What's with men's suits? And all the fiddling with the damned two suit buttons? I only noticed recently as a result of watching the Colbert reincarnation. (Now I see Noah Trevor does it too. Not Larry Wilmore – perhaps because of his sturdy build and mostly sitting.)

I am trying in vain to remember when I might have viewed a man in a suit in Real Life. And mostly on TV they're talking heads, no bodies. It was only with this bouncing up and down that Colbert does to welcome a guest that I noticed.

Well, there were the Republican debaters, but they were frumpy dumpy guys dressed, ah, conservatively. And they performed behind podiums.

So I'm wondering if this is a widespread habit, or just an affliction of TV 'personalities'.

And, at least on TV, skinny suits evidently are in. With short legs and arms for the big old feet and hands to hang out of. And the damned two buttons. Which get buttoned and unbuttoned. Sometimes unbuttoned in order to sit down comfortably in the tight outfit. Sometimes while standing as a stand-in for worry beads. Once I started noticing, it was hard to unnotice again.

[Colbert's suits aren't as skinny as those of his band-leader, Jon Batiste. I think some of JB's particularly bright and tight pants are made of polyester. (Stretchy, you know.)]

But skinny or floppy, men's suits are boring. Even the sharply tailored and blah blah. And, for that matter, men's casual wear too. When did this boring uniform start? (What happened to the fops of yesteryear?)

At least men's suits used to look as if they were comfortable. I watch Miss Fisher's Mysteries occasionally for the costumes. (It's otherwise too precious and preposterous.) Her clothes are of a mythical 1928 (it all happened only in that year, according to the author of the books on which the show is based) are simply wonderful. Her male foil's are kinda stylish, as best as men's clothes can get, I guess. Below are some shots of them together – not the best examples, but they'll do.

The women's clothes used to be comfortable too. When Colbert has a woman on (side note – he refers to both genders of performers as 'actors') she minces across the stage in ridiculous heels and has to seat herself, and remain sitting, very carefully, what with the tight short skirt. And does women's extra bit of subcutaneous fat (which, anyway, has been excised from all women on TV) really make up for bare arms and legs and half-bare breasts compared to men encased in long-sleeved shirt AND the two-button suit?

[Side note – a couple of women with no discernible breasts nevertheless wore plunging necklines. For one of them – I think the one pictured below – she had 'cleavage' that consisted of the channel in the middle of the breastbone.]

Anyway, regardless (even irregardless), don't our respective Heads o' State look handsome fiddling with their buttons?

Views: 896

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on November 30, 2015 at 1:46pm

Essie Davis' Miss Fisher wardrobe is smashing; it's why we can put up w the to-to cuteness of the writing. The '20's mens' suits are terrific but the police detective's are staid. Other men in the cast(s) wear more interesting suits.

I'd say further that, compared to men's fashions from much earlier eras and from other cultures, Western late-19th--21st C men's suits are attractive, if not pointedly sexualized by comparison in that they conform well more to the male body than the older styles and non-Western male dress.

Comment by Arthur James on November 30, 2015 at 1:48pm


Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on November 30, 2015 at 1:52pm

...as to the buttons, I tend to wear suits w both front jacket buttons buttoned, standing as well as sitting.

Truth is I'm most often in plain (no-logo) sweatshirts (grey, dark grey, black, or red), or solid color Mandarin collar shirts, with khakis. 

And Chucks (Low-Top/ Converse) sneakers (with the suits, too), navy, grey, red, tan, white (one pair at a time). 

Comment by Zanelle on November 30, 2015 at 1:53pm

I am fascinated with men's buttoning and unbuttoning too.  Seems so odd. Yes, those two leaders look sooooooooooo good I dont even care about the buttons.  I am so happy for Canada and I will miss Obama.   I have never been with a man who even owns a suit.

Comment by Hannu Virtanen on November 30, 2015 at 2:03pm

"I have never been with a man who even owns a suit."

They might have thrown their suits away. After somebody ordered them to wear it once. 

Here you can often collect unused or once used suits free at flea markets.

Comment by JMac1949 Today on November 30, 2015 at 3:00pm

The last time I bought a suit was sometime about twenty years ago.  Double breasted, black silk wool blend.  Timeless:

Comment by koshersalaami on November 30, 2015 at 6:43pm
I've got a couple.

One I bought, one I inherited. Maybe two.

Thanks for the fellow melodica player
Comment by nerd cred on November 30, 2015 at 9:28pm

I ask all those questions! Except I actually like Miss Fisher, especially but not only her clothes.

And I do not care at all about button fiddling, maybe never have noticed it.

JB looks fine in his suits. Maybe because he's naturally skinny and lanky. I hate Colbert's new suits even though they're not nearly as bad as most men's modern skinny suits. I can not even tell you how much I hate those things. I don't know where you saw short pants - on those skinny suits they're all hanging over their feet - as much as they can hang at all they're so tight.

