Ivory Tower Style
Online discussion forums are like fish colonies - they glisten with activity, attract predators, and have very short memories. Styleforum is no different. I only joined in 2011, so I can’t claim to have experienced the “good old days” as longer tenured members love to do so much. But I have spent a fair amount of time reading threads that predate my membership. The nostalgia for those more innocent times has led to some distortion of what the forum was like back then (mostly there were just more and better inside jokes and snark), but there’s quite a bit of valuable content that has been forgotten. Here are some of my favorite threads from days of yore:
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Sartorial Mythbusting  
Starts off with a discussion on the value of handwork, quickly becomes a technical discussion of tailoring, especially of the Savile Row firm Anderson and Sheppard. Jefferyd stars throughout (side note: a pretty efficient method for finding decent SF threads new and old is just to search through jefferyd’s posts. Also, read his excellent blog). The image I’ve posted above is from his discussion of coat balance here. As an added bonus, you get to hear Film Noir Buff’s views on glory hole clientele, one of his last posts before getting banned.
Navy Hopsack Suit
Mostly valuable for Vox's interesting posts on class in America and its relation to clothing, with Film Noir Buff as a fail foil. There’s also some stuff about hopsack.
Get Foofed

If Styleforum is a fish colony, Mafoofan would be the puffer fish. This post gives you a pretty good idea of how the typical Foo thread goes. But amid all the posturing, Foo also has good taste in clothing and a meticulous attention to detail. The photoshopped “after” pics are actually improvements, in ways that are instructive and generalizable.
Bespoke: The Beginning of the End
RSS, who started this thread, might have more bespoke pieces than any other Styleforum member. The thread includes many prominent members (heh) discussing why they choose to order bespoke clothing, and from which tailor(s).
Kiton - What’s Inside
Unfortunately a lot of these pics are no longer up, but someone cut open a Kiton suit and took pictures of the almost entirely machine-made insides. He meets nuclear-reactor-thick walls of denial as Kiton-lovers insist that the pictures are either a hoax, nothing new, or irrelevant. Six years later, the Kiton marketing pitch hasn’t changed noticeably.
CBD WAYWRN
I can’t make a list of old SF threads and not include a Manton (author of this excellent book) thread. This thread is the more conscientious offspring of Manton’s earlier parody CBD threads, and the ancestor of still-alive-but-on-life-support good taste thread. The typical Manton thread starts with a terrible photograph of him wearing nice clothing, proceeds with scores of Manton groupies posting pictures to face his judgement, and ends dozens of pages of WWMD posts from by these same groupies long after the man himself has abandoned the thread. This thread is no different.   
Critique my Jantzen

Maybe the funniest thread ever on SF.

Online discussion forums are like fish colonies - they glisten with activity, attract predators, and have very short memories. Styleforum is no different. I only joined in 2011, so I can’t claim to have experienced the “good old days” as longer tenured members love to do so much. But I have spent a fair amount of time reading threads that predate my membership. The nostalgia for those more innocent times has led to some distortion of what the forum was like back then (mostly there were just more and better inside jokes and snark), but there’s quite a bit of valuable content that has been forgotten. Here are some of my favorite threads from days of yore:

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pnpfirenze:

A special thanks to David of STYLEFORUM to wrote this great article about us…Please read it and enjoy
http://www.styleforum.net/t/386587/a-visit-to-pn-p-firenze

My story on Styleforum about my visit to PN\P in Florence.

pnpfirenze:

A special thanks to David of STYLEFORUM to wrote this great article about us…
Please read it and enjoy

http://www.styleforum.net/t/386587/a-visit-to-pn-p-firenze

My story on Styleforum about my visit to PN\P in Florence.

