Business Casual? Men’s Style Q and A 03

I’ve been one to embed the video here on the ole site, but I think this is going to be the last time I do that. So, enjoy!

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What goes with what?

What goes with what?

I was going through documents and pictures and whatnot and happened across this little diagram I had found a few years ago.  I wish I could give proper credit, but I’m not sure who the original creator of this chart is.

How it works:

It’s pretty basic.  Look at the pants at the top and then go straight down and this chart attempts to tell you what goes with them.  Most of these seem obvious, but others are often overlooked.  For example, for those just getting started, you may not be fully aware of the difference between a “Dress Shirt” and an “Open Collar Button Down”.  FYI: OCBD = Open Collar Button Down.  As a side note: since I did a quick search and the information doesn’t seem readily available, I’ll tell you here that an Open Collar Button Down shirt is one where the collar points can button to the shirt (and should) but the top button is not to be buttoned.  Most men agree that if the fit is right on the shirt and weather permitting you may unbutton the second button too.  This is very casual, but I have personally seen men button one all the way up and wear a tie with it…. please don’t.

OCBD vs Dress ShirtI also wish there were more shoe options on the list, but if you notice you can readily see what two shoes you should look to invest a few dollars in.  Definitely get a pair of high quality loafers and brown brogues.  Allen Edmonds makes both of these in many styles.  I like the McAllisters and the Waldens.

Links:

There’s another thing on the chart I’d like to clarify.  It calls out the difference between a Sport Coat and a Blazer.  Generally, blazers have metal buttons with a little design or crest on them.  However, blazers are now being made that have horn or synthetic buttons.  I wouldn’t worry too much about the difference between the two.  Anyways, I have another very interesting chart somewhere that I’ll share with you soon.  It’s an interesting look at matching pants with sport coats and blazers.

What to Wear? – Green Tweed – Part 7

In the final installment of this series, where I ask the question: What to wear?, I’ll reveal the last few days of my wardrobe choices for February and share what I’ve learned along the way.

What to Wear? (part 7)

February 22nd – 24th

Spring cleaning reared it’s head and I found myself in work pants and t-shirts trapped in the house for a few days.

February 25th
what to wear
Black Sweater Vest with Striped Shirt
what to wear
Chinos with Black shoes

Monday night at the college.  I’m wearing a very planned out outfit here.  With the dramatic temperature changes we’ve been going through, I wanted to be ready for anything.  Not pictured: Scarf and Cap.  Layering is such a good thing.  It makes going from your warm cozy home to the freezing cold to an overheated campus manageable.

February 26th
what to wear
Green Tweed Sport Coat with Argyle Vest and Green Tie
what to wear
Light Brown Slacks with Brown Captoes
what to wear
Detail of the Green Tie

Unfortunately, there wasn’t a lot of sunshine, so the color on the green tweed sport coat is not nearly as handsome as it really is.  Tweed, in my opinion, is one of the most wonderful fabrics a man can wear.  It’s certainly the most interesting.  I wore this particular outfit to a meeting with my Fraternity.

February 27th
what to wear
Navy Cardigan with Yellow Tie

Another night at college.  Let me add, another cold night at college.  This particular Navy Cardigan is 100% Wool and Made in the U.S.A.  Let me reiterate that it is hands down the warmest garment I own.  Pair it with a scarf and a hat and that’s all I need unless it’s raining.  This yellow tie is one of my favorites.  It has a very subtle striping to it in the same color.  It gives it texture and character.  One of the advanced tips for dressing well is to use texture to your advantage.  Texture, when used effectively, will mature your character and elevate your style.

February 28th
blue button-down
Heavy weight blue button-down
Dark Brown Cords
Dark Brown Cords

Nothing particular to write about.  I believe something came up and a Committee Meeting with my Fraternity was rescheduled so the family went out to dinner.

What I’ve learned this month:

I learned a lot this month.  Taking pictures of what you’re going out in (or even staying home in) definitely makes you think a little more about what to wear.  It’s one thing if five classmates are going to see how you dressed that day, but it’s an altogether different thing when it’s posted publicly to the internet and anyone with a connection can see you.

Ok, here we go, here’s a top ten list of what I learned about how I dressed in the month of February, in no particular order:

  1. Khaki Chinos are invaluable, own a couple pairs.
  2. Pair interesting (color or pattern) neckties with otherwise uninteresting combinations.
  3. Tweed is the most subtle way to add color to your ensemble.
  4. Cords (corduroy pants) are almost as invaluable as Chinos, own a couple pairs in different colors.
  5. Cool weather requires an extensive amount of sweaters, sweater vests, and cardigans.
  6. If the weather is cold, and you don’t own a winter-weight suit, then get yourself an overcoat.
  7. If you own a Navy Suit or Blazer or a Gray Suit or Sport Coat (any shade of gray), then you should own a Pink Tie.
  8. The lines between Business Casual and Informal Social are blurry, if they exist at all.
  9. It never hurts to dress a notch or two above what’s expected.
  10. Shoes can be as important as the shirt you’re wearing, so be mindful of both.

