Are you trying to drive the men of Britain to distraction? One week you tell us jeans are unacceptable. But the next, you mock Jeremy Paxman for wearing tweed trousers. Just what are we supposed to wear on our lower halves?
Alex, by email
Damn you, Alex. You foiled my dastardly plan to have all the men of Britain walking around as bare-bottomed as the day they were born. And I would have got away with it if it hadn’t been for you, you pesky kid! Wheezy Muttley laugh, wheezy Muttley laugh, wheezy Muttley laugh!
I jest, of course. (Although between us, Alex, you and you alone are always welcome to walk about in a pair of hotpants. Clearly you are a very intelligent man, as proven by your dedication to reading this column and taking its advice to heart. And you know what they say: big brain, nice legs.)
To the first matter, I must confirm that jeans remain absolutely unacceptable, especially on men. I do not wish to waste my precious word count on that already established tenet so I’ll just say that it is a scientific fact – a FACT, I said – that jeans are the Ewan McGregor of the trouser world. Just as no movie has ever been improved by the presence of “our” Ewan – he’s always just, you know, there, looking puppyish, doing nothing – so no man’s appearance has ever been improved by a pair of jeans. Like Ewan, they’re just, you know, there, looking boring and a bit try-hard.
As to my discussion of Jeremy Paxman’s three-piece tweed suit last week, a discussion that, I humbly believe, gave CP Scott tremors of pride from the afterlife, I didn’t exactly – as you claim, Alex – “mock” Paxman. I said he was looking a bit jazzy, which, for the record, is no bad thing in my book. But the real point, Mr Trouser Anxiety, is that I was not talking just about Paxo’s tweed trousers – I was talking about the entire matching ensemble: jacket, waistcoat and trousers. I have explained in previous columns why all of those things (especially waistcoats) are all excellent in themselves – but worn together they are simply ridiculous or de trop, I’d say, were I Miss Piggy (we can all dream).
So to conclude this latest extract from my forthcoming tome, Men and Their Trousers (and Why They All Need to Listen to Me More on this Crucial Subject), I shall restate my position, once more: jeans – bad; khakis – depressing; smart, cleverly coloured trousers – good; tweed and corduroy trousers – excellent.
Stay tuned for further exciting instalments, readers!
Fashion shoots often caption an item “from a selection”, which I assume means “so ridiculously over-priced we dare not print it”. Why so coy?
J Oldeaker, Nuneaton
Your assumption is spot on, but your puzzlement suggests you are clearly not a regular reader of this newspaper. Don’t worry, I won’t hold it against you – as long as you read this column we can be friends. As Miss Piggy (her again) says: “I’m not a feminist, I’m just in it for moi.” Well, I am a feminist but, in all other regards, Piggy and I think as one.
You see, were you a reader of this excellent organ of record then you would be au fait with correspondence from readers of the following stripe that regularly appear on our letters pages, and would then understand the coyness:
“A skirt on your fashion pages for £350?! Who do you think reads your newspaper, Guardian?”
“A dress for £500? Clearly your newspaper is no longer aimed at me so I shall take my custom elsewhere!”
“Why are all the clothes in your fashion shoots so expensive? What’s the point?”
J Oldeaker, you are clearly made of sterner stuff than our usual correspondents. You, for example, know that fashion shoots are not clothing catalogues. You know that no one is urging – nay, insisting – you to buy all the clothes featured; rather, fashion shoots are just giving you something pretty to look at from which you can take inspiration should you so wish, and maybe – as a special treat – buy something, or just look for something similar on the high street. You know that fashion shoots are not bullies, laughing at anyone who cannot be part of their beautiful world – but are, in fact, just fashion shoots, looking purty on the page. And finally, you know, too, that just because one section of a newspaper does not appear to be aimed at you, that does not mean the entire paper has abandoned you, cruelly, coldly. Heck, I work at this paper and it has a whole section dedicated to horse racing. Yet I soldier on.
• Post your questions to Hadley Freeman, Ask Hadley, The Guardian, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Email firstname.lastname@example.org