Ask a real live SFU Gentlewoman

Eleanor T shirt

Q: I recently unearthed an old pair of MC Hammer pants from my youth and I’m itching to wear them again. I’ve been seeing a lot of loose-fitting, casual pants in magazines, so I think I can pull them off, but my girlfriend disagrees. What do you think? Can I make it work?

If you’re ever planning on having sex again, I’d leave the pants at home, or only pull them out if you’re planning on dressing up as MC Hammer for Halloween. They may be roomy and comfortable, and that material (I’m imagining shiny gold, with a diaper-like quality?) may bring all the magpies to the yard, but you know what else is roomy? Sweatpants. And if you want some shine, borrow some of your little sister’s glitter. Your girlfriend (and society) will thank me.

Q: I’ve been trying to dress a bit better for classes, but I have a hard time putting away the hoodies and sweatpants. It’s hard to be stylish at 6:30 a.m. when I’m running out the door for an early lecture! Any advice on how to make an easy and comfortable transition into looking good?

It’s all about materials and fit. You have to find something that will make you feel comfortable, but that something shouldn’t always be fleece-lined and smelling like sweat. Grab some soft cotton button up shirts and casual fitted blazers and pair them with a good pair of jeans. Or throw on a (clean) graphic t-shirt and top it with a blazer or cashmere cardigan. To make it easy for yourself, lay out what you’re going to wear the next day before you go to bed; that way you can just slip them on and slip out the door, even if you’re still half asleep.

Q: I really like accessories and I always see guys in magazines pulling off tie bars or pocket squares or signet rings, but I just can’t seem to make them work. My friends end up teasing me about my newsboy caps or suspenders, and I feel like I stick out, especially on campus. How can I make it work?

Rocking personal style is all about attitude and going with your gut. If you feel good in something (and that something is not MC Hammer pants) then it’s all about being confident, despite your naysaying friends. Check yourself out in the mirror in the morning and tell yourself “I rock this” or “I am a golden god.”

Q: I’m the kind of guy who likes to wear suits to school. I love wearing skinny ties and tweed blazers, but I always feel like people look at me like I’m a professor instead of a student, and sometimes my peers treat me like they think I’m pretentious. How can I make my look say “refined and gentlemanly” rather than “middle-aged paleontologist”?

Mix it up. Tweed blazers are great, but you can’t wear slacks and a tie with them without people assuming you’ve got a phD and an anatomical skeleton in your closet. Try pairing the blazer with some slim black jeans and high-top Converse sneakers. If you’re going to go for the tie, skip the tweed and go for a lighter material instead. A skinny black tie, navy blazer, and dark denim can look gentlemanly and still say “I study literature.”

Q: Going to school on a mountain is hard, especially in the winter. I find I often sacrifice style for warmth, but then I feel unprofessional when confronting my professors, not to mention just plain sloppy. Any advice on staying well-dressed and warm in the chilly months on the mountain?

When it comes to staying warm and stylish, whether you’re on a mountain, waiting for a bus, or just living in an area with harsh climates, there are a few tricks to the trade. For starters, pick the right winter gear — this ultimately comes down to quality, fit, and versatility. Grab a warm winter coat that is going to last through the seasons and won’t look sloppy or out of place. If it doesn’t get too far below zero, a nice wool peacoat (navy or black are classics, and you can play the brooding James Dean or Albert Camus game) should be warm enough, especially with a good wool cowl-neck sweater underneath. Test drive a deep merlot-coloured wool scarf and waterproof black leather boots. You’ll stay warm, plus you’ll be ready to go straight from class to that hot date at the campus pub.