ASK Dan: Man Buns, No-Swim Trunks, Dry Trenches

March 26th, 2015


Man Buns

Q: Hey Dan. I’ve been noticing a lot of guys rocking long hair in a “man bun” lately. I sometimes see your photographer Alex wearing one, actually. I think it looks really cool. I’m thinking of growing my hair out to try it…do you think this trend will be over by the time I grow my hair out? What’s the trick to pulling it off?

A: A man bun is a lifestyle. It’s a sort of like casually saying “I can wear my hair like this, because nobody is stopping me”. I usually think outdoorsman, artist, or European footballer. If you’re in the corporate world it probably won’t work, and I think that is what man-bunners like about it. As far as it being “trendy”, it’s certainly “in”, but trends are starting and ending every few hours it seems now. If it looks good on you and corresponds with your style, it can be cool – “on trend” or not. The real trick is figuring out how you’re going to handle that in-between grow-out period… Might want to invest in some good headwear.

No-Swim Trunks

Q: Is it acceptable to wear swim trunks as shorts when it’s clear you have no intention of getting wet? I have a pair that I like to wear with a polo on a hot summer day, but I’m worried people will notice the swim suit material and call me out on it.

A: Once the oversized board shorts fad died and guys started wearing shorter, trimmer trunks, the lines between swimwear and casual wear started to blurr. In fact, one of my favorite pairs of swim trunks has a 7″ inseam and is designed just like shorts; with a zipper fly, side adjusters, and trouser pockets (that have grommets for drainage). They’re kind of like these and they’re made to do exactly what you’re asking. So if you have the right pair that isn’t obviously and exclusively made for the beach, I say go for it. They will certainly keep you dry, and you never know when you might want to take a quick dip.

Dry Trenches

Q: With Spring showers around the corner, I’m looking to invest in a quality rain coat – like the cool trenches you’ve been known to wear. My question is, should I spend my whole budget on a good trench, or save enough to buy another coat too, for when it’s not raining? Are trench coats only for the rain?

A: When it comes to classic menswear items, like a good trench coat, I say invest in quality (and fit!) over quantity. You’ll want that trench coat to last, and be built strong enough to withstand the harshest of weather. There’s nothing against wearing trench coats on dry days, it’s still a coat after all. It’s become such a prevalent style that designers, even the experts at Burberry, are now making trench styles that are not meant to be waterproof (from wools, suedes, linens, etc). Remember that building a great wardrobe is a marathon, not a sprint. I say invest long-term (and don’t forget about the tailor) when it comes to pieces that that you know you’ll be wearing long into your older years.

Have a style question? Hit me on our Contact Page.

Thanks, as always, for reading.

Yours in style,

Dan Trepanier


Photography by Alex Crawford.

  • Drew

    Hey, long time reader who doesn’t typically comment, but I have lots of thoughts on the “man bun.”

    I have quite long hair myself, around the length of say Brad Pitt in Troy, and it’s been at this length for about a year now. I often wear my hair in a bun and I also commonly wear it down (probably a 25:75 bun to down ratio).

    First, you’re correct Dan. I love that its anti-corporate and anti-status quo. I originally grew my hair out because I had a short, cropped-on-the-sides with, and that was getting too trendy and I didn’t wanna look like I was trying to fit in, so I grew it out, to fight the status quo. Now long hair is becoming increasingly hip so, o well, whatever. I’m an engineering student, so its certainly fine now, but honestly will likely not be a big deal if I keep it for when I start applying to jobs. Engineering isn’t investment banking, and showing my creative side isn’t bad.

    But here’s the point I think is much more important: whenever someone says “hey nice man bun” or something to the effect, I always thank them and then politely explain that I think just “bun” is more appropriate. I don’t think it’s sexist against me or something; I’m not some sort of MRA, but I do reject our society’s OBSESSION with labeling things as masculine or feminine. It makes sense to call a men’s shirt a men’s shirt. They are cut differently and so it serves a function to label it “men’s.” However, my bun, my hair, is EXACTLY the same as a woman’s hair (if she has long hair). There is no functional or definable difference. It’s just a damn bun, it just happens to be on a man! We don’t call our skin “man skin!” and we don’t call our eyes “man eyes!” so why call my hair a “man bun”? It’s a part of the idea in our society that the worst thing a dude can be is….a woman! It’s the same logic that tells dads to yell at their kids “man up!” and the same logic that tells girls to give up on their math and science dreams (or whatever dreams they have) and to just be pretty, cute little nothings. This, of course, is very bad and must be fought against.

