13 Menswear Myths That GQ Wants You To Believe

The fashion world is a weird place. If you believe everything you see in GQ, Esquire and the like, there’s a good chance you’ll end up broke and confused.

GQ Style Myths

Personally, I try to avoid these major media outlets. Instead, I follow people who offer practical advice to which I can actually relate.

See Also: Top 50 Blogs Every Man Should Know About

But it’s almost impossible to ignore sites like GQ because they’re everywhere, especially if you spend anytime on social media.

In an effort quell the tide of ever-changing, subpar advice, here’s a short list of style myths you should totally ignore.

Myth #1: Everything you wear should be one size too small

As a shorter guy, I’m all about wearing clothes that fit. If my clothes don’t fit, I look like a little kid playing dress up.

But fit ≠ tight. In fact, depending on your body type, slim fit isn’t always the best option. And super tight clothes certainly aren’t comfortable.

Just look at these guys:

I’d like to see these dudes climb a flight of stairs or bend over to tie their shoes without bursting a seam!

Myth #2: It’s completely normal to pay hundreds for a t-shirt

You can pay whatever you want for clothes. These days, we can get t-shirts for $7 or $700. The crazy thing is, you’re often paying more for the label, not the craftsmanship or fabric quality.

325 dollar t-shirt

This $325 Dolce & Gabbana shirt probably cost $10 to make. (Source)

I own a couple of $40-50 t-shirts, and they’re really nice. But there’s no way I would drop $100+ on a plain white t-shirt just because some hot shot designer’s name is on the tag.

Myth #3: David Beckham is the most stylish man on the planet

He’s definitely a well-dressed man, but when you’re six feet tall and built like a fitness model, it’s not that hard to put together a great outfit.

Myth #4: Socks are evil

When did socks go out of style? We all know that there are certain types of shoes that aren’t meant to be worn with socks – like boat shoes – but I think this trend has gone a little too far.

I blame GQ:

GQ Sockless

Source 1 2

I can understand going sockless with loafers or even certain bluchers, but ankle boots? Black Oxfords? Double monks??

Come on. This looks weird, it’s uncomfortable, and it smells bad.

The good news is, you don’t have to do it. I certainly won’t!

Myth #5: You need to be stylish when you’re working out

GQ gym style

Want to look good at the gym? You’ll need a $1,295 topcoat and $165 sweatpants, according to GQ. (Source)

There are only two things that matter when you’re exercising: safety and comfort. If you’re safe and comfortable, and you can still manage to look good, that’s awesome!

But don’t fret about looking like a magazine spread at the gym. That’s not what you’re there for.

Myth: #6: You should try to dress like celebrities

The thing is, many celebrities can’t even dress themselves. Sure, they look great in GQ photo shoots, but that’s because professional menswear stylists handpicked every detail of their outfit.

Take Bradley Cooper, for example. He always looks amazing on the red carpet and in the pages of GQ, but here’s how he dresses in real life.

Plus, GQ’s analysis of celebrity getups are often plain wrong. For example, one GQ writer claims that Tom Hardy knows how to wear a double-breasted suit.

She praises his haircut (which is a mess) and skinny tie (which is too narrow for that jacket).

Tom Hardy double-breasted suit

Notice how both men have their bottom buttons fastened… (Source)

She doesn’t mention the fact that his jacket sleeves and trousers need to be shortened – basic alterations that shouldn’t be ignored.

I’m a fan of Tom Hardy’s work, but this outfit proves that he does not, in fact, know how to wear a double-breasted suit.

Don’t believe everything you read on the internet.

Myth #7: Wearing sneakers with a suit is a good look

The vast majority of men shouldn’t wear sneakers with a suit. It’s a mismatched look that’s almost never appropriate – no matter what GQ would have us believe.

In my opinion, very few men can pull this off. And, even if you can pull it off, when would you want to?

Just say no to this trend.

