ways to wear: mens’ casual
I’ve had a few requests for a post about weekend basics for guys. So here it is: ideas for a few guys’ no-brainer pieces that go the distance, targeted specifically for the guy who cares how he looks, but not enough to really do anything proactive about it. If you, like my friend Eric, already know your way around a deep-V and skinny jeans, this post is not for you.
I don’t pay as much attention to what I pay for Tom’s clothes as I do for mine. So I’ve left off a few details regarding price. Also, the model in this post is my long-suffering husband. If you know Tom, be assured that he only posed for these photos under extreme duress. I may have even accused him of hating my blog. So please be kind.
Tom has a Michigan sweatshirt that is 20 years old, complete with a frayed neckline, paint splatters, and one sleeve ripped to the elbow. When he wears it, he reminds me enough of Jennifer Beals in Flashdance to make me uncomfortable.
If my friend Linds doesn’t like an article of clothing of her husband’s, she donates it while he’s gone or throws it away, and then simply lies about its whereabouts. I admire her technique, but when it comes to that Michigan sweatshirt, I have a better chance of winning the 2012 Olympic gold medal in the 400-meter hurdles than I have of getting rid of it on the sly. That’s because Tom loves it so much that he checks on it periodically, to make sure it’s still molting in the drawer where he last left it.
Chances are, there’s a sweatshirt like Tom’s that’s currently ruining your social life. So do a bait and switch, and get him a sweatshirt you can live with. Make sure it’s cut slim to the body, and made of a thinner material than a full athletic fleece. The advantage of such a sweatshirt is that you can dress it up by throwing a cool coat over it, without the bulk. No prints please, or logos.
Merino sweater + Gingham
I like to think that Tom’s sense of style improved vastly when we met. Tom thinks he was born with it, like Athena springing full-warrior from the forehead of Zeus. The truth is somewhere in between. I generally buy his clothes–which explains the huge gaping hole in his brain where a working knowledge of clothing prices should be–but he figures out how to put them together. It works best this way, because he can legitimately snarl “NO” when someone asks “Did Yoona put together your outfit?”
Of course, if I’m going to be seen with him, I get a veto. But I don’t use my veto power much when it’s cold, because Tom is a pro with jeans and outerwear. In summer, I veto things all the time, mostly because Tom starts feeling compelled to wear shorts, and husband or no, I can’t get behind the idea of a man that pale in shorts. I mean, if he happens to be standing in shorts against a white wall, it can actually look like his shorts are floating in thin air, suspended above his shoes. But that’s another post for another time.
Anyway, like anything else, putting an outfit together takes practice. And practice will go easier with pieces that work with lots of different things. Like a crewneck merino sweater and a gingham shirt. The merino sweater can be thrown over a button-down and khakis for work, as easily as it can be thrown over a tee and jeans. The gingham shirt is a good layering piece–everyone looks good in gingham, and it’ll add a little visual interest to an outfit otherwise comprised of solids. Put the gingham under a hoody, or iron it and wear it for drinks under a blazer. Easy.
You have jeans. And they are not dad jeans. Sweet. So let’s take it to the next level.
Gray jeans are versatile. They are more interesting than blue jeans, so they work well for dinner parties and other situations requiring a modicum of effort. But they aren’t so interesting that you will get ridiculed by your friends at the sports pub. If you wear a lot of black or navy on top, gray jeans are a no brainer. Go get some.
Topper + Boots
I have real trouble with my own outerwear. I never like my coat as much as my outfit, so I usually go without. In this regard, I really envy Tom this Nau coat. It’s waterproof and machine-washable, and looks slick on top of a suit. I call it the Fixer, because it is capable of concealing all manner of sartorial crimes underneath.
Make sure your weekend coat length suits your purposes. Tom’s 6’4″ and has long legs, so this length suits him, but Nau makes a lot of shorter jackets. A word on Nau–they started out expensive and have gotten even more so, but I find it to be a reliably awesome brand for men. Tom’s Nau pieces get heavy rotation and have held up well over years of use.
As for the Bean Boots, Tom told me once that if there was ever a fire at the house, he would grab the boots first. Can you smell the romance?
So, there you have it. A few basics that will get you from your kid’s soccer practice on Saturday morning to a dinner party on Sunday. What are your favorite weekend basics?