Skip to main content

What Men Should Carry: Real, Useful Fashion Advice for Men

What Men Should Carry

In the 1950s, men's fashion was pretty straightforward. There were certain things men wore or carried without question. They carried a handkerchief or pocket square, wore a hat, and dressed up for work.

These days, many of us wear jeans and t-shirts, and if we wear a button-down shirt, we're lucky if we can be bothered to tuck it in. (Ah, the joys of owning your own business and being old enough to dress yourself). And the only hat I wear is a baseball cap on special occasions.

However, I would never carry a handkerchief, since the last thing I want to put back in my pocket is my own snot.

But I think as men, we've sunk a little low in our accessories and what we "must" carry, when people write articles like the one I found on the Beauty & Style blog entitled, "5 Accessories Every Man Should Carry."

(For the record, I do not read blogs about beauty and style. This one was forwarded to me.)

The article lists the five accessories every man over the age of 18 should carry. Most of these "things a man should wear" articles are written with the same seriousness and gravitas that our fathers had when they shared with us their own List of Important Things Every Man Should Do: Shave every day. Always wear a belt. Remove your hat when you enter a building, especially a church.

Not this article. It had about as much seriousness and gravitas as a senior prom. The advice given was either insulting to men everywhere, or today's young men have as much common sense as an empty hat.

Item number one on the list is the wallet. Your wallet is important, says the author. Your wallet is crucial, we're told.

"If you have forgotten your wallet, then you are missing a crucial possession," the author had the temerity to put into print.

This is about as profound as Brooke Shields' famous quote, "If you're killed, you've lost a very important part of your life."

Men know not to forget their wallets. We'll leave home without our pants before we leave without our wallet.

That's not all. Item number three on the cavalcade of useless advice: the pen. You should carry one, says the article, because pens perform some pretty important, life-changing functions, like. . .

"(Pens) are convenient for noting a phone number or signing a receipt."

Really? Noting a phone number? You're trying to give sage advice on some of the basic necessities of manliness, and the best you've got is pens are convenient for noting a phone number?

You know what else is great for noting a phone number?

A phone.

And since that's number five on the list of men's must haves, and considering that 95% of the people in this country carry mobile phones, you don't need a pen. (Never mind that the "carry a phone" advice is about as useful as "if you have forgotten your wallet, then you are missing a crucial possession.")

With my phone, I can tap your phone number into my contacts list, call your number so it's in my call history, or even snap a photo of your business card, because every phone in this country has a freaking camera in it.

Noting phone numbers is one of the dumbest reasons to tell men to carry a pen. Especially since our wives no longer allow us to get phone numbers from strange women. That's what email is for.

Instead of something shallow and pedantic like phone number notery, tell us they're great for signing contracts, recording important thoughts, or sketching business ideas on cocktail napkins.

A pen should be a source of pride. It needs to be a serious pen that has some heft to it. It needs to cost more than a dollar. And it needs to be used for loftier, more noble things than scribbling down random phone numbers.

Phones and wallets notwithstanding, there are certain things every man should carry or know how to do: Know how to tie a tie, even if it's a four-in-hand knot. Never wear a tie tack. Always own two or more belts. Keep your shoes polished and shined. Own at least one $30 pen in your life. Know how to iron your own shirts and sew your own buttons. Never wear a baseball cap backward and then shield your eyes with your hand.

And never, under any circumstances, carry a man purse. You may carry a backpack, a briefcase, a messenger bag, or a satchel.

But if you carry a man purse, then you are missing a crucial possession.

My book, Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself (affiliate link), is available on, as well as at Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstores. I wrote it with my good friend, Kyle Lacy.

My NEW book, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide to Social Media Marketing is also out. You can get it from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million in October, or get it for the Kindle or Nook.

Like this post? Leave a comment, Digg it, or Stumble it.


  1. Ohhhh, you are brilliant. Reposting this on our Screw You fb page!

  2. I forget my wallet on a semi-regular basis. Also lost it recently and luckily had it returned a few days later by the Fishers police. :-)

  3. Dave,

    But you at least understand that you should carry a wallet, right? You don't need a blog post to tell you that you need one, right?

  4. It is interesting that someone actually wrote this...too funny!

  5. As John Cusack illustrated in Grosse Pointe Blank, a pen is also a wonderful device for dispatching hired assassins by stabbing in the jugular. That's the only reason I ever carry a pen.


Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I am accepting comments from people with Google accounts to cut down on spam.
Otherwise, spam comments will be deleted with malicious glee.

Popular posts from this blog

AYFKMWTS?! FBI Creates 88 Page Twitter Slang Guide


Did you get that? It's an acronym. Web slang. It's how all the teens and young people are texting with their tweeters and Facer-books on their cellular doodads.

It stands for "The FBI has created an eighty-eight page Twitter slang dictionary."

See, you would have known that if you had the FBI's 88 page Twitter slang dictionary.

Eighty-eight pages! Of slang! AYFKMWTS?! (Are you f***ing kidding me with this s***?! That's actually how they spell it in the guide, asterisks and everything. You know, in case the gun-toting agents who catch mobsters and international terrorists get offended by salty language.)

I didn't even know there were 88 Twitter acronyms, let alone enough acronyms to fill 88 pieces of paper.

The FBI needs to be good at Twitter because they're reading everyone's tweets to see if anyone is planning any illegal activities. Because that's what terrorists do — plan their terroristic activities publicly, as if they were…

Understanding 7 Different Types of Humor

One of my pet peeves is when people say they have a "dry" sense of humor, without actually understanding what it actually means.

"Dry" humor is not just any old type of humor. It's not violent, not off-color, not macabre or dark.

Basically, dry humor is that deadpan style of humor. It's the not-very-funny joke your uncle the cost analysis accountant tells. It's Bob Newhart, Steven Wright, or Jason Bateman in Arrested Development.

It is not, for the love of GOD, people, the Black Knight scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. I swear, if anyone says Monty Python is "dry humor" is going to get a smack.

Here are some other types of comedy you may have heard and are just tossing around, willy-nilly.

Farce: Exaggerated comedy. Characters in a farce get themselves in an unlikely or improbable situation that takes a lot of footwork and fast talking to get out of. The play "The Foreigner" is an example of a farce, as are many of the Jeeves &…

What Are They Thinking? The Beloit College Mindset List

Every year at this time, the staff at Beloit College send out their new student Mindset List as a way to make everyone clutch their chest and feel the cold hand of death.

This list was originally created and shared with their faculty each year, so the faculty would understand what some of their own cultural touchstones might mean, or not mean, to the incoming freshmen. They also wanted the freshmen to know it was not cool to refer to '80s music as "Oldies."

This year's incoming Beloit freshmen are typically 18 years old, born in 1999. John F. Kennedy Jr. died that year, as did Stanley Kubrick and Gene Siskel. And so did my hope for a society that sought artistic and intellectual pursuits for the betterment of all humanity. Although it may have actually died when I heard about this year's Emoji Movie.

Before I throw my hands up in despair, here are a few items from the Mindset list for the class of 2021.

They're the last class to be born in the 1900s, and are t…