Myth #8: Ryan Gosling is the second most stylish man on the planet

See myth #3.

Myth #9: You need to buy more stuff

Most men don’t love shopping, and most people own too much stuff. You don’t need to keep buying clothes. It’s possible to build a complete wardrobe and be done shopping for a long time.

If you’ve thumbed through an actual print edition of GQ recently, you’ve probably noticed that every other page is an advertisement.

Even their website “articles” promote ongoing consumerism.

Do we really need more stuff in our lives? Will buying 25 pairs of sneakers make us happier? Probably not.

Myth #10: This is cool

Or this, or this or this.

Myth #11: You should pay attention to fashion shows

There’s a whole industry that pretty much decides which trends (colors, patterns, fits, pieces, etc.) will be cool next year or even 2-3 years from now.

They gather at events like London Fashion Week to share ideas and do business, and it’s a world that most people (myself included) simply don’t understand.

Believe it or not, some of the crazy stuff you see on the runway eventually ends up at your local department store. But that doesn’t mean you should try to emulate what you see at these shows.

Unless you work in the industry or really want to be ahead of trend, you can feel free to ignore the fashion world entirely.

Myth #12: Everyone should wear Yeezys (or anything else created by Kanye West)

I’m not sure why, but GQ is obsessed with Kanye West. I mean obsessed.

Maybe I’m missing something, but “Yeezys” just aren’t apealling, and I’m pretty sure they’re going to look totally ridiculous in a few years.

Don’t get me wrong: I consider Kanye to be a creative genius, and I enjoy some of his music. But I’m not going to buy his sneakers, and I think GQ should give the Kanye worship a break.

Myth #13: Fashion and style are the same thing

What’s the difference between fashion and style? One of my favorite websites, Dappered, has an awesome explanation:

Fashion is temporary and expensive. Style is timeless and affordable.

I think giant media companies like GQ promote fashion over style 90% of the time. I think they’re pushing men to spend a lot of money chasing trends.

This isn’t a good strategy because it can only lead to debt, confusion and insecurity (a feeling of never having enough or being good enough).

As my buddy Barron says, f#%k fashion. Let’s focus on style by:

If you focus on these things and avoid getting distracted by trendy, fleeting advice, you’ll be stylish and confident for life.

Do you agree? Have anything to add? Leave a comment!

Comments

  1. Brock: This has got to be one of your best ever, and argued from the heart. I’ve turned away from GQ and other similar magazines because they never ever stop plugging expensive clothes, much of it not very good looking, and show no judgment whatsoever about which fashion trends might be worth following and which are laughable on their face. Just buy it. And thanks for pointing out their Kanye West obsession. So often the cheap T-shirt looks better than their $350 versions! Next thing, let’s go after those people at the New York Times and elsewhere who regularly proclaim that androgyny is the coming thing in male fashion, which it never is. Dang! Many thanks for this terrific post. Paul

  2. Now someone finally clears it about socks. How can one be a man when he can’t dress like a decent one. Thank you Brock. The new email format is really nice by the way.

  3. When it comes to a shorter man, a lot of the looks prescribed by GQ are often designed for the taller man. For example the whole rolled-up-pants-with-no-socks makes a short guy look even shorter. Like most fashion magazines, their revenue comes from advertising so they keep pushing their advertisers’ products.

  4. Jason (UK) says:

    Some really good points – fortunately Kanye doesn’t get much coverage in the UK edition but I totally agree with you about how they tend to promote the more expensive ‘labels’ but they have started with promoting some of the Uniqlo brand too which is much more competitively priced and they offer in house alerations. I read a lot of articles of yours and also from realmenrealstyle – I think that you make some really good comments and find alot of your articles useful (I’m 5’11”). Keep up the good work !

    • True, they have started promoting some more affordable brands like Uniqlo. I’m a big fan of RMRS too… glad to hear some of my tips are working for a taller guy as well!

