Be Smart, Look Smart
Issue   |   Wed, 02/08/2012 - 02:20
Photo by Mark Idleman '15

Dressing like you know what you are doing and dressing effortlessly are not mutually exclusive. Being crisp, comfortable and casual are not synonymous with dressing like the world is your gym. And there is nothing wrong with caring about how you look. Men’s casual is easy, relaxed and incredibly simple to set up.

Plain white tee
Ever eternal, there will not be a day the plain white tee goes out of style. Working with any skin tone, the plain tee is both understated and very noticeable in a world of graphics and Ed Hardy. Want to spice it up? Make it a polo, v-neck or find a tee in blue, black or grey.

Jeans
First rule of wearing jeans: make sure they fit. Slim men should go for a skinny or slim cut, while larger guys look better in regular or relax fit. Dark navy tones are preferable, but this rule is not hard and fast. The belt is optional: it is a good way to accessorize, but if your pants do not fit without a belt, you need new pants.

Shoes
A variety of shoes work for differing degrees of smart-casual, but trainers and tennis shoes should be avoided. Mainstays include Converse, Vans or another simple, elegant style.

Turning it up
Want to get dressier? Adding collared shirts (tee optional at that point), sweaters or cardigans (1), scarves, and a good coat will keep you warm and fresh. You can sub out the jeans for chinos (2) if you want to take it up a notch, but again, fit is everything. There is also nothing wrong with wearing a good boot (3) or dress shoe for footwear, but if so, white socks are off limits.

A quarter of a page isn’t nearly enough to describe the nuances of menswear, but it is a start. Rules in dress do not exist; everything is simply a guideline. Yet knowing what is in place and why allows you to have a good reason to deviate.

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