Image via: Tommy Ton for GQ
It's pretty common to hear from one girl to another, "that is SO you," about a piece of clothing, but for guys this happens...less often. The times I encounter this type of phrase in reference to a male friend, it's not typically a good thing. Another girl friend encounters some sort of offensive button down, laughs and says "that's such a [insert male's name here] shirt," with an eye roll and then that's that. Well, this article
I came across on GQ.com changed my perception of that kind of instance.
Normally I'm pretty against wearing the same thing every day, and signature looks seem like something of the past, and predictable can be pretty boring. When variety is available, why not take advantage? Well, that's not everyone's style, no pun intended, and sometimes branding your style via a consistent daily look, or uniform as they call it in this article, is just what you need, especially when guys have fewer options out there.
I'm of the personal belief that ever man would be better off with a pair of oxfords in his closet. They can almost always be worked into an outfit, and it's a nice dressier shoe to have on hand in any sort of 911 situation. However, "having a pair of oxfords" is a completely vague term that could take many different forms. Different interpretations of this wardrobe command lead to very different style results. There's lots to consider besides the top-- sole fabrication, thickness, color. But those things comes with personal preference. Today is about what you see from above. Brought to you by Esquire.com
's style blog feature, shoe porn
Sometimes you want your casual to be a little fancy. I would say the suede variety usually falls into this category, but sometimes stylized leather or unexpected colors or color combinations sneak in, too. These are best worn with jeans, khakis, cords or shorts (if you will). Most suit occasions call for something a little fancier, but if you're a recreational suit wearer, these might be just the thing to tone it down.
G.H. Bass & Co.
For those who a shoe is a means to an end and not a way to demonstrate personality, simple is probably better. Plenty of oxfords of all formality levels come in the non-adorned variety, and simple is perfectly acceptable in the shoe game. Plain goes with everything. Sometimes the coolest options speak for themselves.
When you first think of oxfords, you tend to think of the old timey detailing that went into men's shoes of yore. The wingtip embellished oxford hasn't disappeared, but it's no longer the only player in the game. Today's versions come in many varieties, some which you've seen and some that are a little updated. Sometimes a little detail is what you need to elevate an outfit, and it's a type of detail that will never go out of style. Well, at least it hasn't after all this time. And despite what you see below, these do come in more colors other than...brown.
John Varvatos (okay, not technically a wingtip, but the detailing is classic!)
For those not afraid of detail but not wanting a footwear throwback, the cap toe is the way to go. There is some visual interest there, but they are still pretty minimal and extremely modern. These go well with a suit and elevate a more casual pant or pant/blazer combination to super stylish levels, though generally these keep things a little fancier.
Barneys New York
These are for the risk takers. They're not always the most formal, but they're bright, daring and full of personality and detail. I'm a fan of people who are willing to step out in these in both casual and dressy situations, but I say wear at your own risk because looking clownish is possible with too much effort to make these work.
Image via: TetinoTete.tumblr.com
Today's menswear look comes from the ever-difficult blazer over t-shirt look that walks the fine line between not quite there and effortlessly polished casual. This guy achieved the latter with his simple casual outfit. I'll admit that I'm not quite sure why sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn't, but fit and blazer choice definitely have something to do with it. This guy has some well-fitting lightly distressed jeans that set the tone for the outfit. He paired them with a t-shirt that also fits well and, though it is a "graphic tee", it's clearly not something he got for free from a frat party, nor is it anything close to an Ed Hardy situation. It's understated and alone, it would make a nice casual outfit under the plaid/flannel button down that peeks out under the blazer, which is important. Again, sometimes that look--t-shirt under unbuttoned button down--can look sloppy and juvenile, but if you choose the right items, it won't look that way. He finishes off the foundation with some nice sneakers. These aren't what he'd wear to the gym and they aren't scuffed and worn, they're a sneaker for the purpose of a casual outfit. They work. Then comes the hard part: the blazer. It's not part of a suit set (which would make it NOT a blazer), and it fits him well, like a sweater. It's a well considered afterthought that doesn't scream structured and polished over a casual outfit, he styled it to make it fit with the casual vibe. It's neutral coloring and winter textures help with the casual feel as well. The finished look is easy and not fussy at all. It doesn't look like he's trying too hard, and it really elevates a simple jeans and t-shirt look for day or a more casual night.
