Men should make an effort to dress a bit better

Then there came the period of the safari suit, a fever which eventually cleared, before most male office workers settled into a period of middling effort: long pants, a collared shirt, a jacket in winter.

Now, after COVID lockdowns, anything other than pyjamas seems like high fashion. The issue, I repeat, is not the women. They look great. Nor is it the gay men, although, in my experience, sexuality is not an infallible guide to stylishness.

Mainly, though, it’s the straight blokes. It’s the blokes. Would it kill them, when leaving the house, to occasionally wear a pair of long pants? You know, like a big boy?

It’s not only the workplace. The same gender divide exists at the local club or pub. It’s 6pm on a Saturday night and the couples are arriving for a nice night out. The women are beautifully turned out. A colourful dress, an attractive pair of shoes, a bit of lippy to complete the picture. There may even be a handbag that matches the shoes. Next to them, waiting at the club’s welcome counter, stands their beau. He looks like he’s on the way to clean out someone’s septic.

Again, I’m not advocating a return to the past, when clubs would have a lengthy list of “dress rules” at the front door and would deny entry on the smallest of grounds.

I have dark memories of being denied entry to a club in Tamworth in the late 70s, due to my lack of “collared shirt”. At the time, the “grandfather collar” was the rage, and I was momentarily the height of fashion. Did these rural fools know nothing? Oh, how I fumed.

But, again, have we over-corrected? On a recent trip to a south coast club, I noted the dress code for their quite fancy restaurant: “Footwear required. Shirt or singlet must be worn. No offensive clothing”. In other words, you can wear a singlet and thongs, provided the singlet doesn’t say “f… off”.

Personally, I think that’s a fairly low bar.

I know you’ll think I’m being snobby, but one’s fellow diners are part of the décor. Do we need to see everyone’s fat toes, squeezed into a sandy pair of double-pluggers, and the armpit hair, waving in the breeze?

All this reaches its pinnacle when flying on Jetstar, an airline on which it seems illegal to wear proper footwear. I’d hardly be surprised if the captain wandered out in his smart jacket, pilot’s hat and a pair of black thongs.


It’s true you can overdo things. People used to dress for air travel as if they were attending the opera. They’d spend the trip in a state of delirious discomfort for no good reason. Of course, you should dress for comfort.

And, perhaps, I should offer a further excuse for my workmates. Raig Creucassel and his crew start work before dawn, so perhaps that’s not the ideal time to stand umming and ahhing in front of the wardrobe choosing the perfect outfit.

I should also confess I’m not much of a fashion plate myself. I have two pairs of tired daks, a few ten-year-old business shirts and a pair of black leather boots, somewhat scuffed. Some, looking at me, would find me an unlikely advocate for “maintaining standards.”

All the same, a post-lockdown report card is in order. Fellow Australian men! You are gorgeous, you really are. You may, however, be relying too heavily on the appearance of your toes, armpits and knees.

I’ll whisper it. Let’s occasionally leave a little mystery.

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