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Your Casual Wear Needs An Update!

Apr 1, 2008
As a woman, it is much easier to dress in trendy fashions. Entire stores are dedicated to the low-cost yet fashionable pieces that women crave. We can buy cute, inexpensive clothes in bulk, wear these discount pieces about a dozen times and then throw them out once the hems start fraying, the thin fabric starts tearing and the buttons start popping off. Women's fashion magazines will show images of gorgeous models on the runway wearing the next big thing right next to an article that demonstrates step-by-step how to create this runway look for under fifty bucks. Women's fashion trends come and go in the blink of an eye, but with celebrity gossip rags, fashion magazines galore and department stores hawking these reasonably priced looks, it is easy for most women to keep up. Now, men's fashion...well, that's a completely different beast!

Consider this during your next department store visit: while the women's department can take up an entire two floors, the men's department is usually tucked away in the back corner of one of the floors, taking up minimal space. I can remember several times going shopping with my metro sexual husband and wondering why he would take so long finding one outfit while I could find no less than a dozen in under thirty minutes. After all, the men's department was minuscule compared to the multitude of racks in the women's department I had to climb through. And, yet, this is precisely why it is so difficult for men to find that perfect outfit for a certain occasion. Men's fashion is a lot more stable than women's ever-changing fashion, which is not to say that a Flock of Seagulls haircut would go over as well today as it did in the 80s, but you get my point. Men's clothing includes several more classic pieces that can withstand the test of time, like the white oxford shirt, the white t-shirt and a classic pair of blue jeans.

If you are one of those men who would rather avoid social scenes altogether than go shopping for an outfit to fit the occasion, read on for some tips on pieces you should have in your closet for casual wear. For most men, casual wear consists of an old t-shirt, cargo shorts and flip-flops. Sure, this is a great outfit to wear when mowing the lawn or staying indoors to get drunk and play Guitar Hero all night with a bunch of guy friends, but we are talking about kicking standards up...way up. For instance, what would you say is a great outfit to wear for a first date or to the office on a casual day? You get an F if you even mention your Converse or ultra-skinny jeans. You get an A, however, if you think of at least three of the following casual pieces.

Slim-fit and/or straight-leg jeans - Oh, it used to be all about the boot leg jean back in the glory of our college years! We would cut and fray the bottom of our jeans with the occasional rebel throwing caution to the wind and going full bell bottom. These days, however, slim is in. Slim-fit, straight-legged jeans are casual enough to wear when going out for drinks with the guys, but they can just as easily be paired with a great button shirt and blazer to get you through that first nerve-wracking date. Darker rinses are an easy bet; avoid acid-washed jeans unless you happen to have a time machine set for the 1980s...or you want to remain dateless for the rest of eternity.

White oxford button-down shirt - Talk about a classic that never goes out of style. The white oxford shirt is comparable to a woman's "little black dress." All men need to have at least one of these in their closet for both formal and casual wear. Be sure this shirt is tailored for your body. One of the worst fashion mistakes men make is to wear a button-down shirt that is too bulky (oversized button-down shirts make a man appear frumpy and plump) or one that is too tight (if you can't close the neck button, that's your first clue to go up a size...and, no, you cannot hide this with a tie). The white oxford can take you through all seasons and can be worn under a sweater, blazer or alone paired with khakis or jeans. For a great casual office look, pair the white oxford with some dark-rinse straight-leg jeans, a skinny tie and some conversation-making cufflinks.

Blazer - The blazer is not quite a suit, but still quite classy. Men would be well-advised to keep a blazer or two in their closet for those casual occasions that call for just a bit more formality. Your best bet would be to choose a solid-colored blazer that will stand the test of time. No, it is not necessary to wear a blazer with dress pants. In fact, blazers go quite well with jeans and dress shoes. Opt for a black blazer first. This will pretty much guarantee you will get more use out of it over time.

Black/brown shoes - Naturally, you will want to have some shoes to wear with your oxford and blazer, right? Splurge a little on this item and go for well-made Italian shoes that will be more durable and more classic than other styles. The Italians know shoes almost as well as they know pasta...trust me on this issue. These shoes will fare well for both your casual and formal social calls.

Some other items you may want to make sure you always have in your closet? An assortment of solid-colored ties (both regular and skinny) and a solid black belt or two. Also, keep a pair of quality cuff links on hand just to be safe. Retool your idea of casual wear to include these items and you'll be much more impressive when out on the town or working away on Casual Friday. No, you do not need to get rid of your grungy t-shirts and ripped jeans. Just be sure to keep them to yourself; i.e. never be seen in public with them!
About the Author
Cufflinks...a perfect compliment to the well-dressed man. Cufflink Aficionado carries a broad range of cufflinks designed to meet each connoisseur's individual style and interest. Our selection of casual men's wear cufflinks are sure to top off that perfect look. Cufflink Aficionado
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