Sunday, December 13, 2009


I remember how shocked everybody was when Pat Boone, the world's most wholesome and clean-cut singer, tried to recast his image as a bad dude homeboy. Meg Ryan did the same thing. Both were tired of being typecast. Maybe it's a sign of the times.

I'm amazed how many people would answer the question, "Should you go with the look that's right for you?" with a "No." Lots of people deliberately dress in a way they know doesn't match their physique or their personalities.

It's all about image and lifestyle. People dress to conform to a lifestyle or to express their rebellion against a lifestyle. People want to look good, but are willing to accept just plain okay, or even positively bad, if it means they can lead "The Life."

The girl above is a case in point. With her physical type she should probably dress neat and casual like a 70s airline stewardess. It's not a bad look, but instead she goes for an awkward dominatrix feel. Now there's nothing wrong with looking like a dominatrix if you have the face and body for it... but does she? I don't read her as being particularly edgy. She strikes me as someone who'd just doesn't like to be thought of as old-fashioned.

One of the reasons people dress against type is because they're afraid that looking like the detested type will actually cause them to act that way. Maybe they're right. I always act a little like the way I dress. I guess that's why schools insist on uniforms (above). The idea is that if you look neat and studious, then you'll behave that way.

But there's a counter-argument that says you should dress for physical type. There's an intuitive rightness about it. People who do it are often charismatic and envied by other people. Take the girl above: the mod Peter Sellers look isn't right for everybody, but if fits her like a glove. No doubt her personality's had to deform a bit in the Peter Sellers direction, but she looks confident and happy, and you get the feeling that the trade off was worthwhile.

Did this girl (above) change her personality to fit her hair? Who knows? In her case it doesn't matter because she's a perfect physical fit for the Barbi look and when a fit is that perfect, the wearer has no choice but to go with it. Her parents, her friends, other women, kids, people on the street...everyone would have conspired to push her in one direction. People instinctively want you to play the cards you're dealt.

For my part, I truly believe that if you're lucky enough to have a physical type that fits a certain look, then you should commit to that look 100%. If you don't, you'll come off as a person who's not comfortable in his own skin.

If you're a conservative but you look good as a goth or a hip hopper then you should go for it. If you're a liberal but you look good in golf shirts, then that's the look for you. It'll change you a little bit, but you'll be happier, and I don't think really deep convictions are easily changed by the way you dress.


ThomasHjorthaab said...

Hey dude!Great idea with your work on the side of the blog! It's so cool stuff Ed!


Niki said...

This made me realize, I've only seen our current president in suits. Him, Cheney, both presidents Bush, for some reason politicians look pretty good in suits. Or is it the suit looks pretty good on them? Is there a possibility the at some point the clothing takes over a center of attention? I know that can happen if it's pretty bad, but what if it's really that good?

Julian said...

Is the second picture real?

Amanda H. said...

I don't know what my type is. :/

Chris_Garrison said...

Uncle Eddie, I love theories! . . . I think it's probably best to USUALLY dress to match your type, like you say, but to then occasionally break out when you want to shock people and have fun.


Hey, I just took a traditionally-formatted comic I drew and turned it into a scrolly comic. Will you take a look and let me know if you have any theories? Go here:

talkingtj said...

hmmm, good question, i know i look great in casual suits, especially in non traditional colors, kinda like miami vice, that look really works for me except i wear a tie, a matching shirt and socks but i hate it! there was never a time when i dressed up and the ladies didnt notice,i always think its the height, im 6'4,i was even at a funeral for a friend, dressed in a casual suit and the deceased sister hit on me, maybe youre right, maybe i should commit to it.

Oscar Baechler said...

I loved when Emo first came about, and occasionally a fat dude would try to rock the skinny sad-boy jeans. Their spare tires would bubble over their studded belt line, butt cracks flying all over the place.

Jennifer said...

You have a point, Uncle Eddie. A lot of good dressing has to do with your body shape and your face. If there are things about the look that s/he likes, s/he can make adjustments to the look while keeping in line with his/her body shape and face.

For example, I love the Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy looks. Even though I have the height (I'm 5'9"), I don't have the small face, the small bone structure, and the boyish frame to successfully wear the looks. However, I can pull off bolder looks that Audrey or Jackie could never do in a million years. I can still utilize aspects of Audrey and Jackie's looks to suit my figure and face. For example, I'll wear the clean lines, but I'll wear shapes that flatter my figure, and I'll jazz it up with Chanel-style accessories. In the spring and summer, I'll embrace my curves (and inner Marilyn Monroe and Sophia Loren) and wear flirty dresses in bright colors and prints. Lucky for me, I can also pull off ethnic clothing, so I'll sometimes channel a little bit of Doris Duke and wear something exotic like an Indian tunic or a printed dress over trousers.

