Friday, 6 July 2012

2. What earns the title 'well dressed'?


I feel like I jumped the gun with the previous article, I was just too eager to get this off the ground. I posted the first idea I had on my notepad.

Today's lesson will address the question:

"What earns a man the title of well dressed?"

The answer is simple, and is another question in itself: How well are you dressed to suit the occasion? In order to be considered well dressed, it's essential that your outfit matches its intended purpose. Being stylish or well dressed doesn't mean wearing expensive suits all the time. When dressing up, you need to identify which is more important - comfort or functionality?

Let's take three common outfits of the modern man into consideration:

a) Gym/workout gear
b) Businesswear
c) A night on the town

a) Gym: Being an avid gym-goer, I see my fair share of losers who treat gym visits as fashion parades. The worst part is that males are solely responsible. Girls can stick to their overpriced t-shirts with cheesy motivational quotes (i.e. Lorna Jane "JUST TRY AND STOP ME!").

I have seen males actually go to the gym  in jeans, polo shirts and button up shirts. Needless to say, this is considered a bad gym outfit, as jeans do not meet the functional requirements of exercise.

DO: Singlet, shorts, trainers
DON'T: Baseball caps/snapbacks, jeans, collared tops, leather shoes

b) Businesswear: This is an interesting one, as comfort and functionality are both important factors for this outfit. Make sure you have the basics: shirt, trousers, leather shoes and belt.* It doesn't matter if you don't need one to hold your trousers up, you still need to wear a belt. When meeting clients face-to-face, ties are essential.

If your clothes are too loose and relaxed, you will be a faceless nobody who will be associated with the IT department. If your clothes are too small, you'll be the office diva who takes coffee orders and answers phones. The desired effect of effective workplace attire is conveying that you know how to dress properly and can hold your own. Subtlety is key.

DO: Collared shirt, tailored trousers, black shoes and belt.
DON'T: Over-the-top 'fashion' pieces, shirts with two or more pockets and epaulets, 'schoolboy' tie knots, hoodies, anything with bold branding, white socks

c) A night on the town: Here we have a polar opposite to gym. A collared shirt is essential - you don't want to be that guy who is stopping a group from going into a nice place because you're under dressed. Don't wear skate shoes or trainers. Desert boots are a great alternative. Try to avoid trendy colours like burgundy, as they will become outdated quickly. Brown is a good, safe option. 

Try to avoid showboating brands that you are wearing. Wearing overly branded clothes shows that you aren't confident in what you're wearing and that you rely on widely known brands instead of quality design. G-Star is a perfect example of this. Don't rely on one good piece in your wardrobe to carry your entire outfit.

DO: Fitted collared shirt, sports coat/blazer, desert boots, indigo/dark blue denim, tailored trousers, coat
DON'T:  Light blue denim, t shirt, trainers/runners/skate shoes, torn or ripped clothing, hoodies, white socks,

Note that these are just examples, but the core message is there. Make sure what you're wearing matches what you're doing. Would you mow the lawn in a suit or an old band t shirt?


* A suit and tie is always preferred, but shirt/trousers/leather shoes as a bare minimum. I plan on writing a suit buying guide soon

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