Tuesday, May 21, 2024 May 21, 2024
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The Beautification of the Dallas Male

Handsome is that handsome does. A guide to good grooming and good fashion.

The look is changing, and there’s nothing we can do about it, not even in a city known to cherish tradition and traditional taste. Men are looking in the mirror with greater frequency. They are bathing themselves in perfumed waters, splashing themselves with scents which – only two or three years ago – would have been considered far too sweet and dangerously feminine. It isn’t a question of a new non-conformity, but simply a matter of a different sort of conformity. These are the days when a man can parade like a peacock, strut his stuff, flaunt his body, and still be considered a man.

Is it a brave new world of androgynous tastes in which masculine and feminine blur together? Is it just a fad, and will it be only a short-lived fling? A look through illustrated histories of men’s fashions shows that it’s nothing new for men to adorn themselves with frills, laces and jewels. But it is new for our age and for our city. The question then becomes not why or how but where – where to go to get the goods, to get the right grooming, to assume the new look?

There’s much to choose from in virtually every area – from beards to bath oils. No male has escaped this new narcissism, and in some cases the least likely candidates – jocks, for example – have been the first to assume the new look. Anyway, we are pleased to present you with some options, ways of grooming yourself which fall somewhat outside the common masculine categories. Of course we have not discarded tradition completely. For those men who refuse to budge, we have included the old stand bys, the tried and true styles and establishments that make up in quality what they lack in innovation.

About Faces … and Other Body English

Remember the days when a comb and brush were the only appliances a man needed for good grooming? Time and fashion, indeed, have marched on. Suddenly, tools that pamper, fluff and puff have become necessities. It all probably started with the introduction of the blow-dryer. Now, a flip of the switch can make you look better and feel better thanks to a veritable arsenal of space-age devices.

Don’t assume that all these gadgets are going like gangbusters. Men are still a bit timid at loading up the bathroom counter with grooming accessories. But if you have a certain problem area, some grooming mastermind has an invention waiting for you.

You can pick up a decent blow-dryer almost anywhere. Depending on your hair, you may or may not need one with all those snap-on accessories. Be sure it has adjustable heat settings, as some heads can’t take a full 1000 watts. But a good power gauge is this wattage (1000) as the weaker ones will have you toiling forever. Clairol has come out with a dryer (Son of a Gun) with a portable table stand that allows you both hands for styling. Otherwise, check out what your hairstylist uses, and go from there.

Most hot lather shave systems are about the same, and are face-savers if you shave wet. Single-edged razors are much easier on the skin. Get them cheap at the drugstore, or expensive, in sterl ing silver or gold, at specialty shops The Eltron 660 by Braun ($80) leads the pack in electric shavers that include trimmers. The astronauts took the Monaco wind-up shaver ($15) to the moon with them. And there are other good brands (Remington, Oster) that are good for both shaving and beard trimming.

Kent of London has a comb and brush ensemble for the sideburns, beard and mustache for $8. If you’re thinking a comb is a comb, these are miniature size for getting closer to the problem. Hair picks are a must for keeping your perm in shape.

While sitting under your sunlamp, try a hand massager for the rest of your body (about $50). After that, get out your skin machine for ridding your face of dead skin and grime. If you don’t know what this is, it’s a brushing system (like Remington’s for $22) that wakes up those facial tissues.

There are scalp massagers, water picks for oral hygiene and a wide selection of shower heads you’ve seen pulsate people into celestial bliss on television commercials. There are fingernail buffers, manicure sets from the reasonable to the outlandishly expensive, and tons of exercise machinery to pull and push your body into shape.

Don’t be afraid of losing your masculinity to any of these curling, coddling wonders. Just remember that good grooming begins with a good look in the mirror and a self-evaluation of what you really need. After that, for all this arsenal, the responsibility falls back into two human hands.

The Hair Facts

From the crew-cut to the waist-length coif, the wet look to the dry look, men have tried it all. Only now are men beginning to make real headway with hair care.

You should shampoo your hair whenever it’s dirty, not always daily. A shampoo’s effectiveness depends upon the proper balance of ingredients to fit your hair type. It’s best to avoid that fruitbasket-turnover of choices (from lemons and raspberries to milk and beer) at the drugstore. Get with your stylist for a knowledgable analysis of your locks. He may prescribe something three times as expensive as your herebal delight, but it will be worth it.