Your Online Dating Profile is Boring
I have been resisting writing this post for a while, because 1) I like to pretend I have the shred of self-respect required to prevent oneself from writing blog posts about online dating, and 2) I had assumed there were already hundreds of these types of posts floating around the Internet. Well, apparently whatever is out there already is not yet enough to stem the tide of drowningly dull online dating profiles, because I just read the most boring one yet. 
An online dating profile is a collection of random personal facts that would not be of the slightest interest to someone who did not want to see you naked. Even the best of them are just lists of culture particles hoping to collide with someone else’s list, with inane conversation as a byproduct (“OMG you like the Wire too?!!?”). The worst are those that mean to be clever but are in fact as tired as a plantation mule (“Hahaha I am useless before I have coffee in the morning!” “But you’re also useless after you’ve had coffee…”).
Perhaps we shouldn’t blame the profile authors. The questions on these sites practically beg for insipid responses: “Six things you can’t do without” (“definitely family #1! #soblessed”; “air”), etc etc. The best way to generate an entertaining profile is to ask questions that aren’t personal. It’s the only way to get to know somebody. Personal questions are dangerous because they generate the impression that any fact about someone’s life is intrinsically interesting, which is false. Beautiful women and rich men are the only ones that never discover this. I don’t really care that you’re the youngest of three or that your favorite part of the year is a tie between fall and spring.
My suggestion is to ignore the questions entirely and just talk about something more interesting instead. For example:
"I thought about which six things I couldn’t do without but rescued myself from the brink of suicide by instead thinking about how many french fries could fit in a Volkswagen Beetle. I’m talking about the original design, not the Barbie-besmirched New Beetle 1997 relaunch, nor the fakakta Beetle A5 currently on the market. But I’m going to be filling it with modern-sized french fries. This may seem anachronistic, but finding good data from the 50s on french fry size is difficult, and consider that there are some vintage Beetles out there that could hypothetically be filled with french fries made today…."
And so on. The use of dysfunctional logic and made-up facts is encouraged. But show your work.
Whatever you do, please do not:
Quote Marilyn Monroe. In particular, do not use the quote, “If you can’t take me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best.” I’m looking at you, a third of the women on all dating sites.
Also don’t use this quote: “Maybe some women aren’t meant to be tamed. Maybe they just need to run free until they find someone just as wild to run with them.”
Or this one: “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.” Everyone else may be taken, but they’re also using the same #inspirational quotes as you.
Call yourself a “transplant.” (e.g. “I’m a Cleveland transplant who moved here for law school two years ago…”) 
Look for a “partner in crime” who can “keep up with you.”
Claim you “love to travel” and then just list all the countries you’ve visited. Better to spend a paragraph describing one travel experience and why it was important to you. (“Machu Picchu is so amazing” does not count.)
I don’t know if it matters much. Most people probably only look at the pictures anyway. But if you’re not going to write something worth reading in your profile, you might as well do the rest of us a favor and just leave it blank. My self-respect has now been renounced, but you can still hold on to yours.

Your Online Dating Profile is Boring

I have been resisting writing this post for a while, because 1) I like to pretend I have the shred of self-respect required to prevent oneself from writing blog posts about online dating, and 2) I had assumed there were already hundreds of these types of posts floating around the Internet. Well, apparently whatever is out there already is not yet enough to stem the tide of drowningly dull online dating profiles, because I just read the most boring one yet.

An online dating profile is a collection of random personal facts that would not be of the slightest interest to someone who did not want to see you naked.

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Styleforum member ghostface recently asked the forum why men often feel somewhere between ambivalent and ashamed of their interest in style. He suggests that the uneasiness lies in the potential for clothes to ignore or hide our inner, truer selves, to clear more space for an outer, superficial self. My response draws on some of the ideas I explored in this post - that the division between a true inner self and a pretending superficial self is a false dichotomy, and that clothes are at least as much an opportunity for self-discovery and self-reinvention as self-deceit. I’m bringing this discussion to the blog because I think it’s interesting, because I hope more people will join into the discussion on the forum, and because if I’m doing all this writing I might as well post it as many places as I can. Just be glad I’m not printing up flyers and helicopter-dropping them on Pitti Uomo.
 Ghostface’s most recent response is that even if we don’t have a complete schism between our self and our style, at least there is a tension. Shouldn’t we be worried that we will be satisfied with just looking the part, without developing the character?  It’s true that Superman’s costume is not what makes him Superman. He’s also a fictional character, presented to us by a comic book. The story writers show us the parts of his life that they consider the most engaging and telling of his character. 
I think we have the same right to exercise some editorial control over how our own lives are presented to the people around us. This, to me, is not a lie - it’s a crucial part of faithful storytelling. Imagine everyone around you could read your mind at all times, so that there was no barrier at all between your thoughts and their perception. Do you think this would present the “truest” version of yourself? Every time you were tempted by some awful transgression you would seem a sociopath. Every thrill from a brief consideration of the long fall from bridge to river would make you seem suicidal. Every casual fantasy involving a random stranger makes you a pervert. But are you really any of those things? The fact that I choose to hide these impulses and present a more artful facade is as much a part of who I am as the fact they exist in the first place. How someone wants to be seen is an integral part of who they are. The performance is its own reality.
The human craving for intimacy will remain unsatisfied with this sort of interaction. We want there to be one golden nugget at the center of every soul, and if we can each just peel off all our layers of ore and pyrite, then we can shine together. We are always disappointed. 
I recently read a book called Joe Gould’s Secret, by Joseph Mitchell, whom I consider one of the best ten writers of the 20th century. It’s the true story of a homeless bohemian who claimed to be writing the greatest work of history the world had ever seen, which he called An Oral History of Our Time, supposed to be thousands of pages long. I’m going to give away the ending of the story - Mitchell discovered in the course of knowing and writing about Gould that his great work did not exist. All he had done was write down four or five stories from his life over and over again. Mitchell ruminates after discovering Gould’s secret:

I suddenly felt a surge of genuine respect for Gould. He had declined to stay in Norwood and live out his life as Pee Wee Gould, the town fool. If he had to play the fool, he would do it on a larger stage, before a friendlier audience. He had come to Greenwich Village and had found a mask for himself, and he had put it on and kept it on. The Eccentric Author of a Great, Mysterious, Unpublished Book — that was his mask. And, hiding behind it, he had created a character a good deal more complicated, it seemed to me, than most of the characters created by the novelists and playwrights of his time. I thought of the variety of ways he had seen himself through the years and of the variety of ways others had seen him. There was the way the principal of the school in Norwood had seen him — a disgusting little bastard. There was the way Ezra Pound had seen him — a native hickory. There was the way the know-it-all Village radical had seen him — a reactionary parasite. There were a great many of these aspects, and I began to go over them in my mind. He was the catarrhal child, he was the son who knows that he has disappointed his father, he was the runt, the shrimp, the peanut, the half-pint, the tadpole, he was Joe Gould the poet, he was Joe Gould the historian, he was Joe Gould the wild Chippewa Indian dancer, he was Joe Gould the greatest authority in the world on the language of the sea gull, he was the banished man, eh was the perfect example of the solitary nocturnal wanderer, he was the little rat, he was the one and only member of the Joe Gould Party, he was the house bohemian of the Minetta Tavern, he was the Professor, he was the Sea Gull, he was Professor Sea Gull, he was the Mongoose, he was Professor Mongoose, he was the Bellevue boy.

In a Herculean act of generosity, Mitchell does not confront Gould with what he has discovered. He remembers something Gould wrote in one of his few published articles:

I suffer from delusions of grandeur. I believe that I am Joe Gould.


Here fantasy and identity form a complete union. In some ways Joe Gould is a pathetic character. He has conceived himself entirely as a mirage. It takes a truly stylish person like Mitchell to see the entirety of Joe Gould, and find some level of intimacy with him by sharing his fantasy rather than puncturing it. 

The fear of discovery surely kept Joe Gould from sharing more of his life with friends. Not everyone can be as generous as Joseph Mitchell. But we all have these delusions, even if not on the scale of Joe Gould. If we can allow each other these delusions as a part of who we are, and together form a more perfect fantasy, we might all find more genuine respect for our fellow humans. This seems to me a better solution than asking for the end of delusion.

Styleforum member ghostface recently asked the forum why men often feel somewhere between ambivalent and ashamed of their interest in style. He suggests that the uneasiness lies in the potential for clothes to ignore or hide our inner, truer selves, to clear more space for an outer, superficial self. My response draws on some of the ideas I explored in this post - that the division between a true inner self and a pretending superficial self is a false dichotomy, and that clothes are at least as much an opportunity for self-discovery and self-reinvention as self-deceit. I’m bringing this discussion to the blog because I think it’s interesting, because I hope more people will join into the discussion on the forum, and because if I’m doing all this writing I might as well post it as many places as I can. Just be glad I’m not printing up flyers and helicopter-dropping them on Pitti Uomo.

Ghostface’s most recent response is that even if we don’t have a complete schism between our self and our style, at least there is a tension. Shouldn’t we be worried that we will be satisfied with just looking the part, without developing the character?

