Who doesn’t want more return on their money? More value for the time spent, erm, spending it? In fashion-speak, this involves investing in everyday men’s fashion staples. Then, dispersing the pieces across several ensembles for any and every occasion: casual, smart-casual and semi-formal.
But aren’t we already doing that? To a degree, yes. However, learning the art of unlikely menswear combos will take your wardrobe versatility to another level; it’s wearing off-duty items with active pieces, and loungewear with tailored office attire. The more abstract – that is, the melange of high and low pieces – the better, as seen in the following six unlikely menswear combos. It’s a case of incredible fashion contrast and style juxtaposition, that’ll set you apart from the rest.
Topcoat & Trackies
Track pants aren’t just for hot dates with the television and couch anymore. Thanks to deluxe loungewear, you can now wear them out on human-dates too.
Fashionising track pants relies on restructuring: a tapered leg, streamlined fit and quality fabrics (from cashmere to jersey cotton) that makes them a quasi-trouser, particularly in a neutral colourway.
While you certainly won’t be rocking track pants to the office, wedding or dinner party, the formalities of the topcoat aren’t amiss with the neo-luxe trackies. Just make sure the topcoat – chesterfield, mac or car coat – is soft, long and unlined. Worn open with a henley shirt, scarf and retro sneaker, it’s an ideal look for running errands or relaxed weekends.
Double-Breast Blazer & Vintage Denim
The formality (and occasional stuffiness) of the double-breasted suit receives new life with vintage denim – that is, torn and washed-out giving it the appearance of a life well-transpired. The key is in silhouette: a slim-leg and a seat in the jean that allows for the waistband to sit at suit pant height.
Finally, the rolled-up hem and leather dress shoes (socks or without) make the distressed denim/blazer combo effortlessly smart. Just be sure to only fastened the second button on the blazer. And inject a windowpane check of chalkstripe pattern into the sartorial mix for some print interest.
Shorts & Leather Boots
For an edgier take on summer dressing, shorts underpinned by leather boots are an essential pairing. Only some boot types work: worker, military, desert and Chelsea boots (nothing hiker or overly formal). Made from leather or suede, boots with shorts look best a little worn and in dark colours – chestnut, charcoal, black and khaki.
Paired with a sturdy knit or heritage denim shirt, keep the shorts equally rugged (think washed-out denim or thicker chinos) in a slim-regular cut. Or go for utility pockets or a camo-print to really channel the army theme. Above all, nothing skin tight, and too short. Period.
Cropped Jacket & Shirt (& Tie)
From the spread-collar to the military-inspired bomber, off-duty jackets are perfect fashion-changers for the office. Adding style to a cool shirt-and-tie combination, ditch the suit jacket for the casual coat; the fit, fabric and colour mimicking that of a dapper blazer (sleek, natural and neutral), so not to look too street casual.
Other tailored trimmings should follow suit too: leather shoes, socks and chino/trouser. Then add some acetate shades in the summer or buttery leather gloves for winter months. And a classic timepiece to set-off the wrist.
Roll Neck & Shirt
Nothing feels better than a bit of functional fashion in the cooler months.This season’s two-in-one pleasure is the controversial roll neck: part knit; part scarf. Let all images of tight turtlenecks in yucky-brown escape you. Instead, the roll neck is far more Euro than library geek: an easy-fit shape, light knit texture and modernly served in monochrome black or off-white.
The unlikely pairing comes via the collared shirt. A white cotton button-up shirt layered over a fine-knit, short-roll sweater with the collar open slightly, is one stylish interpretation. While, a higher neck roll can underpin a button-up fastened all the way, ensuring the shirt is slim and untucked, and with casual utility pockets to off-set any gawkiness. Never wear a tie with this look.
Suit & Sandals
Start with a lightweight linen, cotton or seersucker suit with sandals. Colour, shape and print (checks/stripes) is completely personal, but monotone and neutral with keep you in good steed with fellow party-ers. And stick with leather sandals, in a chic and sleek design, nothing bulky, synthetic and velcro-closed.
Finally, go minimal with your accessories – wearing a tie with sandals and tailoring looks like you’ve forgotten to put on dress shoes before leaving the house. And the shirt should be a plain tee or unbottoned, collared shirt – Oxford or poplin.
What are your favourite unlikely menswear duos?