One look that I know that I can't pull off is the country-club casual look (khaki trousers, golf shirts, bermuda shorts, loose cardigans, turtlenecks). I end up looking like a very butch female golfer wearing things like that.

Dobie said...

I agree with this a lot! lately i've been amassing a huge load of tacky colorful 80's and 90's sweaters from thrift stores and i kept trying to wear them in moderation, switching them in and out with my more "stylish" clothes because i worried that they were over-the-top or unflattering (which they are, undoubtedly...) until i realized something and said to myself "you know, you're just the kind of person who's supposed to wear nothing but tacky sweaters and it's about time you embrace it."

SlashHalen said...

Interesting post, but I think you need to re-word it a little. While reading this post I got the feeling you were saying people only dress out of there type to either fit in or rebel. This isn't always the case.

Let me put it this way. For the sake of argument, lets say I look horrible in a suit and it really goes against my type. But I like it and I think I look good in it. I'm not trying to fit in with anyone and I'm not trying to rebel.

It's not always about fitting in or rebelling, sometimes we just do things because we god damn want to. I don't drink Coca-Cola because all my friends do. I didn't think Inglourious Basterds was the best film of 2009 because a group of people I never met before thought it sucked so I'm gonna go rebel against them.

And the reason that people dress in a way that doesn't match their physique or their personalities is because they don't know or simple don't care.

Unfortunately I don't have the exact quote, but Simon Cowell of American Idol once said that in today's day and age, you simply cannot judge someone on there choice of clothing because there are far too many opinions and it will make you seem like a jerk. I know you're not judging anyone, but I thought it was good to point out.

By the way, if I completely missed the point of the topic, feel free to rub it in my face.

Anonymous said...

The site looks great, Eddie! I'm glad to see your drawings again... it makes me want to go back and reread our old posts!

Re:This post, I just have to say that I miss when nerds actually dressed like nerds. I consider myself a nerd, and I pretty much dress like one, but nowadays the look is so mainstream that I means nothing. Now the "cool" people dress like nerds and the nerds dress like metalheads and neckbeards! And don't even get me started on the degradation of "emo" into "the scene" look. Ughh....

I like someone like Janeane Garofalo who mixes different styles togther, from punk to "90s alternative" to 60s rockabilly into a unique look. She

But what about when your personality is 5 or contradictory things? And what about music scenes like "youth crew" in the 80s where the hardcore punk kids started dressing very clean cut and preppy to rebel against the conventional punks? This is hard to theorize on!

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Julian: Yep.

Thomas: Thanks!!!!

Niki: Interesting. I wonder...

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Jennifer: I had to look up Doris Duke because I didn't recognize the name. What an interesting person! I wish I'd seen the "Bernard and Doris" HBO movie.

About the flirty dresses sounds right. And if you look good in ethnic clothes too, then you've found your style.

Chris: Nice comic strip! It's better than most of the strips in my local paper!

Talking, Dobie: Sometimes other people are a better judge of what looks good on you. People on this site told me the Max Fleischer in a suit look was what worked for me, and I've been thinking about it ever since.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Jorge: Interesting! I have the same problem. If I could afford it, I'd dress a bunch of different ways, according to my mood. The problem is, nobody makes exciting clothes for middle-aged guys. Of course, they probably would if they could. It's a tough design problem.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

Jorghe: Come to think of it, I don't think the eclectic Janeane Garfolo look is right for you. It's too hard to get girls if you dress like that. Why don't you post a couple of pictures that are really honest, not trying to be flattering depictions, so I can what you look like?

Jack G. said...

I wouldn't know what "type" of clothing looks good on me to save my life.

I tend to dress practical/cofortable. Jeans, sneakers, short-sleeve shirt with a flannel shirt thrown over when I'm cold.

I can't put the effort into following fashion. What's cool today, looks absolutely goofy in 10-20 years time. Just look at old pictures of yourself.

Brubaker said...


Just wondering. What do you think about film collecting? By that, I mean collecting old movies on film format, usually 16mm.

Lately I've been building up a collection of theatrical cartoons on 16mm, most with original titles with little to no fading. Since theatrical cartoons were meant to be projected, it's nice that I can replicate the viewing experience of theater audiences from the decades past.

Any opinion on that? Viewing films projected vs. on TV? Cartoons in particular?

Anonymous said...

Actually, when I said I like the Janeane Garofalo look, I meant on girls. I already like the way I dress. But I don't want to post my picture online.

Austin Papageorge said...

"If you're a conservative but you look good as a goth or a hip hopper then you should go for it."

I know this post is a little old, but this part reminds me of a Sean Hannity caller who called up and said that she was a conservative despite having dyed hair and a liking for Green Day's "American Idiot".