Why Do Designers Sell Clothing That Doesn't Actually Look Good On Men?

United Colors of Benetton, FW07/08

Why do designers sell clothing that doesn't actually look good on men? Every time I lead a workshop an innocent confused soul asks this question. It makes me want to hold them and tell them it will be okay, but then I look at what they're wearing and the urge to get close to them disappears. So I've decided to dispel this mystery here.

Fashion trends used to be dictated from the top down, meaning clothing designers took their style cues from royalty, the leadership, and upper class. Present day the reverse is true, designers mostly look to the streets to find inspiration. The trouble starts because what looks cool on the guy in street, 18 year old French transfer student, Pierre, who by the age of 19 will decide that he is indeed, destined for figure skating greatness does not also look good on Frank, 45 year old software engineer with no exercise routine to speak of and unlimited access to the vending machine. Take in the example above from this 2008 Benetton fashion spread. Only appropriate if you are going from a cricket match by moped to your eccentric grandmother's tea party. There's only a small percentage of men who could pull this look off and the majority of them are in the cast of Will and Grace.

In short, just because something has been put into retail stores by designers doesn't mean you should wear it. Knowing what cuts, styles, and colors flatter you and staying within those guidelines is your best defense from wasting money on poor fashion choices.