I have been reading with much interest Helen’s recent articles and follow-up correspondence on a more stylish approach to ladies’ fashions when made up in our favourite materials, and ‘more power to her elbow’ in getting the suppliers to adopt her ideas. Even so, there is already quite a selection of elegant styles available to the ladies, not only through the specialist suppliers for dress around the home, but also from the major retail outlets for macs and boots where the manufacurers have recognised that there is a demand for practicality and elegance when wet weather comes.

When it comes to the men’s fashions however, Oh! what a different story!

Not only are the ‘styles’ shown by the specialists much more limited in number, but also very poor in looks so that they are confined to being worn around the home. As far as the retail trade is concerned, not all of us want to look like refugee sewage workers or horse riders who have hitched our nags to the nearest parking meter when visiting town. Am I asking the impossible to be able to walk in the countryside without looking like a T.T. rider whose machine has broken down or one of the Admiral’s Cup crews who has been washed fifty miles inland!

Surely it shouldn’t be too difficult for our favourite materials to be made up into decent styles so that we, like the ladies, can dress practically for wet weather without feeling self-conscious about what we are wearing and perhaps getting looks of envy rather than curiosity. Having spoken in general conversation about glossy macs to several ladies, outside our interests, they have all said that they know that they are a ‘turn-on’ for men and that is one of the reasons why they like wearing them, confirming that dressing to please is a prime reason for wearing what we do. At a more intimate level, showing the available men’s styles to girlfriends they have said that they were generally unattractive and in some cases a definite ‘turn off’.

Given the fact that our favourite materials are widely available for ladies fashions (a reaction by the trade to demand) why is it not possible to buy, for instance, a Burberry style mac in beige, or white rubber or vinyl coated cloth so that it looks stylish and reasonably normal, and yet is practical – not all of us want to look like shiny black Mafiosi? Some of the specialist mac makers supplying our needs also supply the retail trade with ladies macs; why can’t they do the same for men?

As regards our specialist suppliers, why is it that materials like latex and rubberised satin can look so good in ladies styles and yet so disastrous in men’s clothes? Is it because I am a man and find women dressed in these materials more titillating than seeing men in similar garments? I don’t think so. Surely it’s not impossible to design a decent shirt, jacket or pair of trousers, for example, that looks a viable alternative to normal wear without looking a sagging mess of an imitation.

It may be asked why I don’t have these garments made up to my own design. Apart from being that much more expensive, I don’t see why I should pay extra for something that should be right in the first place and is not out of the ordinary as far as style. Why shouldn’t these garments be sewn as well as glued so that they can be worn as normal attire without feeling self-conscious about looking disadvantageously outrageous?

As far as purely rubber and latex garments are concerned I concede that there is an increased possibility of the material tearing at the seams like postage stamps, but as regards the coated materials, if the retail manufacturers can make ladies macs without tearing, why can’t the specialists do likewise.

When it comes to more individual designs, I would have thought that these specialists would be able to give a potential customer what he wants, at a price. Even though many fine examples of their art can be seen decorously portrayed by lovely girls across the pages of Atomage, when it comes to fashions for men, who must inevitably make up the largest proportion of their trade, there is a dirth of original ideas and an apparent lack of interest in giving the customer what he wants.

Surely, I’m not alone in wanting to dress for pleasure in reasonable style, or perhaps our ladies like to see us dressed like sewage workers. I shall be pleased to see what comments are prompted by this letter.

– ACSS18