This blog is for all the men in your life who stand in front of their closets and ask you what they should wear. I have 3 of them: my husband has a standard uniform but has currently decided to adventure outside of his uniform; my eldest son lives his life in either hockey jerseys and jeans or shorts and t-shirts but now needs somewhat of a work wardrobe for summer internships; and my youngest son wears a uniform to school everyday with a shirt and tie, but that is going to change as he graduates in a few days.
So like most men, my 3 men wonder what they should wear to different occasions that arise in their lives. Last year in my Father’s Day Blog I spoke about a great start to a men’s wardrobe. This year I am going to take it a step further and make suggestions for casual events, work events and dressy events. Hopefully this can help you and your men navigate whatever is coming your way. You can also make your husband, son or significant other read this blog and maybe they will stop asking you what they should wear.
What ever the casual event is, summer BBQ’s, a casual party, dinner out with friends or just a casual date night, the number 1 rule is to look like you put a little effort in your appearance. Jeans are so main stream now they can be worn almost anywhere. So let’s start there.
One of my favorite looks for men is a great fitting pair of jeans, a v neck sweater or pullover and a solid crew t-shirt underneath. I love Nordstrom men’s wear for finding a great pair of jeans that fit well. Men are different from women who need different widths and lengths of jeans. Men can find one pair that fits great and buy it in different washes. I think the fit that would work for most men is a slim-straight fit. It’s comfortable through the seat and thigh ( to allow for athletic builds) and slightly tailored from knee to ankle. This pair is from Joe’s and it’s the Brixton Slim Straight Fit Jeans. Your man will need to get into a store and try different brands on until he finds what fits him best. The look of a dark jean with any color v-neck sweater and white t-shirt is a classic look. This sweater is from Vince, it’s their Slim Fit Cashmere V-neck Sweater. All of this is from Nordstrom. My younger son lives in this look, but I can buy great Calvin Klein wool sweaters at Costco in every color, so that is a way more economical way to do it. This look works all year round and for almost every casual occasion and casual dinner or date night that can come their way. But as the weather gets warmer men (who are usually way warmer than women) tend to not want a sweater. My next suggestion is a polo. Any pique polo will do, this one is Nordstrom Men’s shop Polo. I really think every man should own a black polo shirt. It looks good on everyone. This polo can be worn with jeans, Khakis, shorts etc.
But what if your men are hipper and want to try and venture out of classic. Right now print shirts paired with shorts, jeans, khakis are huge for men of all ages. My older son has a penchant for Hawaiian shirts. This season he can do that type of print but in a more sophisticated way so as not to look like a frat boy. This is Nordstrom’s 1901 Camp shirt and 1901 Stretch Chinos. For an even more casual event like a backyard BBQ try a bold print shirt with a great fitting pair of shorts. This shirt is Ted Baker London and the shorts are Bonobos Stretch Chino shorts both at Nordstrom. All the men in our lives have tons of plaid shirts, this season encourage them to try a different print in their spring and summer shirts.
Work related events vary so much. It can be a philanthropic endeavour for you and your man or it can be a business event or sometimes there are occasions in your lives where the dress is business attire. There are 2 types of dressing for Work events, business casual and smart dressing or business attire.
Let’s look at Business Casual first:
What exactly is business casual? Well, it is more casual than a traditional 3 piece suit look and more polished than casual Friday attire (jeans, sport shirts etc). A lot of offices are moving to a business casual environment. My older son is interning in a law firm where the dress code is business casual, no suits in this firm unless you are going to court. Here you can wear a casual cotton button down shirt or a polo. Bottoms can be chinos or neutral colored denim. Always buy your denim and chinos with some spandex content, this way they will wrinkle a lot less. Neutral colored denim can be white or light stone color, it can even be blue, just no rips please for the office. This pair is from rag & bone, it’s their Fit 2 Slim Fit Jean. But you can find neutral colored jeans everywhere. Chinos also work here in any color. I am using Nordstrom Athletic Fit non iron Chinos. They come in 5 colors and are priced reasonably enough that your man can buy 2 or 3 colors if he likes the fit.
Shirts and Polos can be more casual as well. Pick a patterned short sleeve or long sleeve shirt that is fairly fitted this is the Good Man Brand Trim Fit Micro Floral Sport Shirt. But any new pattern will work, even the subdued Hawaiian or Ted Baker London shirts above can work for business casual. At my son’s summer job none of the men wear blazers every day so they tend to wear long sleeve shirts in solids and prints. This shirt is Nordstrom Men’s Shop Slim Fit Floral Sport Shirt. I pick up these kinds of shirts for him everywhere. In Canada Mark’s Work Wearhouse has well priced sport shirts and so does Joe Fresh. In the US try Target or Nordstrom Rack if you don’t want to pay Nordstrom prices.
