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Dress The Part: My Three Rules For Fashion Fun This Fall

The author, kneeling in flowered shorts and a yellow bandana.

The author, kneeling in flowered shorts and a yellow bandana.

I read an article yesterday that said something like 81% of men don't know what to wear when getting ready for an event. I reflected on my own habits when dressing myself for different occasions, and came up with three rules that I follow to the letter when decorating my avatar (see Jim Carrey, below, for more on how you don't exist).

That picture at the top of the page (my kind friends are cropped out to help them save face) is of me at a Hawaiian themed formal event during my first year of law school in 2010. Part of me really believed that other people would show up to the event wearing themed outfits. The other 90% of me knew that most of my classmates were aimless eggheads who couldn't stand the sight of blood (which is why they didn't apply to med school), and didn't know what else to do with their lives.

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I kid. I'm one of you. Relax. Please don't leave the page - it will ruin my average reader retention time and I might lose sponsors. Thanks, Jergens!

I heard from a friend after the event that I'd pissed off some of the organizers by showing up in flowery shorts and a bandana. I kind of liked that. Some of those kids were referring to themselves as lawyers two months into a three year degree. Blegh.

I hope you're still with me. I needed to set you up with that little anecdote to help you make an informed decision about whether I'm someone you want to be taking fashion advice from. Here goes.

1. Who Cares?

What is the worst thing that could possibly happen if you show up dressed too formally (or too casually) to an event? I'll tell you. For 5-10 minutes people will say things to you like, "Oh, don't you look fancy tonight," or, "You must be comfortable" (with lots of eye-rolling). After that, nothing. Literally nothing.

People will adjust their limited little world views to integrate your appearance with what is "normal" for them on that particular occasion, and one year, or five years, or ten years later, nobody will even remember. Until you post a picture from that night and write an article insulting their chosen career path.

2. "Forget" Everybody

When I say "forget," I mean it in the way Cee Lo Green did in the censored version of his hit single, "Forget You."

One of my favourite Reddit articles goes into great detail on "forgetting" others and living for yourself. You can check it out here.

Otherwise, I think this rule is self-evident.

3. Do What You Want

You may be catching on to the fact that these rules don't just apply to dressing yourself up for a "Connecticut casual" themed office party with your co-workers.

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You should do what you want, always.* Otherwise, you will come to the end of your life full of regret and empty of experience, and you will die cold and alone as you attempt to dribble a few feeble drops of urine into a bedpan the young nurse brought you after the first time you shit the bed.

Do you, boo. There are no rules, and anyone who feels a way about the length of your skirt, or the cut of your suit, or the colour of your shoes is spending too much time judging others, and not enough time fixing themselves.

Let's recap:

1. Who cares?
2. Fuck everybody.
3. Do what you want.

Now go and be free!


I failed really hard at tying in anything fall-themed, so here's a picture of a pumpkin spiced latte. Thanks, Starbucks!

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*Unless you're a creep, or a member of the Westboro Baptist Church, or worse, in which case you should seek counselling immediately.