The healthiest way to dry your hair is with a cursory towel dry, letting the remaining moisture evaporate. Most people don’t have the time to wait, so dryers are necessary. Don’t overdo it. Some blowers can literally cook an egg.

Since a healthy scalp means healthy hair, scalp treatments are gaining popularity. Standing on your head a few minutes every day does improve scalp circulation. To brush or not to brush remains a controversy. It can help if your scalp and hair are dry since it redistributes the natural oils along the hair shaft.

Hair dressings that come in tubes or gels are mostly out. If you must, use sparingly. Same goes for hair sprays. Either wear it natural or get a better hair cut, one that keeps its line even on a windy day.

You should let your stylist handle just about everything beyond this. He or she should be up on today’s short-cropped look (no sideburns, please), the perm styles, and a variety of other ideas for you to choose from. If it doesn’t work that way, move on. Generally, the best way to find a stylist is by word-of-mouth.

Never, ever try to straighten your hair yourself. It’s dangerous enough for the stylist to try, and the results are often disappointing. If you want to go in the opposite direction by making waves, pay the price for a professional perm and leave the do-it-yourself kits behind. Once highly taboo, perms are now readily acceptable for men. It will add body and fullness to your hair. A great disguise for thinning hair. Most range from $25 to $35.

Baldness (if you’ve got all the rest going right) has become a fashionable look in itself. Like the gray-heads, staying natural is still the best. Since little progress has been made with hair restorers (don’t let those before-and-after advertisements fool you), the only alternative is a cover-up. But please try to live without it.

There is only one foolproof solution to baldness. Accept it. You could shift the emphasis to facial hair. Beards and mustaches can work wonders for a man by strengthening a weak profile, covering blemishes, redirecting the focus of the face or covering a double-chin. Not everyone can grow a, beard or a mustache, because facial skin is more sensitive than the scalp. The only way to find out is to try it.

When you are ready for your first beard trim, go to a professional. It may cost you 10 bucks. But he’s the one who can tell you about proper shaping for your proportions. If you insist on doing it yourself, comb the hair at a right angle to the face and cut. Trim it only when your beard is dry and in its normal shape. Specially-designed trimmers will make the task easier. Same goes for mustaches.

But the right trim is essential, and Fred Summerlin of Highland Park Village Barber Shop is probably the most beard-wise man in town. Trimming everyone from Stanley Marcus (“I got him to grow one instead of shaving his head.”) to a man who travels all the way from Florida for the Summerlin touch, the 55-year-old barber offers this sage advice:

“If you’re going to trim a beard, do it with a razor. It takes about eight weeks to get through the grow-out stage. But keep it trimmed-in a bit while it’s sprouting so it won’t look messy. I use scissors, a razor, a clipper and several other tools. A beard that’s not kept properly can have the same effect as a man wearing a good suit and dirty shoes. You can trim on it yourself here and there. But if you want it to look right, you need to see a barber once every two weeks.”

Since gray hair is in, very little coloring of men’s hair is done today. Don’t do it yourself if you decide to color anyway. The only hair dying that seems well-accepted by men is tinting the eyebrows or mustache to match the shade of the topknot. Eyelash darkening is also becoming very chic. The lashes remain soft but are more definite, and the look lasts about two months. But, for heaven’s sake, never try this by yourself.

The Bottom Line

Grandpa could never have imagined that someday skivvies would go top-drawer as a fashion item. Strings are stylish. Bikinis are booming. Briefs are in business.

Exotic underwear had a brief – so to speak – vogue in the late 1950’s and the mid-1960’s. But the industry was up against the popular assumption that only sissies would succumb to such fri-volity. But by the early 1970’s, the eas-ing of sexual stereotypes got men out of their white boxers and into some of the most untamed undies around.

Colorful shorts are highly fashiona-ble. (Says one color-lover: “I call it ultimate coordination when my underwear complements my outer wear.”) But most well-dressed men are backing off from those leopard-skin prints or star-spangled-banner models. Patterns, except for the very subtle, are out, as un-derstatement is controlling all of men’s fashion.