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PUTTING TOGETHER A SUIT SILHOUETTE
Bloggers and their readers love lists. I’ve read plenty of lists of the different types of suit silhouettes. There’s British and Italian. No, wait, there’s British and Italian and American. Or maybe British and Continental and Neapolitan and American. Maybe there’s a Milanese look in there somewhere that’s different from the others. This is counterproductive. It’s like trying to learn a language by memorizing every sentence it can produce and the corresponding translation. It’s easier if you understand it in parts. 

So I’ve been trying recently to understand a jacket’s silhouette by breaking it down into its constituent shapes. My project began when I was looking at old Apparel Arts drawings. This silhouette is often referred to as a “drape” cut, although whether that has ever had a precise meaning is a topic of hot debate. In any case, jackets that look like this today are rare. Here’s the look I’m talking about:


Now let’s look at this silhouette in terms of the shapes that comprise it, which is defined as my best attempt at tracing the silhouette with as few shapes as possible:

It’s basically a trapezoid on top of a rectangle.
Here are some things I notice about this silhouette that surprise me, and may surprise you too:
1) The waist isn’t “nipped” much. The shoulders are extended, and the chest full, but once the cloth is gathered together at the waist, the jacket falls almost completely straight from there. I see a lot jackets today that, in an attempt to recreate the trapezoid on top, bring the waist in tighter. Unless the wearer is very fit and trim, with unobtrusive hips and haunches, this means that the jacket will have to extend outward, to create an hourglass shape, rather than the silhouette above.
By contrast, here is a jacket made by Steed, one of the current heirs of the drape cut, on Styleforum member Slewfoot (to be clear, all of the pictures I’m including in this post are of jackets I’d consider well-fitting - these are not “mistakes” just stylistic choices):


2) The waist is not very long. The little bit that the coat has to let out to accommodate the hips is achieved almost immediately after the waist, and the jacket falls completely straight from there. Here is tailor Jeffery Diduch in a coat with a much longer waist:

Here are a couple of real people (OK, one of them’s a royal, but still) wearing suits that I think come closest to the Fellows/Apparel Arts silhouette:

The closest I’ve seen to the Apparel Arts look is the very elegant Andre Churchwell, here in a suit by Leonard Logsdail: 

On both, notice again that the waist is not tight at all. The shape comes from the extension of the shoulders, not pulling in at the waist.

PUTTING TOGETHER A SUIT SILHOUETTE

Bloggers and their readers love lists. I’ve read plenty of lists of the different types of suit silhouettes. There’s British and Italian. No, wait, there’s British and Italian and American. Or maybe British and Continental and Neapolitan and American. Maybe there’s a Milanese look in there somewhere that’s different from the others. This is counterproductive. It’s like trying to learn a language by memorizing every sentence it can produce and the corresponding translation. It’s easier if you understand it in parts. 

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Menswear Store or Strip Club?
Both menswear stores and strip clubs feel the need to disguise their appeals to the vain and pleasure-seeking shoulder devil that whispers into the left ear of every man with a patina of aristocratic decency. Hence such euphemisms as “gentlemen’s club” and “better value in the long run.”
But there are no more gentlemen, only advertisers pandering to men who would like to call themselves gentlemen. As happens often when two sportsmen shoot from opposite sides of a target that does not in fact exists, these advertisers have managed only to ensnare each other, as it is no longer possible for an honorable man to tell apart names of menswear stores from names of strip clubs. 
As proof, I present to you the following 12-item quiz. [[MORE]] Which sell men’s clothing, and which sell female nudity? Answers in links (some obviously NSFW). If you score highly, look into the depths of your soul and consider whether or not as the exception you prove the rule.
Shrine
The Gentleman’s Corner 
The Cloakroom
The Mayfair Club
The Lodge
Hugh and Crye
The Rogue (will even give you a hint on this one by showing you their logo: )
Wish
Sophisticats
Atrium
Sirs
The Factory
And now, pardon me while I spike the ball:
VIP
VIP

Menswear Store or Strip Club?

Both menswear stores and strip clubs feel the need to disguise their appeals to the vain and pleasure-seeking shoulder devil that whispers into the left ear of every man with a patina of aristocratic decency. Hence such euphemisms as “gentlemen’s club” and “better value in the long run.”

