Category Archives: Fashion


Autumn means different things to different people. For some, it’s a crisp chill in the air, cutting through summer’s humidity. Even in Vermont we have a lot of humidity. I did not escape it when I moved from Alabama, but it’s still not as bad. For others it’s the abhorrent cinnamon sweetness of a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte. Here in Vermont and much of New England, it’s the dreaded season for “leaf peeping” when tourists crowd our roads stopping at random places to take pictures of the leaves. It can actually be quite dangerous because the “leaf peepers” will stop anywhere even if they are blocking traffic. They don’t seem to care. And yet, for a shockingly large number of people, especially gay men, fall, and it continues into winter, is also the time of year for a very specific, very horny delight: gray sweatpants, and the outline of the wearer’s dick they can showcase.

It’s what is lovingly referred to on social media as Gray Sweatpants Season. For the uninitiated, this is the time when the climate finally mellows enough for men to pull those bottoms out from the back of their pajama drawer. Once an innocuous casual pant option, in recent years it’s become linguistic shorthand for the type of person who much prefers peeping peen over the kaleidoscopic colors of autumnal foliage. For those not in the loop, Gray Sweatpants Season is definitely a thing. It has not one but four dick-centric definitions at Urban Dictionary. “Just a Bunch of Hot Guys in Sweatpants to Warm You Up,” reads a headline from Elle magazine. It’s been fetishized to the point that there is a gay porn site called

It’s a titillation unique to our post-athleisure, post–Casual Friday era, where workout clothes are no longer relegated to gyms, but worn proudly in public. Gray Sweatpants Season also speaks to the fact that social media has lifted the curtain on the ways that sex is no longer just an activity for getting off but getting likes and shares, all you need to do is check out Instagram or TikTok to see this trend on full display. According to Twitter’s own statistics, since 2015 there have been more than 1.5 million tweets about Grey Sweatpants Season. According to its data, the conversation peaked in 2016—though, anecdotally, that conversation may have just migrated to platforms like Instagram and TikTok in recent years. But how—and, more importantly, why—did we get here? Why are grey sweats, of all articles of clothing, the unofficial symbol of fall horniness? The most obvious answer is because you can see the outline of the penis in sweatpants, especially gray sweatpants. Other colored sweatpants often hide the visible penis lines (aka VPL in gay slang). Their greatest appeal may be their sexiness is unexpected.

Some people enjoy being exhibitionists while other enjoy being the voyeur. Those who like to show off in their sweatpants gets the plausible deniability that they’re “not showing off.” You see this trend on TikTok a lot. Guys are able to basically tout their OnlyFans site without showing any actual nudity. For those who enjoy watching guys in gray sweatpants, they get the thrill of witnessing something, like a dick, that they’re not supposed to be seeing. People have always fetishized tight clothing. In the Renaissance era, men wore cod pieces. Initially, the item of clothing was meant for modesty, but it became a way for men to advertise their attributes to others signifying their sexual prowess. Henry VIII was apparently famous for his rather large cod pieces.

Sweats, rightfully, have gotten a bad wrap for being shlumpy clothes you wear when you’ve given up and just don’t care. However, there can be something sexy about a guy in sweats. Even if they aren’t gray, it can show off a guy’s assets really well form behind. Sweatpants, which have a current trend of being worn too tight, hug a guy’s backside in a way that accentuates the roundness of their butt. Trust me, as sweatpants season hits, and it gets closer to the end of the semester, guys have a propensity to wear sweatpants around campus more and more when heading to class. Every morning when I open the museum, I see guys heading to class wearing sweatpants that accentuate their butts. It would be one thing if it was always the same guy, but it’s usually different guys. I work on a campus that, if it isn’t, should be well-known for their guys’ butts. They are in great shape and when in uniform, the pants really accentuate the roundness of their behinds.

To add to the sexiness of sweatpants, there’s this very I-just-got-out-of-bed-and-threw-it-on sort of thing that says, “I’m tired of this semester. I want it to be over and done.” The supposed effortless sexuality of sweatpants is part of the appeal. Guys often seem to just pull them on without wearing underwear. I’ll be honest, when I am wearing sweats around the house, I’m not going to wear underwear under them, though I probably would if I went out in public, but young guys don’t often think much about modesty, especially on a college campus. They want to show what they have usually in an effort to get laid. College students are not just here for an education, they are also in college to broaden their horizons and experiment, often that includes sex as well. The more you can do to look attractive, the more you’ll get laid. All you have to witness is guys coming from the gym when the weather is warmer. Their clothing is skimpier and skimpier. When the weather is cooler, the sweatpants come out, and they have a new way to “accentuate the positive.”

