If you’re looking for a classy but casual west-coast type of clothing, you may be a little confused as to exactly how to begin looking good. Traditionally, dressing well for men was simply a question of finding a white dress shirt, a monotone tie, and a black or navy suit, but if you don’t work for IBM, this might look stuffy.
Although you may have some ideas like a dark pair of jeans to match your polo shirt and a pair of good shoes, that’s a very basic level of understanding. When it comes to sorting your way through preppy clothing brands, you must learn distinctions between style and grace.
As a quick guide here are 5 rules to look casual, but not clueless:
The First Rule: Dress for the Weather
Dress to suit the weather. If it’s colder and you need to dress in layers, use thinner clothes next to your skin, then thicker clothes on top of thinner clothes. Cotton T-shirts are thinner clothes, but if you need to dress slightly more formally, then consider dress shirts. Heavier layers might be a leather jacket, a corduroy blazer or a chunky wool sweater. Naturally, if it’s sunny, you don’t have to dress in layers, so choose to don more colorful shirts because you won’t need to cover them up.
The Second Rule: Be Ready to Strip Down
While the weather may be cold and you have dressed sensibly from thin layers to warm layers, you might be in a situation where you’re in an environment that gets extremely warm. Perhaps, you’re at a friend’s house on a cold evening, but they decide to light a fire in the fireplace. Suddenly, you will get too warm and you will look silly staying all layered up. However, once you strip off your wool sweater, you don’t want to be caught wearing a tacky T-shirt with a promotional logo.
The Third Rule: Stay Casual yet Classy
Casual yet classy? At first blush, this sounds like contradiction in terms. After all, either you’re preppy or you’re not. The trick to being both casual and classy is to mix it up. You could, for example, wear a casual shirt but add a tailored blazer.
The Fourth Rule: Lean toward Comfort
Your style should be comfortable. It should feel comfortable and it should look comfortable without bordering on the sloppy. Here, the trick is not to think about materials or colors, but to focus on your level of mobility. If you can’t raise your arms well above your head or put them all the way down or scratch your neck, then you have either too many layers or your clothes are too tight.
The Fifth Rule: Add Some Color
One thing women have learned to do well is blend in color. Men, on the other hand, often assume dressing well means a choice of whites, browns, blacks, gray, or navy. It’s actually fine to be a little bolder and have a lighter purple, a lime green, or even a fuchsia. Color does not always have to be gaudy. It can also be subtle and pleasing.
Look Good, Without Overdoing It
Using these five style guides, it will be easy to blend classy with casual and handle changes in weather with grace and ease.