If your casual wear wardrobe consists of sports jerseys and flip flops, it's definitely time to reassess. The world of men's casual wear is infinitely more varied, interesting, and sophisticated. So put down the ripped tees and step away! Here are five staples that every man should have in his casual wear wardrobe.
1. Patterned cotton button down shirts:
Yes, a white oxford shirt is classic. But you definitely need patterned shirts as well. Pinstripes, gingham and windowpane are all classic patterns that never go out of style. If you choose plaid, avoid flannel and look for a lighter fabric. A cotton plaid in a cheery color such as green or bright blue can be a great casual, everyday look.
2. Polo shirts:
There are two keys to finding a great polo shirt: one is the fabric, and two is the fit. Jersey fabrics are best left to rugby shirts (which are another great choice, by the way). Polo shirts wear well in a pique fabric, which is the kind that has a slightly heavy weight and feels textured to the touch. Look for pima cotton pique polo shirts, and make sure that the shoulder seem hits the actual top of your shoulder. If the shoulder seem droops down your arm, the shirt is too big. For warm weather, a solid colored polo shirt with madras shorts is an easy casual look. For colder weather, polos are versatile and can be worn with jeans or chinos.
3. Skinny ties:
The 1950s and early 1960s were high points in history for men's casual wear. From this period, we take the skinny tie. The skinny tie can be one of the most versatile tie styles. A skinny tie in a matte, solid color such as black, blue, gray, or brown can add just the right touch to your ensemble of dark wash jeans, button down shirt and vest. Try it on your next date.
4. Retro inspired outerwear:
Recent decades brought about the popularity of the hoodie. However, a hoodie can be considered looking sloppy compared to other casual shirt options. For outerwear, look for modern takes on vintage inspired pieces. The lettermen's jacket has recently made a huge comeback, and looks great layered over a pair of chinos and a fitted crewneck cotton sweater. Retro inspired shoes are a great look, too. Look for fashion sneakers in canvas, such as Frye Men's Greene Lowe Sneakers; or leather, such as Diesel Footwear's Leather and Suede Midday Sneakers.
Dark wash denim should be a staple of every man's wardrobe. It works in both pants and jackets. When selecting jeans, look for trouser jeans, which fit the widest part at the hip then go straight down; or boot cut jeans, which flare out just slightly at the bottom. Avoid anything that is acid washed, faded or distressed.
Tips for wearing these casual pieces:
- Always tuck in polo shirts and button down shirts that hang on or below the hip.
- Wear only one denim item at a time.
- If you are attending an event and not sure how dressy it will be, bring a sport jacket and a tie. These can instantly take an outfit from casual to dressy casual.
- Layer retro inspired outerwear over modern pieces to keep the look relevant.
- You can never go wrong with a cotton button down shirt, chinos, a fitted cashmere sweater, brown oxfords, and a navy blue sport jacket. This look can take you from the office, to a networking event, to a date or drinks with your friends.