Wearing sneakers with suits is nothing new, but the contrasting styles still excite me when done well. It's not always office appropriate, but when you can add some interest to a typical suited look, it's a fun route to take. These guys do it (and some not quite suits with sneakers) particularly well.
All images via GQ Street Style photographers Tommy Ton and Ben Ferrari.
Image via: Tommy Ton for GQ
Most guys know not to wear white socks with anything other than sneakers. Or they should. But today's more stylish men take the dress sock a little further. If your pants are the right length, your socks will be visible to the world once you take a seat, so why not invest in a little interest? Whether you're wearing a suit, just dress pants, khakis or really any other kind of pant with a sock-required shoe, some sock fun might just be what your outfit needs.
Some guys don't get to have too much fun with their workwear, and many don't have the confidence to go crazy with their clothes. This small, only sometimes visible detail of an outfit can make all the difference when it comes to style and personality.
For some industry expert tips on getting in on this trend, consult GQ
, Mr. Porter
to get started.
Welcome to "outfit lab," something new that my desire to stare at outfits has taken to a new level! Here I will post an outfit from any number of photo genres--street style, celebrity, editorial, etc-- and "dissect" the look (get it? lab, dissect..ha ha..anywayyy). Today we alliterate with menswear!
Image via: Club Monaco
Today we have a casual fall look that is pretty easy to duplicate. Though this brooding, city strolling model is wearing head-to-ankle Club Monaco
(pretty sure he's wearing Vans
sneakers), this look can be patched together by any number of brands. Let's break it down. We have a standard collared shirt at the base of things, worn under a sweater quarter zip. With black jeans (also would look great with traditional blue!) and sneakers, this potentially professional or semi-formal look is toned down to what annoying people refer to as "smart casual" and it's an easy polished outfit, a great start. But THEN, this baseball jacket situation really takes it up a notch.
The jacket is a non-traditional choice in a great combination of neutrals. Instead of a blazer or a pea coat, this option is unique while still on trend, masculine, casual and cool. Especially for fall, baseball jackets are a great choice to have in the outerwear arsenal for those transitional not-too-cold days. If you're spending a lot of time outside, it makes for an upgraded look no matter what's underneath, and thoughtful layering, forgive the pun, knocks it out of the park. Baseball season might be ending, but this jacket is a great investment for fall AND spring.
what it is:
Forever 21 Men's "Burnished Button Plaid Shirt"why I love it:
I just purchased a shirt from Forever 21 men not too different from this one, and I love it, but what drew me to that one and the one pictured above was how much I like it for men (and obviously that's who it's supposed to be for). It's the perfect casual button down and can be worn with jeans, shorts, khakis and a number of types of shoes to give it a very different look depending on what you choose. And it's a great layering piece as well. But for me, I've worn this as a "jacket" over a classic striped sheath dress, and it's great tied up over or tucked into a skirt. It works over leggings and under anything from a jean jacket to a blazer. The square, big fit can juxtapose feminine silhouettes and adds a sense of casual ease to any outfit. But that's true with this shirt for either gender. where to get it: Forever 21
photo courtesy of nordstrom.com
Ah, the white dress shirt. Every man has one, or at least every man should have one (one or a few with an impeccable fit is really a wardrobe must). But just because this is hanging in your closet doesn't mean it can't work against you outfit-wise. Yeah, it's easy to throw on with dress pants and call it a day, but there are definite pros and cons to this essential item, and before you pull it off the hanger, take in a few considerations--especially with holiday dress-up season fast approaching.
-It really is a never fail. If you're unsure about a combination of pants/blazer/suit/tie/etc, a white shirt will never be a wrong turn in an outfit.
-For ultra-formal looks, white really is the way to go. You can get away with other colors, but white will never get a questioning look when you've got to be dressed to the nines, and you'll never appear out of place.
-It goes with everything. Gray, black, blue, green, khaki, patterns, everything. No need to wonder if your suit, pants or tie is going to clash because white will always complement what you're wearing. Now for the other, colored elements, that's a different story.