    You talk a lot about being a real gentleman on this site, about how wearing proper clothes can demonstrate that you’re a real gentleman. Well I have a proposition: a real gentleman should fight against sexism and against society’s pressures that force women into traditional “women lives”, away from decision making, away from power, away from money, and away from a happy life.

    Do I think saying “bun” will fix everything? No. But I do think it’s worth thinking about how are words shape our reality, and our words tell boys and girls and men and women where they fall in society, so we should use as much equality as possible.

    Thanks for all the awesome articles and keep up the good work!

    PS yes the growing out stage sucks

  • Nick P.

    For the question on Dry Trenches, I have to agree with Dan on the trench still being a coat. I love my Banana Republic trench coat on a nice spring day, its mid-thigh, so a fairly short cut for a trench but great weight and works for rain (if you don’t mind your legs getting wet).

    As for buying a trench, check thrift and consignment stores. I found a full length (mid calf) London Fog trench with removable liner at one for less than $20. Sure it was a size too big, but that extra bit helps if you are wearing a sport coat/blazer/suit jacket. Plus, at that price, I knew I probably wouldn’t see a trench like it for a long time.

  • cam

    the question about trunks and shorts brings up another debate. should shorts be worn other than at the beach or playing a sport/working out? im curious to what everyone thinks on this topic.

    • TO

      I think so. I wouldn’t be able to survive the summers without them. But then again, I got a bunch of linen pants on sale at the end of last summer in prep for this coming warm season, so possibly I will (but I don’t really see it tbh)

    • Malcolm

      I don’t like wearing shorts to a public establishment… bar, lounge, restaurant, etc. But if I’m going to a friend’s place or a park for a summer bbq, maybe. Probably not but I’m ok with ’em in that setting.

    • Miguel

      I always wear shorts in Summer, I mean I’ve been wearing Jeans and trousers all Fall/Winter long, the legs need to breath but again just picking the right time like Malcolm said is the key.

    • Juan Zara
      • cam

        i guess ill take that this is your stance?

        • Juan Zara

          The first look is a bit out there, and frankly I don’t think there’s much use for such outfit.

          A situation where it’s too hot for even just one layer of clothing from the knee down, but not hot enough for three layers of clothing from the waist up is completely impossible. But everything else is pretty normal in the sultry hell we experience over here in the Boot. And sometimes carry a cotton or linen cardigan with me if I plan to stay out past sunset, as it can get chilly at night.

          Linen pants are great but even they get uncomfortable (they tend to stick to the skin, especially, as you can imagine, if the legs are tapered) in 35+°C, 90% humidity weather, so from mid July to early September shorts are fair game.

    • tommyjohn_45

      I definitely prefer the look of pants, but when it’s 85+ degrees out, having a pair of soaking trousers on is a little nasty… I work in an odd environment, with a mix of creatives, consultants, finance and straight up people who are just out there. Some wear shorts to the office, but I prefer to stick with pants in the workplace. Weekends and after hours when it’s still hot out, shorts are a must though.

      Juan shows a few good examples in that link on how to keep shorts looking sharp.

    • Geezer

      Some people have great legs, I do not. I exclusively wear linen and high twist trousers in the summer (if we in Ontario get one this year).

      My opinion, since you asked — if you have good legs and like shorts, wear them…just not to work, weddings, funerals etc. ;). Pick your spots.

      And now for a bit of humour, how Fran Lebowitz feels about the subject:

      • cam

        it was this article that prompted my question to be honest

        • Lothar

          If you like shorts, wear them. Fran Lebowitz is a grump who doesn’t recognize her own hypocrisy. She doesn’t like shorts because when she was growing up fifty years ago, men didn’t wear them. And yet she wears pants every day, which women didn’t wear a few decades before Fran Lebowitz was born. So if there had been a Fran Lebowitz advising Fran Lebowitz, Fran Lebowitz wouldn’t be wearing pants.

    • AdamE

      As long as shorts are as tailored as your trousers, then they are perfectly acceptable in casual settings… Would I go to a fancy restaurant with them, probably not, that’s where linen trousers come in for summer… I’ve worn shorts to work, and even done the short suit look, but only on really hot days, where i have no important meetings or dealing with anyone from the outside (I have co-workers who literally live in cargo shorts and graphic tees all summer, so even in shorts it’s pretty easy to be more appropriately dressed than many…).

      Certainly a no go for weddings (with the possible exception of a beach wedding, if the groom is also wearing shorts…), funerals, interviews meeting the parents, etc… As for the swim shorts issue, I have shorts, that are not swim trunks, but that are made of quick drying fabrics, that i would wear for swimming, but most of m swim trunks don’t get much use outside of swimming/lying on the beach or poolside

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