Black and Blue

Yesterday when I got dressed, I put on a dark blue shirt, a pair of gray pants, and a navy blue sweater vest. At least I thought it was a navy vest. It was 20 degrees, and it was the first day I’d felt like wearing a sweater. The problem is, I got to work and looked at my sweater in more natural light and realized that it was actually black. So, as soon as I got in my office, I took off the sweater vest. I said something about it to my boss, and he said, “Oh, it’s ok.” I said That it was not ok in my book. He’s straight and has terrible fashion sense. He may be my boss but he rarely dresses like it.

Far too often, I can’t tell the difference between black and blue. Most of the time, I have to compare a piece of clothing that I know for certain if it is either is blue or black. I thought I’d done that yesterday, but apparently, even that didn’t work. Maybe I’ll have to start comparing everything against Isabella. I know for certain that she’s black. Oh well, at least I didn’t wear two different shoes.

Met Gala

The Met Gala is an annual fundraising gala for the benefit of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York City. It is widely regarded as among the most prominent and most exclusive social events in the world. It marks the opening of the Costume Institute’s annual fashion exhibit. Each year’s event celebrates the theme of that year’s Costume Institute exhibition, and the exhibition sets the tone for the formal dress of the night, since guests are expected to choose their fashion to match the theme of the exhibit. The theme for 2021 was “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” and was held on September 13, 2021. The theme not only sets the tone for the annual exhibit, but also for the guests who attempt to dress to uphold the theme of the year, oftentimes causing runs on certain fashion themes among the world’s leading fashion retailers.

The Met Gala was established in 1948 to raise money for the newly founded Costume Institute and mark the opening of its annual exhibit. The first Gala was a midnight dinner and tickets were just $50 (factoring in inflation that would be roughly $567 today, a far cry from the reportedly $30k for a ticket to this years Gala). Each year the event includes a cocktail hour and a formal dinner. During the cocktail hour, guests arrive to walk on the red carpet, tour the year’s special themed exhibition, and be seated before the dinner party that includes entertainment from the preeminent entertainers of the day. This year the headline performer was Justin Bieber. In the past, the performers have been top singers such as Lady Gaga, Cher, and Madonna. Bieber, a Canadian, seems to be a bit off the theme was meant for guests to embody the theme of American style, which they did showcasing styles from flashy, star-spangled ensembles to more discreet nods to Americana motifs.

The costumes are almost always extravagant and range from the ridiculous to the gorgeous. While the red carpet at the Oscars is always a hot topic, the Met Gala is the fashion event of the year. By far, my favorite is another Canadian Shawn Mendes. I’ve never cared for Shawn’s music, but I could certainly look at him all day. He is tall and gorgeous, and he looked stunning in that jacket without a shirt. His shoes were a little odd, but oddities are always expected at the Met Gala. To see more of the looks from Monday’s Met Gala, you can go to Vogue Magazine’s collection of every celebrity look, outfit and dress here. I just prefer to look at Shawn Mendes (preferably without his girlfriend Camila Cabello), which had gay Twitter buzzing yesterday. I mean, just look at that gorgeous smile, not to mention that body.

A side note about Shawn Mendes: He is one of those straight guys that we all wish was actually gay, and though there has always been speculation that he is, in a Snapchat story several years ago, he addressed his sexuality. Mendes said, “First of all, I’m not gay. Second of all, it shouldn’t make a difference if I was or if I wasn’t. The focus should be on the music and not my sexuality.” He has also been quoted as saying, “I just want you guys — before you judge someone on the way they speak or act — I want you guys to think, ‘Hey, maybe I shouldn’t be judging someone’ or ‘Wait, it actually doesn’t even matter. They can do or be or feel however they want to feel.’” As someone who has always been judged by “the way they speak or act,” I respect him for saying this. As for why we all want Shawn to be gay, there are several reasons: he has a great body and smile as I mentioned previously, he seems genuinely nice, has a nice butt (not a great one, but I wouldn’t turn him down because of it), and from my experience, tall slender guys like Mendes always seem to have the largest “equipment,” if you get my drift.

