A smart/casual dilemma – AskAnt

Morning, Ola, Guten Morgen, Bonjour, Buongiorno, Godmorgen, Selamat pagi, Dea-maidin & Buenos Mias wherever you may be reading this. So without any further ado lets get down to business today and act as a fashion conscious Jimmy Saville (google him for our non-UK readings) and answer the problems of the great masses of ┬ástyle aware men out there. This week’s stumper came via our Facebook page, yes we have one, honest !

Well Dave, firstly better start speaking to mensa cos a Fashion genius is gonna totally answer your query sir ! OK then, lets break this question down.

1) You’re after a look to wear on informal occasions, down the pub to us mere mortals and you don’t, “want to buy jeans and converse All-stars again”. Well fair enough, the answer to this is simple, go for a chino, I refer you back to an AskAnt from 13th March when Blubes wanted to buy himself some strides but not JEANS, sorry are Jeans tres unpopulare ???? Anyway, as I advised him, ” There is literally a pair to suit any man of any colouring and body shape.” In reference to chinos and no matter who you are there are a fit and colour out there for you and your j-lo esque statistics Dave. As with jeans, chino come in pretty much the same fits, O leg, twisted, slim, skinny, baggy, carrot leg, boot cut (Sorry, never a boot cut never) and as Summer is all about colour literally every colour of the spectrum is covered. So as with anything, take a little time out and visit your fave retailers whether that’s in the comfort of your home via the use of the information super highway or your local high St or mall. I would advise, and hopefully save you some time, if there is a cut of jeans or a denim brand you favour, I’d let that be your first port of call. But no matter what you want to spend, chinos are a key staple of a man’s wardrobe at the moment and please don’t think that they are exclusively the attire of exchange students or hooray henrys, every one from Primark to Polo Ralph Lauren and Burberry to Burton are producing great examples of them.

A Rainbow of Ben Sherman Chinos

I'll take a pair in every colour - Dockers

2) Shoes, all important, don’t leave home without them, you don’t wanna invest in a classic pair of Converse and I’m reading in-between the lines, that you might already have a pair or two, am I right ? That’s cool, then what I’m thinking is a choice of two opinions;

a) Oxford or brogue type shoes –

In recent years we have seen a real return to the great British formal shoe as a fashion essential whether worn in a formal or informal manner. Brogues and Oxford style shoes can equally be paired with a pair of jeans as with a suit and can be used easily for work or play.

The Brilliant Grenson Brogues from Selfridges

The Great British Institution Loake shoes

b) Boots –

A return of boots in a hiking-esque kinda way was seen all over the catwalks of Milan, Paris, New York and London and it certainly didn’t take long for the high St to jump upon this trend and brilliantly aswell ! There aren’t many men who don’t suit a certain type of worker boots is some incarnation.

Either of these type of shoes work really well with chinos (and jeans) plus they are versatile enough to be worn with a suit and for you not to look as though your off to work in the offices of a lumber mill or a manor house.

The Wolverine Boots available from Urban Outfitters

3) The all important top half. We’ve sorted you out with the bottom 50% of you, now for the upper part of Dave. Right, brilliantly you laid out what you did and didn’t want from an outfit, thank you sir, this is really helpful as it gives me a guide to work from. Quite rightly a guy like yourself in his….. mid 30’s doesn’t want to look like Mutton dresses as Lamb or even Mutton dressed as a Hoxton graphic designer, (sorry hoxton graphic designers reading this blog, I love you really). I hear you ask, but only girls can do Mutton dressed as Lamb surely ? Elton John’s partner David Furnish, Peter Stringfellow, Shane Warne (of recent time), I rest my case your honour !

So in my learned opinion to finish this look off with as much style as your bottom half I’d firstly go with either a sweatshirt or cardigan. The unpredictable nature of the British summer means you could equally be dressing for rain and wind as much as for barmy heat and sun, so layer up my friend. This is another chance to show off your style knowledge of menswear trends in selecting to wear some colour, without looking like a kids TV presenter. One thing I would say, to prevent smart Alec’s having a go down the pub and for your own self confidence is, if you go for a brighter colour in your chinos go for a darker colour in selecting your garments of choice for your torso. The cardigan has been back around for longer enough now that even the most style illiterate of men most be able to see the benefits of it. Additionally, the sweatshirt has made a Christ like comeback for this season and is appearing in more colours then Joseph had in his technicolored coat.

If it's good enough for Bond. I can't see many people laughing at his cardi, hey ?

Acne from my-wardrobe.com

Now yes, you could finish this piece of Michael-Angelo style outfit with any number of T-shirts whether a polo shirt, a striped nautical number or even a vintage rock piece, any of these would go perfectly with a cardigan or sweatshirt.Or go with a formal shirt, OK a formal shirt and a cardigan thats fine, but no what I’m suggesting is a formal shirt, maybe a chambray or a nice oxford button down with a …….SWEATSHIRT ! Yes I know, but please trust me on this one Dave it works and works exceptionally well, honest.

Now after that bombshell, it’s all in the styling and how confident you feel. If you’re feeling particularly confident fasten the top button up on your shirt, wear your chinos with turn ups, even wear your brogues with bright coloured socks or even NO SOCKS !!! Plus, there’s always the sweatshirt and formal shirt combo, but lets not push these things, little by little mate or some luddite will say something to you at the bar and it will either knock your style confidence back lightyears or his teeth back his throat and we don’t want either of those to happen.

all that is left for me to do is to tell you, the choice is yours ??? Let us know what your decision was and join us again soon for another style clinic.