As to underwear styles, still the most popular in America. Cotton is still the most comfortable fabric, although a lot of nylon is being sold. Stay with the better brands; they’ll cost about $4, but will last longer.

At one time, every underwear counter got into the separates action, offering orange undershirts to match your orange briefs. Don’t be taken in. Undershirts were invented to protect clothing from perspiration and those embarrassing circles. Buy a good anti-perspirant. Undershirts are out. If you insist on wearing them for the sake of warmth, make sure they don’t poke above your shirt neck or show through the arms.

The End of the Gilt Complex

Before approaching that glitter-filled jewelry counter, whisper “less is best” 10 times. Only now are you ready to bedeck your body with precious metals and gems.

Starting at the top, a word about earrings. Don’t unless you absolutely must. If you must, find the tiniest, most simple pierced stud on the market. And really do some soul-searching before you take the plunge.

Moving down to neckwear, the best bet is the simple gold (that’s real gold) chain. Choker lengths have given way to the 20-incher. Pukka shells or any of that artsy-craftsy beach boy junk is out, out, out. Buy all your jewelry with quality in mind. Since it is more tasteful to wear only one necklace at a time, you can afford to purchase your chain at a fine jewelry department. The difference shows.

Bracelet chains are also good, if the links are medium-sized. Please, no more than one per arm. Cuff bands are okay for casual wear, but don’t get too busy with a lot of metal clanking on your arms. Turquoise enjoyed its heyday a couple years ago. Don’t date yourself by hanging onto the trend.

A lot of men believe that a watch is enough hardware for the wrist. The tank watch silhouette, thanks to Carti-er, with the plain leather band, is still the most elegant look. Beware of too much gold, and watch out for those pav-é diamond faces. Keep it slender, trim and quiet. Digital watches, although they are still going great guns, are generally cumbersome and inconvenient.

Assuming that you realize ankle bracelets and other such folly in men’s jewelry have never been stylish, it is now time to talk about those flashy diamond pinky rings. Perhaps if any fashion item epitomizes the garishness of the Texas male, it is this little trinket. If you must bediamond youself, stay understated. The maximum is one ring per hand. Keep it real. And make sure the ring looks like a ring, and not a small ashtray.

Jeweler Richard D. Eiseman says, “Most men like to be on the receiving end of jewelry.” And for bachelors and husbands alike, the hottest fashion in men’s rings is the plain gold band.

Putting on the Dogma (or, Farewell, Pukka Shell)

IN: Over-the-calf hose. Leave the leg-showing to the women.

OUT: Anklets. Just cross your legs and you’ll see why.

IN: Natural leathers. The only way to go in belts and shoes.

OUT: White vinyl anything. Wear it and watch your social life tailspin.

IN: Long-sleeved dress shirts. Absolutely the only way.

OUT: Short-sleeved dress shirts. They may feel cooler, but they definitely aren’t.

IN: Plain-bottomed pants. Elegant with slight flare.

OUT: Wide cuffed pants. Unless you chew bubblegum, please don’t. And bell-bottoms. Leave them to the Merchant Marines

IN: No undershirts. Skin is in.

OUT: White undershirts that show. What’s to brag about?

IN: Velvet dinner jackets. They look as good as they feel.

OUT: Court jester jackets. Loudness for evening is a no-no.

IN: Plain gold chains. The real thing when it comes to elegance.

OUT: Pukka shells. How did they ever get “in”?

IN: Short hair. Clean up your image with the close-cropped look.

OUT: Long hair. The shag is out even in carpets these days. And for a word about long sideburns, see Western wear.

IN: French jeans. Stay away from the frills for leisure times.

OUT: Western wear. How many goat-ropers do you consider well-dressed?

IN: Flat shoes. Footwear has finally come down to earth.

OUT: Platforms. One of the gaudiest trends that ever trampled the turf.

IN: Cashmere sweaters. Just good plain fashion.

OUT: Gimmick sweaters. Looking like a walking snow scene is not terribly chic.

IN: Slender wallets. Or an understated money clip will do.

OUT: Bulging wallets. Money is in, but fat back pockets aren’t.

IN: Jumpsuits. Only in the top lines, only if your body can handle it.

OUT: Leisure suits. The kiss of death.

IN: Soft shoulder construction. Let your suit have a natural silhouette.