  5. paddy10tellys says:

    Amen to (all of) that, brother. The fashion industry says what suits it to say. Fashion consumers are co-dependent, relying on bullshit to complete themselves. Bullshit is a greater enemy of truth than lies.

  6. Joe Carter says:

    Possibly your best post EVER! At 5’6″ and chunky, I’ve never fit the GQ fashion mold. And thankfully, I’ve never been stupid enough or rich enough to waste several hundred dollars on a single piece of clothing, such as a t-shirt. I admit I’ve wasted more than a few dollars discovering the difference between fashion and style (where were your posts 25 years ago?), but I’ve learned to avoid almost everything pushed by GQ, Esquire, etc.

    • Right no. Nothing wrong with spending a little money to learn something. It’s the “buy more now” mentality that irks me. Every purchase should be thoughtful and (hopefully) lasting.

  7. I echo Paul, i.e. one of your best (hell, it IS the best) ever. I’ve always said that I’ll dress in what looks and feels best on ME. I’ll not wear clothing because some “trendsetter” across the ocean says I should.

  8. Definitely one of your best articles, Brock. Love that you provided commentary in a way that was lighthearted but focused.

  9. It seems rare that someone has enough self confidence to buck the popular trends and call it the way it is. Excellent post. I hate seeing guys without socks when they clearly should be wearing them. They’re going to end up wishing those pictures didn’t exist later in life.

    Any of these publications are motivated by money. I get that, but to be biased and not disclose it is misleading at best. You’re really good about disclosing that you get things for free or paid for endorsements but I love that you don’t endorse things you don’t ACTUALLY believe in. It gives you so much more credibility.

    I also love how you pointed out how there is a difference between the runway celebrities and the real life ones.

  10. Benjamín Aguilera says:

    Damn, Brock. You nailed it with this post. Really, fashion sucks. Style, that’s my thing. Thank you for speaking out the truth.

  11. Julien Mériot says:

    I look up on GQ this morning and found an article about Double-breasted Jackets and maybe 10 out of 11 jackets were over 400$. I get that we should pay for quality and I would if I could but the guys who read GQ don’t buy 800$ DBs…

    I think it was on Articles of Style that they said GQ was actually looking for brands before doing a story. When they have an idea, they look for sponsor and who can give the most money, then they do the shoot or story… It’s just sad that it has come to this.

    Thank god we have blogs now! So thank you for this article Brock!

  12. I wish GQ woud promote more practical styling. I don’t have issue with Kanye other than the fact he has little regard for taking his height (5’6″) into consideration with his look. Fashion will always be pushed. What is now classic was once just fashion. Fashion that has staying power becomes classic and therefore stylish.

    Alan Au
    Jimmy Au’s For Men 5’8″ and Under

  13. Simon Miles says:

    I agree, great post. There’s no doubt some items of clothing are worth spending more on, as they can really elevate an otherwise average outfit. I think shoes fall into that category, and perhaps ties. It’s not so easy with casual clothing, but T-shirts? Probably not. Might make for an interesting post for MM.

  14. The fashion industry is very much about the trickle down effect and most that you see in the magazines cater to those with discretionary income for clothes. That’s why there are articles that specifically target “budget” or alternatives to what fashion designers show. Mid-range and lower price point alternatives like Zara, the Gap, H&M, Forever 21 and multi-tiered designer lines are quick to market because they don’t need to “come up” with designs like the elite do. They are very quick to follow and often can within the same season, but not always.

    The D&G t-shirt posted above costs as much to make as any top tier manufacturer, but I am willing to bet the fabric costs more than the manufacturing of the shirt, plus the cost of the brand name itself.

    Alan Au
    Jimmy Au’s for Men 5’8″ and Under

    • Thanks, Alan! Always nice to hear from an industry vet! I would think/hope that the D&G shirt is made from the best cotton money can buy, at that price.

