‘Big Bang Theory’ and What It Can Tell Us About Menswear

I don’t hate Big Bang Theory. Being a nerd I can respect what CBS is doing in the way of public service announcements for us with this show. I was surprised that it’s the highest rated, non-football, programming of 2012 but unlike Two and A Half Men its popularity does not make my very soul weep.

Having said that, I have no interest in getting to know Sheldon, The Other Guy With The Glasses, That Other Guy, and THIS Guy any better. My interest was DOA to the former Friend‘s soundstage, that’s now been taken over with some token nods to nerd interior design, filled yet again with a laugh track recorded by a flock of wild turkeys, and jokes that don’t bear up to the bright light of morning, much less the walk to the office water cooler.

In addition, all nerdiness aside, each and every man onstage dresses like they’re mid jump into a Chucky Cheese ball pit. What does it say about the current state of menswear that the highest rated, scripted show on TV seems to have an exclusive wardrobe contract with Gymboree?

Sheldon from Big Bang Theory

Sheldon seems permanently changed into his “play clothes.”

Through my 5 minute brush with the program when my aunt had control of the remote, I learned that this dude is named Sheldon. I still don’t know if he’s the focus of the show or anything, but he’s definitely the most ardent and thorough proponent of Large Toddler Style. What says I might spill my Capri Sun on myself better than a bright t shirt over a long sleeve bright t shirt?  Seriously, Shel looks like he should have mittens clipped to the ends of his sleeves just in case he gets fussy in his car seat.

Rajesh from Big Bang Theory

THIS Guy manages to get a few things right while almost never changing his pants

Fair Isle knits and collared shirts almost qualify THIS Guy for style puberty, but the fact that the Fair Isle looks happen to be in vest form, and the unfortunate late addition of track jackets and/or hoodies, send him back to the pre-pre-tween time out chair. Also, on closer inspection, did you notice that these guys all seem to share, like, two pairs of pants communally? After all, what large toddler kit would be complete without hand-me-downs?

Howard from Big Bang Theory

The Yet Other Guy changes his pants but really needs to change everything

Yes, That Other Guy does rock the vintage, but the retina wilting colors he puts together and the lady-at-liberal-arts-college haircut just mean that his big baby style came 30 years before the rest of these guys.

Leonard from Big Bang Theory

The Guy With Glasses also seems very trouser monogamous and normally looks like he’s dressed to sleep on an airplane

The Guy With Glasses forms my mom’s mental image of what a hipster looks like. This is due mainly to the window display team at Urban Outfitters, but I think the generally accepted equation goes something like: ironic tee+hoodie+vaugely militay jacket+black framed glasses=Brooklyn or Portland based graphic designer/drummer/barista/Etsy magnate. I would argue that all that actually adds up to is “freshly middle aged dude who lives near an Urban Outfitters and thinks that shopping the sale section is the first step to getting him laid at the New Order reunion tour.” But really, hipster vs. hipster in mid-life crisis; we’re splitting hairs here.

In conclusion, what all this says about menswear is that it seems to be generally accepted that men in their late 20s and early 30s dress like toddler slackers. A very sorry state of things indeed, BUT that leaves the field wide open for the rest of us that actually own and know how to operate a neck tie.

Evan Widhu is a Men’s Wear Buyer in New York. He thinks Osh Kosh’s Spring Summer ’13 line will really up the ante for the Big Bang Guys.

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