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Draping a sweater around your shoulders: Yay or nay?

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The question

I'm a Canadian currently living in Paris and I've noticed a lot of men wearing sweaters draped over their shoulders. I remember seeing this look in the eighties, but it seems to have faded in North America. Is it too insouciant a look to wear back home?

The answer

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You are absolutely right to have concerns. Canadian federal law prohibits the knotting of sweater sleeves over the chest, just as it prohibits parting your hair on the right and wearing a red overcoat. Or so the Council on Tim Horton's Masculinity would have it.

In all seriousness, I do have buddies who, though they claim to be sensitive men, would roll their eyes at such a posture. They wouldn't come out and say it was effeminate, but they would be thinking it. However, why should we be afraid of looking like Italians or Spaniards or the inhabitants of any other cathedral-producing, non-hockey-playing nation? Are we going to let our memories of high school bullies constrict our natural style now that we are adults? Let's break out of our frontier mentality and proudly dress like the G8-ers that we are. Drape your sweaters, fluff your pocket squares, wrap your pleated cotton scarves. Canada Customs, despite their best efforts, will have no right to bar you from the country.

Russell Smith's latest novel, Girl Crazy , was recently published. Have a fashion question? E-mail .

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