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 “Oxford Cloth Button Down”. FYI: OCBD = Oxford Cloth Button Down. As a side note: The Oxford Cloth Button Down shirt is one where the collar points can button to the shirt (and should, unless you’re emulating a certain Italian race car driver). These are also known as the Original Polo Shirt as they were introduced to the United States in 1896 by Brooks Brothers after seeing English polo players wearing them.
I 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Khaki Chinos are invaluable, own a couple pairs.
Pair interesting (color or pattern) neckties with otherwise uninteresting combinations.
Tweed is the most subtle way to add color to your ensemble.
Cords (corduroy pants) are almost as invaluable as Chinos, own a couple pairs in different colors.
Cool weather requires an extensive amount of sweaters, sweater vests, and cardigans.
If the weather is cold, and you don’t own a winter-weight suit, then get yourself an overcoat.
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.
The lines between Business Casual and Informal Social are blurry, if they exist at all.
It never hurts to dress a notch or two above what’s expected.
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?”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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
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.
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!
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.
Heading out to dinner with a friend. For the casual environment, it really is hard to go wrong with Khaki Chinos.
A Sunday of studying and test taking with some good food and good television later that night.
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.