The most powerful way to complete this look, especially if you have meetings and clients but you are in an office wear no one wears a suit, or if you have an event that doesn’t call for you to be dressed up, is an unstructured blazer or sport jacket. For most men one or two of these in their closets is all they need. My husband lives in a navy crushed wool blazer he bought a couple of years ago at George Richards in Canada, he also bought one in black and he wears them all the time. This is the Bonobos Wool Unconstructed Sport Coat from Nordstrom. It is similar and comes in Black as well. Men can wear a light wool sport coat all year round. But because print is so stylish, I would try something like this Good Man Brand Soft Cotton Unconstructed Blazer to make the look fresh and modern. This jacket with a print shirt and dark chinos or denim is perfect for business casual.
I am not a fan of runners for the office. But runners and sneakers are huge for men and women, wear them with this style for a casual dinner out and wear loafers to the office.
Basically this means a suit and tie. Or you could wear a constructed sport coat with pants and a tie. Most men already have a suit. It’s either black or navy. This year a lot of men are moving to a lighter blue for suiting. This suit is from Ted Baker London at Nordstrom and if you man is looking to broaden his suit wardrobe this is the newest color scheme. I don’t have that much to say about suits, it’s pretty basic. Find the brand and style that fits you best, buy a couple of colors of classic dress shirts and match your ties. It really isn’t rocket science. And if you man needs to wear this look everyday to the office he probably has it down pat already. The one thing I will say about suiting is to make sure it fits. What ever shape your man is, he will need to have his suit tailored. The sleeve needs to fit and so does the shoulder and pants. He should buy his suits based on his shoulder width and body shape. Go online to Nordstrom and watch their suit fit video. We recently bought my younger son a suit for graduation from the Bay in Vancouver. He prefered a dark suit but it’s Ted Baker London so the body has some slimmer fit to enhance his shape.
Business attire can be worn to events, weddings, anywhere where you need to be more dressed up.
Keep the shoes either tie up or slip on. Make sure they are always polished or if they are suede they are buffed to perfection.
Formal occasions for men call for either a tuxedo or a dark suit. Most men already have a black suit. For a formal occasion you can wear this suit as is or pick up a dressier jacket to wear with your black pants. This is the Ted Baker London Trim Fit Wool and Mohair dinner Jacket. Make sure your blacks match, take your pants with you shopping for the jacket. If you can’t find a match try a different color that goes with your black pants . This is the Morgan Trim Fit Wool dinner jacket by Strong Suit and both these jackets are from Nordstrom. The satin lapel makes it more formal. Wear your jackets with a tie like this one, or wear your black suit with a white shirt with covered buttons and a bow tie like above. Bow ties come in many colors and prints and they immediately dress up your suit. I prefer a pre tied bow tie but there are lots of both kinds. The other alternative is a strong dark tie . Both this tie and the bow tie are from the Tie Bar at Nordstrom. A white shirt is your go to for formal wear. Strong Suit at Nordstrom makes a reasonably priced tuxedo shirt, but you can wear any white shirt with covered buttons here and it’s a nice touch if the cuffs can be worn with cuff links. Dress shoes should be highly polished black shoes or buy yourself a pair of patterned tuxedo shoes, like this pair from Florsheim at Nordstrom. One pair of tuxedo shoes will likely last most men their entire lifetime because you will only wear them for formal occasions.
Pocket squares can be worn with any blazer and provide a fresher, modernization of every look you have . I chose a pocket square in a fresh lilac combination from Nordstrom Men’s shop. Pair it with a similar colored tie and you are set. And the newest way to wear a pocket square is lower in the pocket with a squared top. See how it just peaks out from the pocket? That is the newest way to wear them.
Patterned socks are also a way to modernize your look. If your office is more business formal then stick to something subtle like a stripe. But if you are wearing them for going out or your office is business casual then by all means go bold!
Men’s wear is a more simplistic than ladies wear, they can get away with less and wear it more. Go back and read last year’s Father’s day blog for how to start a base wardrobe for men, it will be a great place to start. Then add the touches from this year’s blog to make your wardrobe fresh and perfect for you.
I didn’t touch very much on shoes and accessories, but by all means tell your man to go onto the Nordstrom website, they have all kinds of how to videos for men about every aspect of dressing.
I apologize for the length of this blog but I only blog about men’s wear once per year and there is always a lot to say.
If you or your man need help with what to wear I am available for personal styling appointments. I can even come and help you both go through your closets and pare down your clothes so you only have what you love. For appointments please email me at Suethefashionista@gmail.com
Remember there is no blog next week on Wednesday June 20, but I will be back Wednesday June 27.
Until next time…