MEN ARE DRESSING MORE CASUALLY: WHAT ARE THE RULES
To begin with, there are no rules, as fashion is (or should be) dictated by appropriateness, respect and image. Let’s start by saying that everyone has to stop using the phrase, “men are dressing more casually”, as it doesn’t mean anything in today’s fashion world. As well, move on from terms such a “casual Friday’s”, as the expression is so passé. Whether you wear a suit or jeans to work, a shirt or sport jacket when you go out, every look you have can be made more and less dressy, and more and less casual, by the way you put your look together. The key is to dress appropriately, keep it interesting, and obviously make sure your clothing fits you properly (especially if you are up to 5’8”).
If you don’t change when you get home, you are dressed too casually.
With respect to the question, “what is too casual”, the answer is, if you don’t change when you get home, you are dressed too casually.
Menswear and fashion is constantly changing, and having the ability to change or enhance your look, is what today’s fashion is all about. The guy who is an I.T. programmer, that sits at a computer all day does not have to wear a suit, just as the corporate executive should not wear torn jeans and a hoodie.
Fashion and making a proper statement is not about “I can wear whatever I want”, but dressing appropriately for the occasion.
For those that need or would like some guidelines, here are some good ones to go by.
Premium Cotton Pants
We used to sell “thousands” of wool pants, and now the trend has been to premium cotton. For those that think cotton is too casual for work, think again … try quality cotton and you will be hooked.
Premium cotton pants – ranging from Pima to corduroy (cord pants are really hot again), can be worn very fashionably with a sport shirt, sophisticated cardigan or sport jacket. They are great to wear to a party or to work, they hold their shape and color better, and wash really well.
It seems that everyone that buys a sport jacket, wants to be able to wear it back to blue jeans, black jeans, and quality cotton pants. The look, which used to be regarded as “casual” is now thought of as very sharp. If you want to make this look dressier, just add a more sophisticated shirt and perhaps a tie (an really nice one!).
Also keep in mind that the tighter a pant is, the more casual it appears. Be aware of this when you are dressing for a particular purpose.
Often the topic or rolling pant bottoms and cuffs come up. Rolling is great for a more casual or week end look. Cuffs not make a pant more or less casual, they are just a different look. If you are going to wear a cuff, the fashionable trend is to 1 ¾ – 2”.
Sport jacket are in high demand at menswear stores. For work, a sport jacket is not necessarily more casual than a day suit as they are just different looks. A more serious looking sport jacket worn with a wool pant, can take you to all the same places a business suit can. The sport jacket is one of the quintessential items in your wardrobe. It is extremely versatile and can take you to any event. Sport jackets are offered in a plethora of fabrics, patterns and looks. Remember, the more monochromatic the dressier the look and the more color blocked, the more casual the outfit becomes.
To make your sport jacket ensemble less serious or more fun, try some of the following.
When choosing the shoe, try something more colorful, a unit bottom, or a sneaker (sneakers are another very hot trend, that many think is here to stay … sorry, running shoes just don’t cut it). For tops, tee-shirts, sportier patterned shirts, turtle necks, a white shirt worn open neck or with a knit tie (white shirts, with jeans, and a fashion tie, is another big look), are all great choices. When it comes to bottoms, as has been pointed out, sharp jeans (blue or black) and premium cotton pants, are all amazing.
Choose a deconstructed jacket (no shoulder padding) when you want something that is the most easy going.
A very interesting change is happening with respect to ties. The guy that stopped wearing one a few years ago, is starting to wear them again. Now that so many men don’t wear ties anymore, the fashion leaders (early adaptors) want to stand out from the pack, and are opting to wear really sharp ones. Not only does it look fashionable, but these guys are commanding a new attention, respect and confidence.
There are so many new tie trends, one being the knit tie. The knit tie can be worn with any shirt and or bottom. As noted, a really cool look is to wear it with jeans and/or a sport jacket. Wearing a knit or an interesting wool tie, is a great way to make an outfit more relaxed.
A pocket square is a great way to change the look of a suit or sport jacket. On trend, is interesting patterns in wool fabrics, as it offers a “sportier” look. If someone is not wearing a tie, this pocket accessory is a good way to personalize your look.
Wearing a puffer coat on top of a suit is a “no no”. If you are going out somewhere nice, do yourself a favor and don’t make that mistake.
On trend is the fashionable wool ¾ coat. It looks great (much less dressier than an overcoat), and can be worn without or with a sport jacket/suit underneath. It is the go to coat because of it’s more sophisticated look and it’s versatility.
In the old days we used to call it a car coat (because it was shorter than an overcoat, and therefore easier to get in and out of the car), now we just call it a fashion ¾ coat.
Add a scarf to spice it up and change the look (besides, as mom used to say, it will keep you warmer).
If you are wearing a suit, and going to an important event or a function, wear a tie (and make it a sharp one). It is always better to dress to enhance your look and confidence (dressing well is not about projecting arrogance).
Your objective should be to look great, no matter where you are going.
If you want to make your suit look less dressy, an appropriate shirt worn without a tie will do the trick (patterned shirts are great, but definitely do not wear a weekend plaid pattern). Mid brown shoes has become the standard for an easier look. Darker brown shoes are trending in, as are more colorful shoes (in leather or suede) with interesting unit bottoms. Depending on how informal you want the look to be, a tee shirt or turtle neck can easily be worn, but make sure you show respect for your guests and the occasion.
Besides all the above, one can always choose a sportier fabric or pattern.
Here are some extra thoughts about “proper fit” and “trending in”, for men up to 5’8”.
For a man that is shorter, it is ever so important to make sure your clothing is fitting properly. For some reason, short guys are judged more harshly when their clothing doesn’t fit well.
- Don’t wear your suit sleeves too long, they should end at the break of your wrist.
- A result of the fact that shorter men tend to stand more erect, a role at the neck of the back on a jacket can be a result. This role should definitely be corrected.
- Suit pants that are too long, looks sloppy and gives the impression that you don’t care about your look. Don’t wear your dressier pants too short, as it is a more casual look, and takes away from the sophisticated look that you are trying to achieve.
- Pant bottoms have gotten narrower, so don’t make your self look old fashioned by wearing a wide bottom. 15” is very good, giving a very modern look. Pant bottoms at this width or narrower should be finished straight, and not on an angle.
- Put away your narrow lapels and skinny ties (if you haven’t already).
- Dressier suits (clothing) that are too tight, look terrible. What started off as a trend for younger and slimmer guys, should stay with them, however everyone should know that the trend is going looser).
- Really short jackets are another trend that one should be very careful about. It is a very casual look, and is best worn with jeans. Often a shorter man thinks he can wear it because at first glance it appears to be a good length for him, but it can’t fit well. The reason for the poor fit is because the jacket was made for a taller guy, and the neck to waist measurement is too long, resulting in the fabric breaking at the back (this is a problem that can’t be fixed).
In general, the modern fitting suit, should come to the bottom of ones seat (or just slightly above it).
FYI, from ROBBIE BROWN, clothing for men up to 5’8”
I always like to remind people that menswear is offered in sizing to reflect ones height. Wearing the right garment, and paying attention to fit, should be one of your fashion priorities. I also tell people, don’t settle for second best.
– “regular” is for a man 5’8” to 5’11”
– “short” is for a man 5’5” to 5’8” (and typically a 32” sleeve length)
– “extra short” is for the man 5’2” to 5’5” (and is typically a 31” sleeve length)
– for “tall” and “extra” tall information, do your own research !
Please feel free to email me, firstname.lastname@example.org for any questions you might have.