*Guest post by Patrick Liu
The Approach to a casual outfit
With the summer season right around the corner, let’s talk casual outfits. Great weather means more time away from the home, and of course, many opportunities to look good while you’re out there. So out with the wool coats, in with the v-necks!
But before I move into my super exciting details, let me preface the article with is one golden rule:
If it don’t fit, it looks like shit.
Basically, how clothes fit to your body will absolutely make or break your entire outfit. That awesome new dress shirt you just bought? If it’s too big (or god-forbid skin tight) it won’t matter whether you spent $300 or $50; I’ll tell you right now it’s going to look like shit. You may as well just hand me that $300 and save yourself from buying a bad fitting shirt.
Shit Not shit
I could go on and on about fit. But let’s save that for another article yes?
Generally speaking, when I’m putting together a casual outfit, it’s all about comfort and simplicity. Unless you’re going to the queen’s ball, there’s no need to over complicate things. On any given day, (especially if the sun is playing nice), you’ll find me wearing a pair of jeans, a plain tee, and rocking a pair of ‘chucks.
Give or take a few accessories for a little flare, that’s about it!
So let’s dissect that a little further.
Below the Waist: Jeans
Jeans are a staple to any man’s wardrobe. Their versatility makes them work with almost any outfit. Personally, I like to stick with a darker wash in case I want to dress up, but if you’re feeling pretty confident about your wardrobe, by all means hit up more colorful pairs.
In terms of sizing, I like slimmer cuts. They tend to flatter your body and give you a more modern look. Also, a little taper at the bottom gives your shoes a better chance to shine.
Try to avoid boot-cut jeans. Unless you actually need to cover your boots, or your calves are so big that you absolutely need the pant legs to flare out, don’t wear these.
Below, are 3 suggestions with varying degrees of slim-ness. I like Levi’s since they offer great looks for a budget conscious price:
Levi’s 511 (Skinny) – Slim-fit, with a tapered leg for the slimmer guy.
Levi’s 513 (Slim) – Pretty similar to the 511, but with a wider opening through the thigh and leg opening
Levi’s 514 (Slim Straight) – This fit is a compromise between the “not too skinny but not too baggy” look. 514’s are good choices for anyone that’s used to a wider pair of jeans, and are looking to try a slimmer, more modern fit.
On Top: The V-Neck
Now that you have a solid pair of jeans, throw on a simple v-neck up on top. Just make sure the fit hugs the skin, and doesn’t billow out around the waist.
I would stick with solid colors or stripes to keep it simple (bright or dark depending on your choice of jeans). Solid colors also open up better opportunities for layering with a collared shirt or jacket.
Always double check the armpits for yellow stains.
Just throw on a jacket for a breezy day.
The only thing I’d avoid is crazy graphic tees. Done wrong, they make you look like a douche. Just sayin. (Ignore this statement if you’re from Jersey)
Shoes, Shoes, Shoes
Specifically, Chuck Taylor’s or Jack Purcell’s (The slightly dressier version).
Along with the other pieces in the casual outfit, converse speaks versatility. These shoes are great for mixing and matching, as almost anything you wear up top could work with a pair of converse. Going for a quick walk in the park? Meeting a friend for lunch? Throw on a pair of chucks and BOOM. Instant style.
All the different ways you can work a pair of black chucks!
Feel like dressing it up a bit without looking too formal? Wear fitted khakis, and throw on a slim blazer.
This is where you can play around a little bit.
Throw on a watch, any bracelets, a pair of shades and a trucker hat or fedora. Just make sure that it fits the look that you have on, and the colors aren’t clashing. Accessories complement your outfit, and shouldn’t look out of place.
There you have it folks. Keep in mind, the beauty of a casual outfit is in the simplicity and versatility. Just make sure clothes fit right, and you can be out the door in 5 minutes.
But that’s just one man’s approach to casual outfits. I’d love to hear yours!
Patrick’s a fellow Chicago resident and professional in the e-commerce industry. I’ve known this street savvy gentleman most of my life and I’ve always liked where his head’s at when it comes too style, food and nightlife.