But there are no more gentlemen, only advertisers pandering to men who would like to call themselves gentlemen. As happens often when two sportsmen shoot from opposite sides of a target that does not in fact exists, these advertisers have managed only to ensnare each other, as it is no longer possible for an honorable man to tell apart names of menswear stores from names of strip clubs. 

As proof, I present to you the following 12-item quiz.

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COSTUMES AND SECRET IDENTITIES
If only you could love clothes without being a clothes-loving person. Recently some well-meaning and seemingly genuine person asked me why I have become interested in men’s clothing, which is a question that brought me great shame. I hate talking about myself and feel uncomfortable talking about clothing with anyone I don’t already know to be as haunted by it as I am. But I managed to mumble something about clothing’s dual potential for both self-expression and disguise. Which sounded good enough that I have been thinking since about what it means.
I will start with superheroes. As everyone knows, every superhero has a costume and a secret identity. As a matter of semantics, a “costume” refers to the thing that you wear when you’re performing superhuman feats of crimefighting, while the “secret identity” is the persona you project to the outside world when you’re not wearing your costume. But which is the “disguise” and which the “true identity” is never completely clear, and each hero must inevitably invest parts of himself in each. A superhero is inevitably an investigation into fantasy and identity. Let us take as case studies the Great Troika of superheroes: Superman, Spiderman, and Batman.*
Superman begins life as Superman – his struggle is trying to fit in as Clark Kent and fight for the salvation of the damned world that has been thrust upon him without compromising Clark and his adopted family. The most recent Superman movie was really heavy-handed on the Jesus-y stuff (evolution is a bad guy in the movie), but it’s not totally inappropriate to see Superman as a weaponized Jesus. Clark is an extension of this Superman. He is a perfect All-American boy. He’s always really Superman, trying to handicap and hide himself enough to seem human. He is always a phone booth away from shedding his journalistic trappings and becoming his true self, which is not that different from his hidden self anyway. Superman is the most boring superhero. 
Spiderman begins life as Peter Parker, and spends most of his history convincing himself that he can be Spiderman. Peter Parker is a method actor who has to learn from scratch how to become a completely new character. Perhaps this character is a part of himself that he has never shown to the outside world, or perhaps it’s a persona that he invented entirely to deal with his great power and responsibility, but certainly he could never become Spiderman while looking like Peter Parker. The costume allows him throw away his old identity and create a new one. The effect of his stints as Spiderman on his character as Peter Parker are generally malevolent (starting with the original sin of failing to stop his Uncle Ben’s killer). This role of the costume itself is heightened by the “black costume” that turns out to be an alien symbiote that Spiderman finally rejects, only to have to face again as the character Venom. But even the traditional red-and-blue costume is a performance-enhancing drug for Peter. He feels the responsibility to become Spiderman sometimes, and can’t do that without the costume. But he knows that every hour he spends in the costume, a little bit of Peter fades away.
Batman, as always, is the most interesting case. Batman hates the world for murdering his parents and destroying the legacy they built. His “secret identity” is a stooge, a character created specifically with the goal of being as incredible as possible as Batman’s alter ego. The rich, entitled, philistine “Bruce Wayne” is the hemlock he slips into the Long Island Ice Tea of the sycophants who swarm around the Wayne estate. Batman is the whip with which he lashes their tormentors in the hope that he also saves one or two good souls in the process. Only as Batman, only in costume, in darkness, in disguise, does The Dark Knight become himself.

*There are those among you who will now argue against the omission of your favorite superhero, whether it be Wolverine (too new, not independent enough from the X-Men, too popular with people who have never read a comic book), Iron Man (never close to as popular, also attached to the Avengers), Green Lantern (his powers come from a ring), Daredevil (played by Ben Affleck), Flash (it’s close, but Flash is ahem…underexposed. Don’t know why there haven’t been more Flash movies, looking forward to 2016) or Wonder Woman (isn’t it enough that we will have a woman as president?).

COSTUMES AND SECRET IDENTITIES

If only you could love clothes without being a clothes-loving person. Recently some well-meaning and seemingly genuine person asked me why I have become interested in men’s clothing, which is a question that brought me great shame. I hate talking about myself and feel uncomfortable talking about clothing with anyone I don’t already know to be as haunted by it as I am. But I managed to mumble something about clothing’s dual potential for both self-expression and disguise. Which sounded good enough that I have been thinking since about what it means.

