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.

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