OUT: Padding. Who do you think you’re kidding?

IN: Halston cologne. What doesn’t have his name on it these days?

OUT: Musk scents. They leave behind a tell-tale odor.

IN: Nail buffing. Keep even a buff to a minimum shine.

OUT: Nail polish. Leave this waxed-over look to your kitchen floor.

IN: Tight-fitting leather jackets. If you’ve got the form, it’s the sexiest thing going.

OUT: Down-filled ski jackets. Fine for the slopes, but leave them there.

IN: Eyebrow plucking. If it’s done right it will look natural.

OUT: The single brow look. Even men should look like they were endowed with two like everybody else.

IN: Gray hair and baldness. Natural is nice and skin is in.

OUT: Wigs and bleaches. Not only your hairdresser will know for sure.

IN: Pleated pants. Something borrowed … yet something new.

OUT: Hiphuggers. Long overdue at being out, out, out.

Who, What, and Wear: A Guide to Dallas Clothing Stores

Dallas is in the center of the country as far as fashions are concerned, halfway between New York’s formality – where coat and tie is the traditional work requirement – and California’s studied casualness. Some Easterners see this city as the ho-hum home of the $19.95 pale blue leisure suit. But just as many cool West Coasters make jabs at what they see as our particularly stiff mode of dress.

If a vote were taken, perhaps the tally would determine that area clothiers are retaining the conservative feeling. However, during the last five years, enough new places have sprung up to give any man at any taste level a style alternative. Certainly, things are not what they used to be, with Dallas and Fort Worth men plunking down more than $100 million for clothing every year.


Jas. K. Wilson: This middle-of-the-road store is struggling to cope with the change in fashion. For instance, they are holding on to the outdated leisure department, but at least the polyester has been shuttled to the back of the store. This store should keep the conservative clotheshorse contented with a wide selection of medium-priced shirts (like Dior, Gant and Hathaway) and a good variety of business suits that neither offend nor excite.

Woolf Brothers: No matter how staid and true, this staple men’s shop seems to be charting its course to a fresher fashion direction. All the basics are here, from men’s suitings to the expected sportswear department. The new lines (like Jones of New York and AKA) are bringing this store around to a very contemporary feel. Unfortunately, for the time being, the well-dressed male will have to wade through those shiny jersey Nik-Niks for the goodies.

Culwell & Son Varsity Shop: A place which keeps the more cautious college students and alumni – particularly those nostalgic for the Fifties – very happy indeed.

Clyde Campbell: Seems to be a definite “in” for the spiffy fraternity man. Very collegiate, very Glen-Plaid. The superior sportswear department infiltrates the store with a fashionable athletic feel. If you need a rugby shirt, you’ve got ’em here . . . wall-to-wall.

Brooks Brothers: For years, the Brooks salesman came to the Baker or Adolphus, took a room and had his loyal customers flock in, ordering from a sample book. No longer. The two-level store in the First National Bank Tower has almost anything you can get on Madison Avenue. From Brooksgate, offering the contemporary collegiate look (at the store’s taste level) to old-fashioned crew-neck sweaters, penny loafers or rep ties, if Ivy League is your style you needn’t go anywhere else. This establishment tends the Establishment with the conservative classic look of narrow-lapeled suits, button-down shirts, patch-pocket sports coats and the sack suit look. The Brooks Brothers silhouette is singular in its lack of change over the past decades. That’s something you either like … or don’t.


Neiman-Marcus: A distinguished men’s department, noted for its extravagantly expensive Polo line by designer Ralph Lauren. There are, of course, the $500 Oxxford suits and the $100 Oxx-ford slacks. The collegiate shop has been renamed One Up, and the merchandise here is somewhat more contemporary – the pants are tighter, the all-cotton T-shirts can cost $10 or $15. The highlight, though, is Neiman’s marvelous selection of sweaters and expensive casual wear, just the sort of thing that might look good, say, on Harding Lawrence when he’s golfing in Palm Springs. One last but little recognized fact: Neiman’s hat department is a wonder, full of outrageous styles that would look good in Hollywood, to say nothing of Highland Park.