This article has brought this series to a close.  I hope I managed to help you answer the all important question: “What to wear?”

 

 

 

What to Wear? – Pink Tie – Part 6

What to Wear? (part 6)

February 19th
what to wear
Medium Gray Suit with Light Blue Button Down and Patterned Pink Necktie
what to wear
Medium Gray Suit with Burgundy Captoe Shoes

Tuesday marked a night with my Fraternity.  The weather turned very cold just before I left.  Which reminds me of a common complaint I hear regarding the wearing of a sport coat or jacket.  “It’s just too hot.”  I assure you, I was very cold.  Perfect weather for a topcoat.  Unfortunately, living in Tennessee doesn’t afford a lot of opportunity for wearing a topcoat.  However, a trench raincoat comes in quite handy.  At least I hope it does since I just purchased one.

Topcoat aside, if I had checked the weather I would have worn a tweed sport coat with a sweater or sweater vest underneath.  I would have changed, but did not want to be late.  These burgundy Captoe shoes are very comfortable and have stayed in great shape the year or so I’ve owned them.  Get your own pair here: Rockport Men’s Editorial Offices Cap Toe Oxford,Burgundy Brush Off,9 M US.

February 20th

Sorry, no pictures for this day.  Fret not, I was only wearing some navy work pants with a t-shirt.  I was quite under the weather Wednesday.

February 21st
what to wear
Blue Button Down with Creamy Tan Sweater Vest
what to wear
Tan Cords with Dark Brown Casual Shoes

Don’t let these sunny pictures deceive you.  It started raining buckets very shortly afterwards.  This marked a very special business meeting.  Since it was a very informal business meeting I didn’t wear a necktie, sport coat or jacket.  I knew it was going to be standard casual, not business casual, and did not want to intimidate anyone present.  That doesn’t mean you can’t look nice though.

(part 1) feat. a casual blue button-down

(part 2) feat. a Navy Cardigan and Power Tie

(part 3) feat. Tan Cords and Brown Casual Shoes

(part 4) feat. a Med. Gray Suit with Floral Tie

(part 5) feat. a Tweed Sport Coat with a Vest and Power Tie

(part 7) feat. a Green Tweed Sport Coat

 

What to Wear? – Part 5 – Tweed

What to Wear? (part 5)

February 12th
what to wear
Black Slacks with Black Wingtips
what to wear
Whie Spread Collar Shirt, Red & Black Tie, Black Sweater Vest, and Tweed Sport Coat.

My Fraternity hosted several out of state visitors that night, most of which were dressed in the standard Khaki/Gray Pants with Navy Blazer and conservative necktie.  I was glad to keep things conservative, but still stand out a bit.  This particular Tweed Sport Coat, which I will leave unnamed in this post, will be featured in an upcoming post all about thrifting.  If interested in the necktie, here’s a link to buy your own: 100% Silk Woven Red and Black Striped Tie.

February 13th
Plaid shirt
Blue, Green, & Cream Plaid
Dark Brown Cords
Dark Brown Cords with Dark Brown Casual Shoes

Back to school in the middle of the week.  Nothing much to say here, except that my brown socks finally came in.  I’ve got some pretty long feet so I usually have to order my socks.  The particular pair I’m wearing here are: Gold Toe Men’s Microfiber Fashion 3 Pack,Khaki/Sahara/Brown,10-13 (with the exception that I’m actually wearing the 12-16 size)

February 14th
Flogging Molly at the Marathon Music Works in Nashville, TN
Flogging Molly at the Marathon Music Works in Nashville, TN
what to wear
Black Shirt
what to wear
Tan Cords with Black Square Toe Shoes

An awesome Valentine’s Day with my wife.  My best friend got us tickets to the Valentine’s Day Flogging Molly concert at the Marathon Music Works in Nashville, TN.  We had a blast.  Normally I would be in clothing a little more beer spill resistant, but being Valentine’s Day we went to dinner before hitting the show.

February 15th – February 17th
what to wear
Works Pants and PJ Pants with a T-shirt

This might be a good time to mention that I broke one of my toes on the 11th.  So, Friday through Sunday I took the weekend to relax and catch up on homework.  Being who I am though, I was very ready to set the standards high in class on Monday.

February 18th
what to wear
Blue Shirt with Striped Tie, Cream Sweater, and Navy Cardigan
what to wear
Khaki Chinos with Dark Brown Casual Shoes

After a three day weekend of relaxed dressing, I was very ready to step things up a notch.  Monday has become the day I wear a necktie to college.  I’m hoping to continue the trend throughout the semester.  It was also a very cold and rainy night, so I was very appreciative of all the layers.