-You need one. In the event where you have to travel or wear a formal look with several different suits and/or ties in a short period of time, or if you get quick notice that you have to dress up and don't have the time to get creative, go for the white shirt since it will always look good. This is a necessity, and you need to make sure you have a well-fitting, non-stained white shirt at the ready for anything that could come up.
-It's boring. White is kind of a snoozefest. If you have the choice of shirts, try to opt against white unless any other color would actively look bad in a combination of tie/pants/suit/whatever. Because it's a go-to, it's predictable and if you're trying to stand out in any way, you won't.
-It can be costume-y. With black pants, you run the risk of being mistaken for a cater-waiter, magician, you name it. Black and white is the typical male "uniform", with or without a jacket, so go for a pattern or color if you're going with a black suit or black pants. Especially in the times that you're not wearing any sort of jacket, try go for anything but white.
-It's too easy. Easy can be good in a pinch, but if you have time to plan your outfit, get a little more creative. It will pay off because it will look like you took time to think about your look and you'll appear much more stylish and detail-oriented, no matter what situation you're dressing for.
-It can appear too formal. I'm always a proponent of being overdressed rather than underdressed, but a white dress shirt can sometimes seem too formal. Paired with jeans it can be a weird mix of dressiness, and with dress pants, a suit or even just a blazer it can elevate an otherwise nicer than casual, but not necessarily dressy, look a little past the easy feeling you're trying to go for.
FYI: A dress shirt has no pockets. If it has pockets, it can still look nice, but it's not technically a dress shirt.
For summer, you've got your sockless shoe
options for those occasions that you want to look like you put in the time (which should be often). But once the colder months hit, boat shoes with socks are probably something you shouldn't be considering, and only the masterful dressers can successfully pull off the socks with loafers look in a non-dressy outfit.
So for fall, your footwear must have is the desert--or Chukka--boot. The option above is Cole Haan
, but most stores that sell men's clothing and shoes sell this style of boot: Johnston and Murphy
, Banana Republic
, the works. These can be styled with or without socks, tied allt he way up or a little undone, and they look great under jeans, khakis and most things in between. Like the loafer or boat shoe, these are a great non-dress shoe option that really take your outfit to an "I tried" level that makes you seem much more stylish and put together than a pair of sneakers. Also like the boat shoe and/or loafer in your wardrobe, if you're short on shoe options, go with a brown or possibly gray shade that can look good with many outfits and colors. And get them in the material that is most you--suede, leather, whatever. Once you realize what these can do for your look, you'll be finding ways to wear them with pretty much everything you own.
Not only is it easy for women to incorporate a fun pop of color into an outfit, but it's also more widely accepted as a gender norm (which I think is kind of annoying). I think men should be able to have a little fun, too. Because menswear basics usually come in rich neutral colors, a bright accent is the perfect way to bring a fresh spin to old basics. Color can be intimidating for men, so here's a manual for those of you who want to dip your toe, but not quite your whole foot into the color pool.
This might be the easiest way to incorporate unexpected color into an outfit. Either buy a less expensive watch with a bright strap, or invest in a watch where you can change out the straps. Go for a color, like yellow or red, that is bright and offsets the rest of the pieces in your outfit.
soles and/or laces
The casual oxford is a shoe that's nice to keep around to dress up a casual outfit, especially in cooler weather. If you're not in the mood for a boat shoe or a loafer, these are a great sneaker alternative. Take your oxfords up a notch with a colored sole and/or laces. Like a watch, this is a pretty subtle way to wear color, but a pair of shoes are a little more of an investment than a watch or watch strap. If you're an oxford person or looking for a way to amp up your look instantly, this investment is worth it.
This one is a little trickier because in the case of glasses, you wear them every day unless you've spent the money to have multiple pairs. But colored rims are a quick way to trick the passerby into thinking that you are ultra-stylish. It's nice because glasses don't have to match what you're wearing and are kind of separate from your attire as a whole, so if you see some frames you like in a color you don't necessarily wear a ton, it's not something you have to be really concerned about. This purchase is more of a commitment, but if you're ready for it, it will really pay off.
Possibly the safest way to easily add color, these can be cheap and very low-commitment. The only problem is that you can only do this in certain dress codes. However, suits are often the hardest item to make interesting, so go for patterns and colors so you can easily mix up your suit look, especially if you wear suits a lot and can't invest in a ton of different suits.