Mens style and womens style are different in one very important way: we get a lot more credit for looking like we don’t care what we look like. This, you may notice, is something of a dilemma. Doesn’t trying to look like you don’t care what you look like mean you care? Wouldn’t caring a little actually mean you care less than caring enough to look like you don’t care? Doesn’t the very act of reading this mean I’m not stylish? In a word: yes. The goal, the pinnacle of cool, is to look like a haggardly rock-star because you live a rock-star life, to wear a perfectly tailored italian suit because if you didn’t the other old italian men would laugh at you, or, if you’re a young person in Toronto like me, to dress like a thrifting, downtown bum because you really are penniless and have bad taste.
That’s what makes Hank Moody, the tragic protagonist in Showtime’s Californication, a style icon for the ages, a man for all men to look up to. When he wakes up, dirty, depressed, and hung over, he pulls on his dark jeans and a black t-shirt, has a coffee, throws on his boots, leather jacket and sunglasses and steps out the door without care, pretension, or deodorant. Why is this so cool and so stylish? Because Hank Moody only owns dark jeans and black t-shirts so he never puts together an outfit or picks out a pair of shoes. This is fashion nirvana, the kind of cool that only cartoon characters can achieve. I should note that it also helps to be really good looking, fit, wealthy, and drive a Porsch.
Sometimes Hank has to dress up a little. When that’s the case he either wears a casual jacket or a button-up shirt, and they’re always either black or the kind of gray that looks like it used to be black. When Hank dresses up, he wears his black suit, the only suit he owns, even when it’s somewhat inappropriate. It’s a sort of anti-sprezzatura looking like a smart, opinionated, stylish (but not thoughtfully so), well off trainwreck.
Most importantly, he combines some of the things that have have come in and out of fashion but will always be cool for men: boots, jeans, the leather jacket, sunglasses, bedhead, the two-day-beard, swaggar, and not giving a damn. Perhaps only on television can looking this good and caring this little come together. If I can ever care so little that I look that good, I’ll be a happy man.See what I mean? Irresistible!