      My question is about the last cost you named (“cost of the brand name itself”). How much do you think that shirt is marked up for retail (cost to produce vs. cost to buy in a store)?

      • Assuming it is entirely made in Italy, it has a special Made in Italy tag and will cost more. Also, the govt charges the highest tariff on apparel goods from Italy, namely 100%. As a basic example, an item costing $50 US$ may retail $100 in Europe, but because of the tax on Italian goods, the item now costs $100 wholesale and will retail now at $200. I cannot say for certain the margin for items because it depends on whether it comes from a stock program or individual orders. I believe the markup is the same. A pair of Gap jeans is still selling above cost at 50% off.

      • Whether high end or low end, the higher the volume, the lower the margin in most cases.

      • After further researching the D&G t-shirt henley, I estimate the shirt cost $30 to make (horn buttons, quality fabric and good workmanship on the button placket, in-house design quality control), so for an international designer brand, I would say about $75 wholesale. In the US, maybe $85 wholesale. Retail $325, but in Europe, retail closer to $250 U$. That shirt is a year old, clearance websites $60-$80. Probably liquidated to those discounter types at cost or lower. Mind you, these are estimates.

  15. Absolutely enjoyed reading this article. GQ sounds more like ‘do this not that’ kind of publisher and generally assume that all men look alike and think alike.

  16. Echo all that has been said here, great post. I actually subscribe to GQ and check it out online a fair amount. Most of what I have learned from them is just about fit and finding what works for me beyond all the ads and over priced clothing. I do think they offer some good advice just as you do here about making sure the fit of whatever you are wearing is impeccable. But I also can’t STAND seeing a t-shirt for hundreds of dollars…seriously? It’s a t-shirt. Thanks for the great content, keep it up!

  17. Brock,

    Concur with the choir here, that was one of the better articles that I’ve read in some time. Really enjoyed it – great, accurate content! Thanks.

  18. nailed it! i always believe in Stylecon Gents (you, alphamale, rmrs, effortless gents, gentleman gazette, etc). I’m asian and 5’7″ btw….

  19. Bravo Sir! Excellent article

  20. Brock – how come I missed this yesterday? This is probably my favorite post of yours so far… just brilliant and very entertaining.

    Readers of GQ have to be very careful when choosing which advice to follow, or their style will suffer, not to mention the stress that comes from trying to keep up with what’s trending according to GQ. It might be wiser to skip it altogether and stick with classic style as an eternal guide on how to dress well as men.

    I believe the world of style bloggers, such as yourself, is giving much better advice than the major outlets and therefore should get more recognition.

    So here’s to you, Brock! Terrific article!

  21. THANK YOU, great article.

  22. Very good job!

  23. And here I had just thrown all of my socks away since I thought that they weren’t stylish. I wish I would have read your article before today. 😉

    Seriously, though, great article.

  24. GQ is for the masses. The masses are driven by consumerism. Thanks to men’s style bloggers like you, more men can find their way and don’t have to mindlessly follow the “leader” in GQ. No one wins except for GQ and the big brands they’re always hyping up. There needs to be an anti-GQ movement. I dug everything about this post. Honest, conversational and concise. Great read, Brock.

    In the end, finding and developing a unique personal style based on timeless looks will always trump trend chasing. As Yves Saint Laurent said, “fashion fades, style is eternal”. Kind of ironic, coming from a brand that pushes trends above all.

  25. Man, could those lapels on that Tom Hardy outfit be any smaller? They look like they are made for an action figure of himself.

  26. Wonder if GQ does this just to see what they can get people to wear.

  27. Perseus Wong says:

    Myth #9: You need to buy more stuff

    I understand the article is targeted at GQ. But this seems contradictory when your blog’s revenue is dependent on generating leads to “buy more stuff” from your advertisers.

    • Most sites are somewhat dependent on ad/sponsor revenue. TMM gets some of its revenue from sponsorships (40-60% depending on the month). It’s not that men shouldn’t ever buy anything.