Stay with me for another 10 days as we wrap up the month of February.  If this is the first part you’ve read, go back and read them all!

(part 1) feat. a casual blue button-down

(part 2) feat. a Navy Cardigan and Power Tie

(part 3) feat. Tan Cords and Brown Casual Shoes

(part 4) feat. a Med. Gray Suit with Floral Tie

(part 6) feat. a Med. Gray Suit with Pink Tie

(part 7) feat. a Green Tweed Sport Coat

What to Wear? – Part 4 – Floral Tie

What to Wear? (part 4)

February 8th
what to wear
Medium Gray Suit with Floral Necktie
what to wear
Medium Gray Suit with Burgundy Captoe Shoes

Use the second picture of my leg as a proper indication of the jacket’s color.  I took these pictures after dark inside without the aid of natural light.  The particular occasion was a recognition dinner at my Fraternity.  The atmosphere called for a suit, but did not demand a sense of business.  Hence, I made some subtle changes to the standard wearing of a gray business suit to fit with a more social occasion.

  • Burgundy shoes (with matching belt) instead of black.
  • A white shirt instead of the usual blue or subtle pattern.
  • A floral tie instead of a more conservative stripe or solid pattern.

Understanding the impression that small differences can make such as a floral tie versus a conservative stripe will cause you to stand out in a very positive way.  The biggest impact you will see is in job interviews or work presentations.  Presenting yourself in a manner that is well put together can leave a lasting impression on the people you need to impress.

February 9th
What Am I Wearing
Khaki Chinos with Black Square Toe Shoes
What Am I Wearing
Yellow Button Down with Blue Stripes

Heading out to dinner with a friend.  For the casual environment, it really is hard to go wrong with Khaki Chinos.

February 10th
what to wear
Black Work Pants with Black Gym Shoes
what to wear
Green Plaid Shirt

A Sunday of studying and test taking with some good food and good television later that night.

February 11th
what to wear
Blue Shirt with Yellow Necktie and Brown Argyle Vest
what to wear
Light Brown Slacks with Dark Brown Casual Shoes.

Monday night classes.  However, the desired affect was attained.  Upon entering the college I made a great impression on the Director of IT.  For all I know I could be interviewing with him in just a few months time for a job at the college.  Keeping yourself dressed at a level above the rest can pay off unexpectedly.

(part 1) feat. a casual blue button-down

(part 2) feat. a Navy Cardigan and Power Tie

(part 3) feat. Tan Cords and Brown Casual Shoes

(part 5) feat. a Tweed Sport Coat with a Vest and Power Tie

(part 6) feat. a Med. Gray Suit with Pink Tie

(part 7) feat. a Green Tweed Sport Coat

What to Wear? – Part 3 – Corduroy

What to Wear? (part 3)

February 6th
what to wear
Light Tan Corduroys and Dark Brown Lace Ups.
what to wear
Light Green Polo.

Another warm day in Tennessee.  The V-neck undershirt peaking out is a matter out for debate.  Initial feelings are that I’ve lost too much weight for this shirt.  The collar is very open now and the alternative is going to be wearing it without an undershirt.  The versatility of a good set of Cords (Corduroy Pants) should not be underestimated.  They go from casual to sport to business casual effortlessly.  The traditional colors for them are the more earthy tan or chocolate brown.  I don’t feel that the purpose and scope of this specific series is going to allow me to touch on “sport” dress with the detail it deserves.  A common misconception is that sport refers to golfing clothes.  It does, but it’s so much more than that.  If you enjoy shooting sporting clays, that’s a sport too.  Sporting dress can include clothes that are lightweight and allow a full range of motion (such as would be used for golf) or clothes that are rugged and snag resistant (such as would be used for Upland Hunting).  What to wear for these sports and occasions is important and deserving their own articles.

February 7th
what to wear
Comic Book Hooded Sweatshirt.
Navy Work Pants
Navy Work Pants with Brown Slip Ons

Thursday turned out to be another intense study day for me.  Got to love the comic book sweatshirt.  It keeps my geek/nerd credit high.

Today wraps up the first week of February and the first week of the “What Am I Wearing?” series.  Going forward this series will be updated biweekly on Mondays and Thursdays.  Updating twice a week is going to give me the opportunity to post the new pics and start to point out trends and nitpick myself for your benefit.  Topics will include socks, shoe styles, and pant choices.

(part 1) feat. a casual blue button-down

(part 2) feat. a Navy Cardigan and Power Tie

(part 4) feat. a Med. Gray Suit with Floral Tie

(part 5) feat. a Tweed Sport Coat with a Vest and Power Tie

(part 6) feat. a Med. Gray Suit with Pink Tie

(part 7) feat. a Green Tweed Sport Coat