The art of business casual or business professional is a practice which we are either motivated or forced to quickly adapt to; after all, no one likes looking out of place at a new job. We learn what types of suits are best for our place of employment, or what pants and shoes to wear when meeting with a client. As a result, when we get older, we find less and less opportunities to dress how we want. When such occasions do arise, we often want to on the same battered t-shirts and sneakers before heading out the door. There is a way to amp up your personal style without negotiating comfort, and it’s all about dressing intentionally, even on the weekends. If you’re looking to transform your casual wardrobe for one that’s a bit more impressive, here are some general guidelines.
Dressing Casual for the Weekend is all About the Size
Why does formal office attire look so good? It’s because the suit is cut to complement your specific body type and measurements. Casual clothing works in the same way. It doesn’t matter what you wear so much as how it fits on you. Your shirts should be long enough, and not too wide – hiding a skinny frame beneath lots of fabric just makes you look skinnier, and vice versa for larger men. Most guys tend to wear pants that are too baggy in the back as well as too long in the leg, because they are afraid of trying on “skinny jeans”. If this sounds like you, try on one pant size smaller and see if you don’t look a lot more pulled together than frumpy; and if that size is too small, try taking them to a tailor and get them fitted. It may cost a little extra money, but it will make a world of difference.
The anatomy of the T-shirt
Graphic tees are totally fine for the weekends, regardless of age, but remember this rule of thumb: you wear the shirt, the shirt doesn’t wear you. However funny or cool that shirt is, it should actually look good on you – as in, if it had anything else on the front, you would still buy it for how it fits on you – or else don’t waste your money. Lots of those shirts associated with TV shows, comics and Internet memes are sold online, so an easy way to determine how it will look on you is to take a shirt you own that fits you really well, and get its measurements. Then you can compare it to the shirts online to visualize how it would look on you.
Coordinate with layers
In cooler weather, trade in frumpy or stained sweatshirts for a cardigan or pullover sweater. Plenty of popular retailers, like H&M, sell sweaters and cardigans for Gen Y guys that range from preppy and trendy to laidback and casual. To go the extra mile and add more structure to a casual ensemble, switch the T-shirt underneath for a cotton button-up, either long or short-sleeved. Layers are definitely the weekend man’s friend. You can even pair a button-up with a clean hoodie – and mixing and matching these layers makes it easy to play around with cool colors and patterns.
Shoes and accessories for the Weekend
Guys you see wearing a nice pair of sneakers get way more than functionality out of them: they get the cool factor. If you’re throwing on a plain old pair of Reeboks, you’re not shopping at the right places. You should be looking for offbeat prints and colors at Zumiez, Tactics, or one of these awesome outlets in larger cities like London, New York, and LA.
The most stylish guys have one important thing in common: they know how to accessorize. First learning this talent can be a somewhat embarrassing for guys but, once you see the results, you’ll quickly get over it. Start with the staples, like a pair of sunglasses (something nicer than a $10 pair found in a mall cart) that will magically make you look Tom Cruise-cool and collected. A watch is a manly piece to add to any outfit, and doesn’t have to be saved for a professional setting. Timepieces with leather bands, wood faces, or watches that are all-black or gunmetal can up your cool factor on days off, and colored watches like these from Invicta are especially great for coordinating with your outfit. For something a little more offbeat, try a beanie hat, bohemian-style bracelet, or a long necklace with an interesting pendant – nothing that could be purchased at Hot Topic, but may be found in an American Eagle.
Dressing for the office is formulaic, but dressing on the weekends is a game of trial and error. Start by cleaning out your closet of casual shirts and pants that don’t enhance your appearance, and replace them with a few staples. Some of these should extend just a bit out of your comfort zone – for that, you should bring along a helpful lady friend along – but all should be easy to mix and match with the pieces you have at home. When first starting out, solid colors are best for novices, but bold patterns should be a closet essential for the style expert. You’ll get there one day, but for now, take it one pant leg at a time.