANE: Unless you’re going to a Dave Matthews concert in 1999, I have no idea why you’re wearing these.
OVERSIZED FLOPPY HATS
BRIDGET: Nothing says “I vape” quite like an oversized floppy hat. Only Queen Bey gets away with the floppy hat, sir. No you, you Williamsburg hipster wannabe. Get a job.
RECTANGULAR WIRE-RIMMED GLASSES
DANA: These glasses scream “I work in IT.” And if they have Transitions lenses, then prepare to get famous, buddy, because I look forward to seeing you featured on the next season of Making a Murderer. If you haven’t gotten the memo that acetate glasses are what get women hot and bothered (i.e. check out Warby Parker), I can’t help you more than your defense lawyer can.
“VINTAGE” ROCK ‘N’ ROLL T-SHIRTS
BRIDGET: Your shirt isn’t vintage. It was made in China and you bought it at Walmart. The only thing vintage about you is your parents.