      I just don’t believe in promoting every single thing that comes out – like every new pair of Kanye shoes that’s slightly different than the last design.

      Any sponsors on this site are super aligned with the audience, and they go through a pretty strict vetting process. 9 out of 10 potential sponsors get turned down, even though they’re willing to pay for the promotion.

  28. Great article. One correction though. I’d say the whole of America is obsessed with Kanye West and not just GQ. Every day my Facebook newsfeed is littered/polluted with posts about him. For those who do not live in the US of A, like me, this fixation is a head-shaker.

  29. carderoclothing says:

    That was a fantastic article and completely true! I don’t know how many of their articles I roll my eyes at or click away from within the first few seconds because of much of what you said.

  30. Good article Brock, I’ve been saying a lot of these things myself for a while. So tell me what you think of this one: GQ says (at the moment) that crew neck sweaters are more on-trend than v-necks, which skew more “suburban dad” than “hip and modern guy.” I might be guilty of believing them on this one…what do you think? I know you probably think v-necks are better on shorter guys since they elongate them a little, but I can’t get that dorky dad image out of my head :p

  31. Great article, for the most pat I agree. GQ to me, has gone down hill in terms of substance and style over the last 10 years. So many people are just obsessed with the latest trend and GQ seems to be marketed towards those people. Unfortunately I think (us) millenials are not helping with this. A lot of millenials like flashy suits and clothing, and unfortunately think this is the same as being stylish. For example, GQ showed (I shudder at the thought) Justin Bieber wearing an atrocious bright pink suit. Fashion is not the same thing as having style, on this we can whole heartedly agree. I kind of disagree with the whole don’t “sneakers with a suit” argument, but that is a debate that has been ongoing in style for a while.

  32. Good article!! Informative!

  33. Don Renollet says:

    hearty amen. GQ has been of NO help to my personal lifestyle transition into dressing better. It’s by and large a mere ‘echo’ of ‘marketing’ forces. Steeply rooted in the sexless, passionless, mechanical subculture where the publishers seem quite happy marketing to a particular ‘type’, though im not quite sure what that type is…i know that type has nothing to do with me my dress or my character. Peace Brock for doing all you do to bring clarity here friend.

  34. This is one your best post.. I can relate so much to the “feeling of never having enough”; despite the fact that i’m always trying to buy clothes that I really like, I’m constantly buying clothes without being satisfied, like something is always missing.. What do you think is wrong ?

    • DL Renollet says:

      Javier. Time to set aside some time to do some soul searching. I know this from personal experience. That will be a step in helping you answer your question. Peace IS possible my friend. Life, experience, connection, music, soul, spirit, and yes…clothing can all be a part of the redemption process. Peace

      • Thank you for your answer, much appreciated, but what do you call “soul searching” ? What am I exactly supposed to do ?

        • DL Renollet says:

          Javier. I wish i could simply give you a list. I often in life have wished that such a list existed! 3 steps to ________. However, those list and “tip” based approaches, fail, i believe because they fail to take into account the sacred individuality that each of us posses. I will get you some guidance however from my own life, which may help you sort out and identify what is missing. In my own case, i have tried to fill the hole in my soul with all manner of what the earth provides. Personally i have come to the conclusion that our soul requires something that one might consider “un-earthly”. mr. CS Lewis (author) once opined that : “If I find in myself desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the only logical explanation is that I was made for another world.
          I have found that specifically something i can do, and take action on today IS to minimize my intake of noise, tv, ideas that are not nourishing. Alter my habits to make time to allow the allow inner waters of my souls to become calm. Perhaps not unlike a small pond,. In doing so, I am able to have a better sense of what my own identity is, of what my priorities REALLY are. You might think of it this way….the more still the “pond”, the smaller the pebble thrown into it (the message) can be heard. These processes I describe, for me, have become part of the art of living. I’m not an expert, I co myself say, more of a journeyman than a master.

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