I will start with superheroes.

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If Ash Wednesday fell on a Pitti…feel free to add your own.

Choosing fabric for a bespoke piece can be an overwhelming process. Particularly if you’re working with a traveling tailor and have thirty minutes to get all your fitting and choosing done before the next asshole knocks on the door for his appointment. 
Advice from trusted sources such as strangers on the Internet can be valuable, but you can also peruse much of what’s available from the comfort of your own home, as many merchants now have swatch pictures online. The pictures may not be totally accurate, and of course you won’t be able to feel the fabric until you have it in front of you. But it’s a good place to start narrowing down your search for what you already have in your head, or get ideas for new projects. Here are a few that I know of:
Huddersfield (includes Minnis) 
Fox (mostly flannel)
Scabal (you have to create an account, but it’s easy and their database is searchable)
Harrison’s (includes Lesser, presumably soon W. Bill and Smith’s, which they recently acquired)
Dormeuil
Caccioppoli (Not swatch pictures of the whole collection, but their Tumblr shows many of the fabrics they offer)
Drapers
Hunters (tweed and tartan)
Butt of Lewis (tweed)
Holland and Sherry 
Dugdale Brothers
Vitale Barberis Canonico (usually better to get this through Caccioppoli or Draper’s)
Lovat Mill (via Scotland Shop)
In Tweed (I think the ones with the “LM” codes are from Lovat Mill, not sure about the others)
If you have a favorite that I’ve missed, let me know and I’ll add it in.(thanks to Die, Workwear! for suggesting a few already)

Choosing fabric for a bespoke piece can be an overwhelming process. Particularly if you’re working with a traveling tailor and have thirty minutes to get all your fitting and choosing done before the next asshole knocks on the door for his appointment. 

Advice from trusted sources such as strangers on the Internet can be valuable, but you can also peruse much of what’s available from the comfort of your own home, as many merchants now have swatch pictures online. The pictures may not be totally accurate, and of course you won’t be able to feel the fabric until you have it in front of you. But it’s a good place to start narrowing down your search for what you already have in your head, or get ideas for new projects. Here are a few that I know of:

Huddersfield (includes Minnis) 

Fox (mostly flannel)

Scabal (you have to create an account, but it’s easy and their database is searchable)

Harrison’s (includes Lesser, presumably soon W. Bill and Smith’s, which they recently acquired)

Dormeuil

Caccioppoli (Not swatch pictures of the whole collection, but their Tumblr shows many of the fabrics they offer)

Drapers

Hunters (tweed and tartan)

Butt of Lewis (tweed)

Holland and Sherry 

Dugdale Brothers

Vitale Barberis Canonico (usually better to get this through Caccioppoli or Draper’s)

Lovat Mill (via Scotland Shop)

In Tweed (I think the ones with the “LM” codes are from Lovat Mill, not sure about the others)

If you have a favorite that I’ve missed, let me know and I’ll add it in.(thanks to Die, Workwear! for suggesting a few already)

Things You’re Better Off Not Writing

Your writing will improve if you eliminate all of the following phrases from your lexicon, due to their being cliched, meaningless, annoying, or all of the above:

  • "stark contrast" - No longer means anything other than “contrast”. Sounds defensive.
  • "grab" lunch/dinner/coffee - Annoyingly breezy. 
  • "Go ahead and…" Meaningless (just eliminate it an proceed directly to the verb, the meaning is not changed) and Lumbergh-y.
  • "penned", "quipped" and their ilk - You don’t need to go to the thesaurus every time somebody says or writes something, unless you’re writing for a high school yearbook. Just use “wrote” and “said”.
  • "Cold, hard facts" - Similar to “stark contrast”. I suppose this is supposed to recall the dispassionate and robust nature of the facts in question, even though all facts are dispassionate and robust. What is a warm, soft fact? Just the “facts”, ma’am, is better.
  • "Why not…?" - When making an argument that the reader should engage in some intrepid behavior like wearing a gingham shirt, buying a knit tie, becoming a #menswear blogger, whatever…there should be some argument better than “you can’t think of any reason not to, can you?”
  • "It is what it is" - Is it possible for a statement to be more tautological? Give an example of something that is not what it is.
  • "engage in witty banter" - please just shut up. 

I will likely create sequels to this list as I read more phrases that annoy me.