I am a pop culture fanatic…I worship Gossip Girl and The Hills, I read US and I watch Access Hollywood. Now if you are thinking “how vapid”, I “totally” understand. But…of course I am going to have to disagree. Pop culture is certainly part guilty pleasure and mindless entertainment, but it is also a rich source for style cues, a window to youth mindset and most importantly a more accurate view of what makes America tick. If you are a marketer (for a company or even yourself) and you don’t have your pulse on the finger of pop culture, I promise you are missing the big picture!
Last night I was watching Access Hollywood and I was inspired to write this blog. Actually I was more than inspired; I was compelled! Who is responsible for Billy Bush’s out-of-date and ill-conceived wardrobe? My entire business is predicated on helping people look and feel great in their clothes so I have to wonder, how does any stylist get away with such consistent “Fashion Police” violations?
His ‘fashion don’ts” are numerous, but lets just start with the most obvious. Guys please don’t go stripe happy. Never wear a bold stripe suit with a bolder stripped shirt and yes, a stripped tie. Yikes!!!! First of all, it is just way too much pattern. I am a big fan of subtle pattern mix, such as a soft plaid suit with a micro-check shirt and the right stripe tie. When pattern mixing, keep it subtle and make sure the patterns compliment each other. Don’t ever do the same pattern over and over, like Billy. Also, another good trick if you are going to mix it up is to think about pattern balance. If you want to wear a stronger stripe tie, then make sure your shirt pattern is subtle as in the example above. You can do a stripe tie with a stripe shirt as long as the shirt is a pencil stripe and if you are a bit more fashion forward, go for a plaid tie on a check shirt, but stick to a solid suit. Everything should look harmonious and nothing should fight.
Another reason that too much pattern doesn’t work on him is that he is very short. If you are shorter, the best bet is to limit pattern, as it will cut you and shorten you even more. Solid colors always elongate one’s body. Now, this doesn’t mean you should look boring, so use ties, pocket squares, or a great tie bar to make your style statement. Find something you can own to make yourself unique.
Billy’s next big “don’t” is the beyond dated, “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire”, dark suit, dark shirt, dark tie look for daytime. I love this for evening, when done correctly, but for day it is just way too “Regis Philbin”. He is also fair haired and skinned and the dark colors always look harsh on him. Choose a dark suit, but soften it up with a softer colored shirt. If you just can’t break away from the dark-on-dark look, then simply choose a shirt that still has a lot of color depth and richness so that you still get a bit of tonality but also some contrast. For example, a beautiful French blue in lieu of navy or any kind of royal blue, or a khaki instead of olive or dark brown.
Lastly, Billy's ties, even done right are beyond ugly. Come on guys, you have so many tie choices! Like I said in my RVR Neckwear story, ask for help in the store if you aren't sure. Well, I could just go on and on about this topic, but I think I have given you some good food for thought!
So now, on to how you can give back. Get rid of all of those Billy Bush, Regis Philbin-inspired clothes in your closet and donate to Career Gear, today’s featured charity. Like Bottomless Closet for women, Career Gear has the simple goal of providing appropriate business clothing for under priveleged male job seekers. They have volunteers who help men choose the right clothing for interviews, so don’t worry, they won’t be making the same mistakes that Billy makes. All clothing is appreciated and put to good use. Of course, don’t donate anything that is torn and cannot be mended or that is permanently stained. If your clothes are damaged, a better bet is always the Salvation Army as they cater to providing basic human requirements such as food, shelter and clothing.
Find some time to consume some pop culture and you will benefit (most of the time) from the powerful style statements that today’s celebs shower upon us…. Use these cues to make smart decisions about your wardrobe, then purge yourself of “fashion don’ts” and donate the cast offs to those in need!
Oh, and Billy if you are reading, I am more than happy to help!!!!!!