You’re on Vacation, Not in a Mental Institution – Dress Accordingly

It’s the heart of the good old summertime, and men everywhere have descended on the resort towns, beaches, casinos, and other vacation hot spots. Sadly, many of them are enjoying their leisure time solo – and by solo, we do not mean Han Solo, who was always pretty good at winning the hearts of the ladies.

Oh, you could think about a lot of reasons that you aren’t being bombarded by babes battling for your affections. Perhaps the ladies in question are not inclined toward the opposite sex, or perhaps they’re just plain nuts. But maybe – just maybe – before you pass judgment on them, you should take a quick look in the mirror.

Back in the days before the Slobbification of America took place, men would pack very different attire in their summer vacation valises than what they’d pack for a business trip. Gone would be the blue or gray flannel suit, Oxford-cloth shirts, and wingtips. Instead, the suitcase would contain blazers, Madras shirts, a white dinner jacket, and slacks – including the de rigueur white flannel variety.

Today, the summer suitcase can be much lighter, thanks to a number of cunning, if vile, innovations in the way of men’s attire. However, most of these creations are not worn well by the vast majority of men, who appear dumpy, cheap, and shoddy in them.

First and foremost among the vacation clothing that one should never, ever wear is the tank top. I don’t know exactly why these are called tank tops – perhaps this is what people driving heavy, hot metal tanks during World War II wore, because driving a tank can be a hot, sweaty business. Maybe they’re called tank tops because people who wear them look like the bulging part of water tanks. Or perhaps – and I believe this to be the most likely – they’re called tank tops because one would only really choose to wear such a garment if one was tanked.

By tanked, lest there be any mistake, I mean totally wasted drunk.

When women think of tank tops, they don’t think of NBA stars and guys in the Olympics. No. What women think of when they see a guy in a tank top is Tony Soprano lumbering down the driveway in that ratty old bathrobe to pick up the paper. Or of his nephew Christopher snorting a line of cocaine. If she’s not familiar with the Sopranos, then you can pretty much guess that she’s thinking about that well-known tank top-wearing athlete – Richard Simmons.

A tank top brings out all the worst in the body of any man who is not working out at least six hours a day. ‘Nuff said.

Another Generic Beer in the Great Big Urinal of Bad Fashion is that old staple, the Hawaiian shirt. This statement must be prefaced with the assertion that Hawaiian shirts are acceptable – if you’re in Hawaii. Otherwise, this garment brings to mind the old guys who really, really like Jimmy Buffett, Larry from Three’s Company, and once again, Tony Soprano.

Let’s just cut to the chase – anything that Tony Soprano would wear is not going to be a good choice. So add to your list of no-no’s velour jogging suits, which were another popular item apparel in Tony’s well-padded closet.

I totally understand that Tony Soprano appeared to get a lot of women on that show. To put to rest any confusion on your part, let me reiterate that the Sopranos was a TV show. All of the women won by Tony Soprano were actresses, bound by their contracts to appear to have tender feelings for him. In his case, clothes did not make the man.

Okay, okay, okay. So pack a few tank tops if you must, and even throw in some rubber flip-flops. However, err on the side of class and good taste and pack at least one good suit or jacket and tie, some well-tailored shirts, some stylish ties, and a few pairs of unique designer silver cufflinks.

Cufflinks are an excellent choice of accessory for a guy trying to start a conversation – and maybe more – with the lady of his choice. Because they are unfailingly stylish and proper, said lady will be more likely to sit and chat over a glass of wine – or a big-ass pina colada – with you than if you happened to be wearing a tank top and a pair of elastic-waist shorts.

They also come in many styles, so you’ll find a pair appropriate to whatever locale you happen to be visiting. If you’re in Florida, choose a pair of alligator links, or turtles for the Galapagos, or sharks for Australia. If you’re on a golf trip, pick a pair of cufflinks fashioned like golf balls, or if you’re in Paris, choose some tiny silver Eiffel Tower cufflinks.

The fact is that the number of styles available is really limitless, so expand your horizons – and your chances – by picking up a few pairs, and see how far it gets you.