Will buying a leather jacket make it look like I’m having a midlife — crisis?

Male nervousness about style regulations way they affiliate fortysomethings in ​biker jackets with Jeremy Clarkson. Plus, what’s Trump’s definition of ‘feminine participants of workforce dressing like ladies’?

Biker jacket street chic during Milan fashion week last month. Photograph Sipa Rex Shutterstock
Biker jacket side road sublime throughout Milan type week ultimate month. Photograph Sipa Rex Shutterstock

A 43-year-old guy who does now not personal a motorcycle in a leather biker jacket: appropriate or completely retro and the signal of an coming near near midlife disaster?

B, N1

Oh, B! I welcome your query, now not only for me, however for the sake of you and your whole fellow menfolk. The tedious gender stereotype is that ladies obsess over their garments while males simply throw on no matter smells least. As Jerry Seinfeld – a younger up-and-comer who used to be discussed in remaining week’s column and who I’m positive you’ll be listening to extra from – as soon as stated: “Men put on their undies till it completely disintegrates. Men cling on to lingerie till, till each and every person undies molecule is so strained it can slightly retain the homes of a forged. It in reality turns into undies vapour. We don’t even throw it out, we simply open a window and it is going out like dandelion spores.” (My in the past mooted plan to spend the entire of January on my settee gazing Seinfeld has now been prolonged to the entire of the wintry weather.)

Now, a long way be it for me to doubt the knowledge of Seinfeld, or categorical experience in males’s undies, however I in finding that it is males who’re way more nervous about type regulations, and, in particular, breaking them. Women, in my sweepingly generalised revel in, see style as a approach for having a laugh; males see it as a perilous problem fraught with the possibility of humiliation. They have so little religion of their judgment about garments that they think anything else that isn’t denims and a T-shirt or a button-down blouse from Gap will lead to mass shaming and having to put on a pink F (for FASHION) on their brow. Thus, the principles will have to be sought and clung to, like vines throughout a crocodile-infested swamp.

Your considerations about buying a biker jacket are a best instance. You like biker jackets. You need a biker jacket. You have (I’m assuming) the approach to buy one. And but – you doubt your self. Do now not doubt your self, B. Life is made for making oneself satisfied, now not castigating one’s private style. Will a few of your male colleagues carry their eyebrows at your new jacket? Will a few of them make jokes about a “midlife disaster”? Probably, as a result of males are ridiculous, and they’re clinging to this vine that pals leather jackets and fortysomething males with Jeremy Clarkson and psychological breakdowns.

This is foolish. The handiest objective type regulations serve is that if they supply aesthetic – now not ethical – steerage. So, pronouncing double denim appears horrible is a classy guiding principle. But pronouncing “don’t put on leather jackets as a result of that suggests xyz about you” is absurd. (And as for the cultured regulations – those, too, are made to be damaged.)

So sod ’em all. The level about your age, B, isn’t that you simply’re having a midlife disaster, however that you simply’re a giant boy now, and massive boys are sufficiently old to understand what they need to put on and will have to do exactly that. Live a little! And let me inform you one thing a instructor advised me when I used to be 8, and it’s as true about garments as it used to be about My Little Ponies: if somebody teases you about one thing you have got, it simply approach they’re jealous.

I learn lately that Donald Trump stated all feminine individuals of body of workers will have to “get dressed like ladies”. What does this in fact imply?

Sarah, via e mail

What certainly, Sarah, what certainly. There has been a unexpected quantity of communicate in fresh weeks about what it approach to decorate like a lady, and, funnily sufficient, a lot of this communicate has been coming from males. How more or less those menfolk to take a destroy from explaining to us why the Women’s March isn’t the proper of feminism to let us know what, precisely, actual ladies put on. Thank you, males!

As you assert, Sarah, a document final week stated that Trump insists that the ladies fortunate sufficient to paintings for him will have to “get dressed like ladies”. This method, it sounds as if, “taking a look neat and orderly” and feeling “drive to put on clothes”.

This comes comfortably shut at the (stiletto) heels of the joint document, revealed by way of the Women and Equalities and Petitions Committees, that discovered ladies are – nonetheless – being informed to put on top heels and make-up, which is sensible as a result of we all know a lady can’t in all probability do any paintings until she’s half-hobbled and has stabbed herself within the eye a number of occasions with a mascara wand. Various male commentators felt forced to place of their tuppence about how they utterly consider those regulations, which used to be nice as a result of ladies revel in not anything greater than getting recommendations on femininity from blotchy-faced, middle-aged attention-seekers.

Ivanka Trump … ticking all the boxes. Photograph Pawel Dwulit AP
Ivanka Trump … ticking all of the packing containers. Photograph Pawel Dwulit AP

It’s humorous, however those kinds of regulations about how ladies will have to get dressed all the time make me bring to mind one lady in particular: Ivanka Trump. She ticks all of the bins, together with her female clothes, female heels and female hair. She in reality is a sure more or less guy’s ultimate, isn’t she? Funnily sufficient, she doesn’t appear to be ladies’s very best, for the reason that each Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus, two primary US buying groceries centres, introduced final week that they’re losing the First Daughter’s style line reportedly owing to deficient gross sales. But that’s so us, isn’t it, gals? We simply don’t recognise femininity once we see it. Fortunately, there are many males round to set us proper.

Post your inquiries to Hadley Freeman, Ask Hadley, The Guardian, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Email [email protected].

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