Sanford Sacks: Perhaps the most promising – and most sophisticated – new men’s store to appear in the last 20 years. Sacks was an executive at Neiman’s until he decided to quit and fight the retail wars on his own. He has done well, and that’s mainly due to his uncompromising taste. Not terribly unlike the Polo line, Sacks’ clothes tend to be progressive traditional, Ivy League with a flair. His was the first store in the country (outside New York) to carry Ferragamo men’s shoes. His preferences run towards English tweeds and twills. In spite of the country gentleman atmosphere and personalized service, the approach is hard sell. Still, it all comes together as an encouraging sign for local men’s fashions.

Marvin Brown: Somewhere below Sacks, somewhere above the middle-of-the-road pack. Brown is fairly true to the Dallas conservative, with some slight curves here and there.

The Outfitters: It would be extremely tough to do your shopping at this versatile clothier and come out looking bad. Known as a fashion leader, this shop buys a little ahead of the market, which also means you may not like everything you see. Carrying one of the largest selections of Polo sports, dress and formal wear, The Outfitters also boasts top-line shoe and haberdashery departments. (Umbrella freaks, you’ll love it.)

Haberdashery: The all-time ultimate specialty shop offering merchandise delivery free-of-charge by a uniformed chauffeur in a Rolls-Royce, no less. The suits, ranging from $350 to $490, are Norell or Sussex, and can be fitted in the privacy of your office. There’s wine and backgammon while you browse, all bringing a touch of super-chic at the Quadrangle. An additional novelty is a women’s jewelry selection . . . just in case you want to pick up a little something for the woman in your life while indulging in this ultra-posh entry to the men’s fashion scene.


Kent Shop: For a while the new hot shop in town for the upwardly mobile businessman. Wilder than you might expect, with no real sense of tradition. High-priced European-designed suits in shiny fabrics, contrasting stitching on coats with pinched waists. If you’re looking to be noticed while strolling down the Via Veneto, shop here.

Cuzzens: The big number here seems to be a feel for the kicky – but with good taste. Heavy on the European look, sportswear lovers will go ga-ga over this rather crowded store done in lots of plants and mirrors. Good-looking canvas and leather bags, zippy T-shirts and even French underwear abound here. A great place for a guy wanting to buy either a suit or nattily coordinated casual wear.

Titche’s: You get basically what you’d expect here – a department store men’s shop. There’s tons of stuff to pick from, but be prepared to wade through some polyester, although the supply is diminishing. Welcome surprises include an impressive selection of sports separates in natural fibers, and one of the best-looking and inexpensive (from $2) selections of all-cotton pocket squares in town. If you don’t mind rummaging through lots of racks and stacks, Titche’s offers some of the better medium-priced merchandise around.

Sanger-Harris: Surprisingly, probably the most eclectic men’s clothing store in the city. It’s a hodgepodge, but among the mess you’ll find most major styles. The emphasis seems to be on youth, although there are rows and rows of country club weekend wear. As far as more creative-styled jeans and other such apparel is concerned, Sanger’s has been a step or two ahead of many specialty stores.

Lord & Taylor: One of the real letdowns of this otherwise classy department store is the men’s department. There are designer lines in suits, sports coats, shirts and ties – Cardin and the like – but most of the styling here is ordinary and conventional.


The Gazebo: The best, and for some time now, the only real boutique in Dallas. The men’s side of the store is actually medium-priced, and it’s interesting to note that the movement here in the past couple of years has been away from the extreme – the spirit in which the shop was conceived – to the moderate. There are more three-piece suits sold here than ever before. The mainstay, however, is still the clinging shirts and pants, the expensive T-shirts, the $150 clutch bags and soft leather purses, the Italian and French-looking sweaters, the chic jewelry and the ridiculously tight jumpsuits. The man who formerly looked to The Gazebo for only the kicky, trendy part of his wardrobe is now finding he can discover everything there, from ties to major clothing buys.

Earth Shoes: Dallas’ retail version of this national line is one of the nicest in the country. In addition to selling the funny-looking, comfortable and oddly stylish footwear, the store also carries carefully selected special merchandise – like crazy-patterned argyle socks or beautifully simple canvas bookbags from Denmark. The decor, by the way, is one of the most pleasant.

