sydney sloth v melbourne style
All across the city this Friday evening, the entire female population of Sydney will be asking themselves the same question they’ve asked every Friday since Captain Cook first spied a shirtless bloke with a spear off the starboard bow at Botany Bay: “why do the men of Sydney not dress as well as their Melbourne counterparts?”
Now, notwithstanding the fact that Bleak City wasn’t even discovered at that stage the point still holds true. Swing a cat down south this weekend and you’ll have flattened three stylish gents before you can say “wow, who knew they even lets cats into these laneway bars?” Do the same in a Sydney boozer and all you’re likely to clobber is a guy in thongs, another in an ill-fitting suit with his “interesting” tie loosened and a third who wouldn’t even be wearing pants if society would allow it. The really sad part is that the women of Sydney seem resigned to this state of affairs if a glance around the clubs and bars of this fair town is any indication. Everywhere you look, row after row of beautiful, fashionable and frankly hot women in heels they might literally have to die for are tethered to lunkheads who look like a shoe without elastic laces might flummox them, let alone the concept of a shirt with buttons and something called “sleeves”. In fact, for a lot of blokes the very idea of a shirt at any time seems slightly beyond them. I’ve even seen men in shorts and thongs at a funeral that wasn’t for a family pet.
Leaving aside the hipster uniform for a moment, because let’s face it, that look takes about as much effort as dressing like every single person you know if you’re 18-35, the average bloke on the town in Sydney seems to equate making any sort of attempt at sartorial sharpness with a faintly suspicious bent, or what a friend’s mother used to archly call being “a touch theatrical”. Time-honoured code of course for more fondness of your mate’s abs, pecs and glutes than is strictly warranted outside the sanctity of the weights room. You can burnish your blinding teeth, colour and coif your hair in all number of ridiculous styles and spend more on tattoos, steroids and gym memberships than is really necessary for a non-Comanchero and you’re as regular a sport as Warnie, but woe betide the bloke who extends that kind of vanity to what he might actually wear. And if the popular men’s magazines are anything to go by, dropping a small fortune on a pricey watch or phone is a definite to-do but the average chap will still baulk at spending anything beyond what he’s forced to on clothes – especially outside of work and weddings when a cheap nasty suit will generally suffice.
Many cleverer than me have proposed the warmer Sydney weather as a defining factor – as if a few degrees temperature variation can be responsible for such an appalling gap in standards between the two, but I don’t see it. Sure Melbourne might have more of a variety, and certainly more proper cold weather than we do, but that really only explains winter wear; layers and heavy jackets being something Melbournians certainly have more use for, but doesn’t allow for being stylish in anything other than warm clothing – something any man from eight to eighty in the south of Italy would strenuously take issue with. Take a glance at any of the plethora of style blogs today to see how much a part warm weather has always played in the quintessential Italian man’s style – most would never dream of looking anything less than sharp, regardless of the temperature. Surely Sydney men could do worse than take a leaf out of that particular look-book without resorting to the branded beachwear ‘n trainers that pass for most men’s wardrobes all year round – certainly the Melbourne bloke seems to have.
Which brings us back to Sydney’s women. As we men are inherently lazy good-for-nothings no change will come unless our women band together, take the situation in hand, grab it by the balls and threaten to close up shop. So ladies, say “no more!” to baggy arsed jeans, “nuh huh” to his good going out singlet and “bye bye” to Casual Friday Everyday until the drones of Sydney lift their game. If we all pull together maybe one day in Sydney “what are you wearing” may eventually even precede the inevitable and more usual “what do you earn?”