Clothes Make a Man

Shakespeare wrote, “For the apparel oft proclaims the man.” The quote is from a longer speech by Polonius in Act I, Scene 3, of Hamlet. Polonius’s son, Laertes, is about to depart for Paris, and Polonius has some dear parting words for his son. It’s really just a lot of long-winded advice: listen more than you talk, don’t borrow or lend money, don’t be gaudily dressed, and be true to yourself. Shakespeare might have written the idea (apparel oft proclaims the man), but Mark Twain is credited with the much more familiar phrase. Twain wrote, “Clothes make a man.” Although, Twain added, “Naked people have little or no influence on society.” For modern audiences, it’s easy to forget about issues of class in Shakespeare’s famous play. Yet Hamlet is very much concerned with what’s appropriate for certain classes to do. Here, Polonius says that appearances count for a lot. It’s how you can tell someone’s rank and status, and that was important in Shakespeare’s time.

But is it in ours? Do clothes still “proclaim” or “make” us? We might not think so. We don’t have sumptuary laws (laws imposed by rulers to curb the expenditure of the people) anymore, and we aren’t as interested in social class like they were in Shakespeare’s time. If you think we aren’t, think again. We might not have the social ranks, but we certainly invest a lot in what people wear. Designer labels and celebrity stylists make sure we’re always in the know about what’s expensive and what’s not. Advertisements for designer brands always show beautiful people wearing their clothes in an attempt to make us think we will feel just as glamourous in the same clothes. Do you think Abercrombie & Fitch would have become as popular as they did a decade or so ago if it had not been for their suggestive advertisements and their focus on young, fit, and sexy models? Their brand went so far as to only hire people who looked like their models to work in their stores. They called them “brand representatives.” The problem was when their CEO came under fire for proclaiming that his brand is only suitable for “the good-looking, cool kids,” and that there are people who do not belong in his clothes – namely overweight people. A&F has has never regained their previous popularity after these remarks became public.

Perceptions of clothing are actually more far reaching than you might think. Doctors, firefighters, and police officers all wear specific uniforms, so we know exactly who they are in a crowd. Kids with diabetes use medical bracelets to alert people. And a lot of people can find at least one team jersey in their closet to show off their team spirit. So, there you have it. We can tell someone’s job, wealth, favorite team, and even sickness just by looking at him. It turns out clothes do make the man—and woman—even today. Clothes also have a psychological effect on us. It’s been well-established—in the scientific literature and real life—that what we wear affects how others perceive us. Women who wear more masculine clothes to an interview (such as a dress suit) are more likely to be hired. People dressed conservatively are perceived as self-controlled and reliable, while those wearing more daring clothing are viewed as more attractive and individualistic. We’ve recognized these distinctions since childhood—we learn what’s appropriate to wear to school, to interviews, to parties. Even those confined to uniform convey their own unique style in an attempt to change how they are perceived by others. There is a growing field in psychology known as “embodied cognition”—the idea that we think with not only our brains, but with our physical experiences. Including, it seems, the clothes we’re wearing.

Just the other day, I was discussing with my boss what he and I will wear for the opening reception of our new exhibit Friday night. Usually, we each wear a suit, but since it will be outside, we were trying to decide if we should be less formal. I still haven’t decided, but I will probably wear a shirt and tie, and have a suit jacket with me, just in case. I just need to go through my shirts and see what still fits well enough for me to wear a tie. Since I have lost some weight, some of my shirts are way too loose on me, but the determining factor will be how they fit in the neck. I have always had a thick neck, so finding a dress shirt I can wear a tie with can be a challenge at times.

Museum receptions aside, I often dress in clothes that make me feel good. I don’t have a body that looks great in everything, but I wear what makes me feel confident and good. My personal rules for fashion extend to undergarments, shoes, and accessories. Most of the time, no one will ever see what underwear I have on, but they make me feel sexy, whether I actually look sexy in them or not. It’s how they make me feel that is important. The lawyer I used to work for told me that she always wore nice shoes when she’d be in court because women on a jury often noticed another woman’s shoes. That is probably sexist today, but when she went to law school in the 1970s, she was one of only two women in the University of Alabama Law School. She was used to being judged differently from male lawyers. So, I follow her advice and I like to wear a nice pair of shoes that will match my outfit. I don’t mind paying a little extra for a pair of shoes that look good, but they also have to be comfortable.

Maybe it’s shallow of me to care so much about my outward appearance, but I was always taught to take PRIDE in the way I look. Obviously, if I was very strict with myself about this, I would not have a weight problem, but that is a whole other issue. What do you think your sense of fashion says about you? Do you feel better wearing certain clothes? Do you put comfort ahead of fashion?