After the success of the last post on Mens’ business wear I thought I was done with writing about fashion and clothes BUT based on all the emails you have send me.
You want one more…so lets make it a trilogy shall we.
“Just when I thought I was out (of the fashion police force) YOU drag me back in. “
There was once a time when every professional, no matter his or her industry, put on a suit each morning. Ok, I still do.
But today, there are so many interpretations of formal and business casual that it can be easy to look sloppy or over-dressed if you’re not aware of the environment.
Lets begin with everyones favourite oxy-moron: Smart Casual:
Smart-casual – the somewhat misunderstood middle ground between jeans and a t-shirt and a full suit. Previously a catch-all phrase that outlined an office worker’s dress down Friday uniform, now the term encompasses a new menswear dress code.
Today, getting smart-casual right will set you free from traditional rules, looking out of place or being either under or over dressed ever again. It’s considered smart enough to be appropriate in a relatively formal situation yet stylish enough to make you look great down the pub.
But, while David Beckham continues to do an excellent job of demonstrating just how it’s done –
Perfection – this dress code has its hazards and pitfalls.
However, you don’t need to worry about them, as we’ve outlined the key pieces that will help you find the perfect balance, no matter what the occasion…
1. The Jacket
A blazer is a safe bet, jacket wise, but try and choose one you wouldn’t wear to work. Textured wool in light blue should do the trick.
Versatile and easy to wear, it’s smart but not formal, relaxed but not casual. It will pair effortlessly with denim or trousers too.
When it comes to smart-casual, what you wear on your legs will vary according to whats on top. Remember though, jeans are fine as long as they’re dark, clean, rip free and well-fitting.
3. The Shirt.
Treading the line between formal and relaxed perfectly, the classic Oxford shirt is an essential to any discerning wardrobe.
Typically with a button-down collar, an Oxford looks smart enough without a tie and, at the same time, retains a sportier downtime feel when worn with one.
Ask any woman and she will tell you, the shoes are the most important part of an outfit, in terms of defining just how smart it is.
Ideally, try a pair of Chelsea boots with a rounded toe. Classic tan works well with navy/grey trousers and indigo jeans.
Now in case you all decide to write to me again asking me more about this subject let me kill this with some laws to bear in mind.
So lets get this over quickly, as I am an event prof let us also to this in list form: Top 30 rules to bear in mind, no matter the occasion.
1. A rugby shirt is the most masculine thing a man can wear. EVER.
2. The 1950s and ’60s were the high points of casual. Everything before and after was hit-or-miss.
3. Fitted is good. Snug is dicey. Tight is just wrong.
4. Hemp clothes are great. If you want to smoke them.
5. Khaki pants will look and feel their best approximately two weeks before disintegrating.
6. The man who imparts opinions via T-shirt has neither the intelligence to form a cogent opinion nor the good sense to keep it to himself.
7. Small holes in jeans? Kind of cool. Small holes in sweaters? Pathetic.
8. Justin Timberlake doesn’t look quite as good as he thinks he does.
9. When purchasing jeans, leave the acid, stone, and other artificial washes to the good people of bad tv and retrospective fashion articles. The best way to break in a pair of jeans is to wear them as often as you can.
10. The shinier the shine or the pointier the point, the less casual the shoe.
11. A discreet paint or grass stain conveys a sense of lived-in comfort. The same cannot be said for stains from food, dirt, wine, or bodily fluids. That’s just gross.
12. Denim is the center of the casual universe. And some things look better with it than others. A quick primer:
13. All the Time: Cotton button-down or T-shirt, brown loafers, navy-blue blazer, cashmere sweater.
14. Most of the Time: Crewneck sweatshirt, black loafers, tweed jacket, cotton turtleneck, white sneakers.
15. Only Sometimes: Hooded sweatshirt, high-top sneakers, sports jersey.
16. Only Under Duress: Waistcoat, silk shirt, flip-flops, necktie.
17. Only Under Penalty of Death: Cufflinks, suspenders, opera cape.
18. Everything looks better with age. Except for white T-shirts. Those look best new.
19. The Professor was the best-dressed man on Gilligan’s Island, followed by Gilligan, Thurston Howell III, and the Skipper. Oh, and for what it’s worth, Ginger. By God, Ginger.
20. There is nothing so wrong with one’s appearance that can’t be improved, however slightly, by tucking in one’s shirt and standing up straight.
21. Always tuck: polo and dress shirts that hang below your hip. Never tuck: sweaters and turtlenecks. Everything else is negotiable.
22. Articles of clothing that you can dress up: polo shirts, khaki shorts, blue jeans, white sneakers, and, for Texans, cowboy hats and boots.
23. Articles that you can never dress up: sports jerseys, track pants, wifebeaters, Birkenstocks, and flip-flops.
24. The only ribbed items a man should wear are socks and condoms, and he best not confuse the two.
25. When in doubt: a white oxford shirt.
26. That being said, it wouldn’t kill you to mix things up every once in a while. Pinstripe shirts are good. Windowpane, too.
27. Blue gingham. Trust us.
28. The closest a man should ever come to touching denim shorts is helping a woman out of them.
29. There is a name for men who can pull off wearing sports jerseys. They’re called professional athletes.
30. “I’m on vacation” has never been a good excuse for anything, including doing body shots, ignoring intelligence warnings about possible terrorist attacks, and wearing whatever you damn well please.
And in case you think I know it all, yes, that is me in the red trousers with Nicole Scherzinger and Lewis Hamilton.