What a stir the King’s Speech has made. The acting, the sets, the awards….. it’s still the water cooler topic of the moment. However it certainly isn’t the favourite topic in our house, indeed the very mention of it sends my family running for cover. You see it’s the men that do it for me – no not in that way (although Colin Firth is rather lovely!) – But their clothes and the way they are dressed.
Unusually, in this film, the men get most of the screen time and whatever they are doing – working, walking, dining – they are perfectly dressed for the occasion. This is, unfortunately, unlike most British men of a certain age!
I frequently send my female clients out into the world feeling confident about their style, only to see them with their partners wearing last year’s gardening jumper and saggy cords.
Why can’t our men do smart casual? Why were dress-down Fridays in the UK dead in the water almost before they started? British men throughout history have cared about their appearance and it’s time they took back the initiative.
Under dress, just slightly, for every event.
- Weddings, dinner out, theatre – suits can still work well but make sure you don’t wear work clothes. Invest in a casual suit, cut slightly looser in the European style. You will be surprised how versatile it can be and how much wear you can get from it.
- Wear a smart, fine-wool cardigan instead of a jacket or blazer with formal trousers; alternatively wear a jacket with chinos or jeans. Make sure that you buy the best casual trousers you can afford as the quality will show in the fit.
- You can always leave off your tie but do it with the right shirt. Again don’t choose a work shirt but wear one with a button down collar or select a bigger pattern/stronger colour.
- You don’t have to wear a shirt and you could try a good quality T shirt or polo shirt. A white round neck T shirt looks great under a V neck sweater and chain stores do some great layered look versions.
- At a casual event you can get away with a rugby shirt or a brightly patterned shirt provided it’s clean and fresh. Remember though – some items are designed to be tucked in and some aren’t and nothing ages a man more than tucked in shirts and high waisted trousers (and no, don’t mention Simon Cowell!)
Don’t look like you are wearing your son’s clothes.
- No really, don’t look like you are wearing your sons clothes – the world is full of men in too tight trousers and shirts gaping at the seams. Check items for fit and don’t keep wearing the same sizes that you have for the last ten years.
- Denim is fine but don’t go for too tight or too baggy – and be very wary of a denim jacket. Jeans must be well cut, dark and look great with a jacket – either leather or modern and loose fit.
- Tracksuit bottoms should stay on the playing fields. Chinos and cords are just as comfy and won’t leave you looking like a Telly Tubby.
- Blaring designer labels don’t really look good on anyone – ditch any garment that has a logo so large you can read it at ten paces and avoid any fakes.
.Pay attention to accessories
- Apparently the average man replaces his underpants once every eight years. This is a slippery slope, need I say more?
- Match your belts to your shoes and remember to wear casual belts with casual trousers, especially jeans.
- This also applies to shoes – wear casual shoes with casual trousers, so leave those work shoes behind and go for some comfortable round toed boots or loafers.
- Socks with sandals? Yuk.
- Glasses and watches – go for a quality watch and a cool pair of glasses. If you haven’t gone for the heritage watch option then these items are a great way to add a gentle fashion edge and make you look younger.
- Whilst you’re paying all this attention to your look maybe this is the time to face up to the thinning and finally go for that buzz cut – whatever you do never, ever attempt a comb over!
More Smart Casual Tips to come soon!