I hate wearing tight clothes and I hate seeing them on people. I prefer my clothing to touch my body as little as possible. Except I can't bring myself to wear muu muus so I have such problems with clothes. And look like it most of the time.

I will say it's semi ok that men are beginning to have that same fashion finally forced on them. No one but Hollywood and NY types can wear TV clothes IRL I suspect. Only entertainment people can afford to have the necessary bodies - overpaid and lots of free time.

I miss Letterman's suits. I loved Letterman's suits. Mostly because even on a small TV you could tell that the fabric was beautiful and the tailoring perfect. I love a good fabric.

That's the best way of dressing, to my thinking. Conservative and perfect. I do not think highly of fashion though there seems to be some human trait that impels some towards it.

And women, who are always cold have to be 1/2 naked, men who aren't always cold, wear 3 layers. Maybe that's why they aren't always cold. Stupid stupid stupid.

Why does it matter - the actor/actress distinction? Do we have doctor/doctress? Lawyer/lawyress? Engineer/engineeress? Answer: no we don't. Why some jobs not others? Thanks Colbert.

And thanks Myriad.

(geeze. I was even married to someone who had suits. Didn't always wear them but he had some.)

When my brother died my mother was having panic attacks about someone going out and buying him a suit to be buried in. A suit to be buried in. We sibs all said oh hell no. Kevin never wore a suit unless you forced him to or it was a wedding and he'd look stupid in one. So it was 1987 and I think the Twins had played the World Series. Kevin was in the hospital from a stroke and one brother was working the TV broadcast of the games. He got really good tickets for every home game and someone got Kevin out of the hospital and took him to each one of them. (Does anyone know if the Twins won that year?) Kevin was buried in his World Series sweatshirt. And a Twins cap. No suit. It was right and fitting.

Comment by moki ikom on December 1, 2015 at 12:38am

A brief search engine run didn't turn it up, but I once heard or read somewhere that the necktie goes back to times when wearing something around one's neck provided a little insurance against getting one's neck slit.  Makes sense that a wealthy man might wear one and its understandable that a not so wealthy man might wear one to give the appearance of possessing wealth.

Comment by Myriad on December 1, 2015 at 11:42am

Jonathan - re your last bit, first comment: maybe.  But I remember Alan Watts, appropriately attired in some roomy Japanese thing, saying that the modern west had things ass(literally)-backwards - skirts suited male anatomy better and pants for women.  I'm happy with casual clothes - so much less thinking and fussing.  Sometimes I don't even get into clothes until noon.

AJ - not deleted because mercifully short.

Zanelle - glad someone else has noticed the button thing.  My first husband unearthed a suit from somewhere for some unique occasion - so rumpled he'd have been better off wearing something else.  My second husband had been an *executive* and had a whole wardrobe of suits - but we met and married after his retirement, so they all stayed in the closet.

Yeah, Hannu, suits are readily available at flea markets and 2nd hand.  Lots of people, like my handyman, who have to wear a suit for a one-off occasion (his daughter's marriage in this case) go get one cheap like that and then return it.

jMac - who's the lucky woman holding Sean's hand?

Kosh - do you don tight pants and jump around when you play that thing?

Nerd Cred - haha, I actually have a wardrobe of muu-muus, only I call them robes and wear them on special ritual occasions...and as nightgowns.  I too don't like tight clothes - no binding, fitted stuff.  Loose shirts, too-big pants, oversize T-shirts: look awful, feels good (sort of like that cough medicine).

Yeah, only entertainers can have those bodies.  Did you see the Pirelli calendar?  The Amy Shumer nude is what actual women look like.  (Serena Williams is a whole other catagory - a vision to make tennis, and other, balls tremble.)

Never watch Letterman.  And if I had, I probably wouldn't have noticed his suits. Unless, of course, he kept fiddling with the buttons...

And women on TV have to be half-naked because they're supposed to be sex objects.  (I can't remember who the woman actor was who was a Colbert guest and wore flat shoes and a plain black pant suit. (PROBABLY A LESBIAN!) (Someone else besides Rachel Maddow, who dresses comfortably.)

Good for Kevin's buds!

Once upon a time, at some Pagan thingy, I 'defended' the "ess"  on the grounds that it wasn't a diminishment, but something *extra*, at least for priestess vs. priest:  The triple aspect of the (at least capital) E and the two serpents (which have significance in trad Wicca).  But for all the mundane terms, the ess has pretty much gone, and words like mailman have been changed (POLITICAL CORRECTNESS!) to non-gender terms - uh, well, mail people (can't remember the gender neutral term!) have been eliminated entirely (at least here in Canada).  Owell.  (Waitress and waiter still seem to be in currency.)

Moki - lots of leftovers - buttons on sleeve ends from sword days or whatever.  Actually, neckties may be symbolic defence against getting throat cut, but literal danger of getting strangled. 


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