The Faded Rose: A delight, especially if you like surprises. The clothing here is exclusively used, but all has great style. A dazzling selection of Hawaiian shirts, all kinds of military garb and any number of outfits from bowling leagues, police departments and Cub Scout and Boy Scout patrols. If you’re bored with last year’s dacron-and-wool two-button model, try on one of this shop’s original World War II aviator suits for size.

Army and Navy Company Discount Stores: Always friendly, always funky, always full of the unknown and the inexpensive. It’s fun just to hang around.

Wardrobe Mastery

The question may arise as to how to make what you have in your wardrobe go a little further. Let’s start by doing a wardrobe inventory.

Line up all clothing items in your closet by item and style. For example, bring all of your shirts together. Then categorize them by dress, sport, etc. Then do the same for your other apparel, suits, pants and the like. Move all items you never wear to the rear of your closet. At least they will be lumped together, and could possibly spring back into fashion with the correct coordination.

Check to see what basics you are missing. Every man should have the proverbial dark suit, the staple shirt colorations of light blue, gray, white and/ or ecru, a navy blue blazer and gray and tan slacks.

Begin by buying these basics, keeping in mind that if you purchase quality goods, the items will last a long time. Continue to buy. Don’t stop. Purchase one item – a shirt, a tie, a pocket square, a sweater – some piece of clothing at least once a month. This will allow you what is known as wardrobe rotation, a process of breathing life into your wardrobe by integrating new finds with the old standbys. That blue blazer, you see, won’t look so old with a new shirt or a fresh tie.

While thinking along the lines of old and new, don’t overlook resale shops, such as Re-Threads or Clotheshorse Anonymous, where, with a little cautious searching, one can find the basics at fairly reasonable prices.

Also worth considering is the art of antiquing, which has moved into the men’s clothing scene. The Faded Rose specializes in this new form of chic dressing, providing that extra pair of gray pleats as a smashing combination with that same navy blazer. They also have 1940’s print shirts – along with many more accouterments at wonderfully reasonable prices.

A final word on putting yourself together, better known as the fine art of coordination: Fashion in its color, style, shape, fabrication and design must all work for you . . . your body, your shape, your lifestyle. Be wary of putting busy, screaming patterns together. It’s always better to be quietly and tastefully dressed than to combine patterns and garish colors which create a cacophony of poor taste. Try choosing your attire for the following day before bedtime when you have the next day’s forecast somewhat clear in your head. Mornings are not the time to become a novice fashion coordinator.

Start low-keyed, perhaps by putting together solid colors. Don’t expect to look like a Gentlemen’s Quarterly cover the first day out. This building process takes time as you learn how to make your new-found interest – one that you must accept as an enjoyable but painstaking responsibility – work for you.

Blass Us All

To aid you in knowing your Cardin from your Kaiserman, here’s a guide to the latest men’s designers:

1. Bill Blass: One of the most established names, Blass is known for hiscuts and fabrications that appeal to thefashion-minded conservative. It’s quality stuff.

2. Cacharel: A leading European sportswear designer, Cacharel is a stand-outwhen it comes to simplicity and cleanlines. His tailored silhouette (for theslender body only) will make you dig alittle deeper into your wallet. But thedesign is timeless.

3. Pierre Cardin: The man with whomit all began, Cardin, in all his tremendous popularity, has copped out and become more commercial than any othermen’s designer. At this point, try hiswine. The suits usually aren’t worth it.

4. Oleg Cassini: While he had the most interesting colorations in shirts in the early Seventies, Cassini has moved his emphasis to sportswear. However, in he transition, he has retained those in-;eresting features in casual attire.

5. Bill Kaiserman: Innovative, from rough outerwear to men’s suitings, the man behind the Rafael label gears his design toward the contemporary male. The line is famous for its leather and suede garments, as well as the elegant fit.

6. Ann Kieine, Mark of the Lion: Separates for the 30-ish and older man who has a good eye for coordination. The line is fairly new, but already has gained a noteworthy following.

7. Ralph Lauren: He’s the brainchild behind Polo, from clothing to sportswearto footwear. While the designs may falla bit short when it comes to creativity,the craftsmanship and classic lines stillprevail for a good solid investment.

8. Yves St. Laurent: Perhaps the hottestboutique line in the country, it is fashion at a not so prohibitive price. Thecollection is unbeatable for the youngexecutive out to look fashionable on alimited budget.