Does casual have to mean sloppy?
Style conundrums assessed.
There is never a good time to be sloppy. Even when building a tree house in the country or planting trees to save the world from environmental deterioration.
While a shirt, tie and dark trousers for work are pretty much uniform in any corporate environment, sliding in to work in a ratty, collarless tee with baggy, high-waisted, acid-washed jeans for casual Friday just won't cut it. And if you think a polo tee and a pair of baggy chinos is an upgrade, think again.
It's hard to define "the perfect casual wardrobe", unlike office-ready garb, but a rule of thumb is to build a different colour palette from your normal (often blue or white shirts with grey or navy trousers). Invest in a pair of straight-cut indigo jeans or slim-cut chinos, and a denim shirt that sits well on the shoulders and end just below your belt. If you're feeling adventurous, maybe try a plaid shirt with a pair of salmon-pink tailored shorts.
Then slowly add on other items: Maybe a white long-sleeved Henley and a fitted navy cardigan. If you've been working out, a V-necked tee can show off your efforts (just make sure it isn't cut too low; TMI...).
As for footwear, leave your performance sneakers for the gym or track. Instead, pick a pair of suede loafers or boat shoes. Alternatively, go old school with Converse high-tops or Adidas Originals.
For evenings, pick a casual light-weight unstructured jacket that you can wear with your khakis. Mix things up a little instead of your usual tie, with a bold bow tie, perhaps. For the budget conscious, Muji has a wide variety of options from work shirts to accessories to jeans. It even stocks a good selection of jackets as well as underwear and socks.
Just like Rome, a gentleman's wardrobe is not built in a single day. Style guru Glenn O'Brien suggests: "Go out this weekend and try on 20 kinds of jeans and see how they suit you. Next weekend, try a dozen types of khakis. Don't ask me to explain. Just do it."
"Go out this weekend and try on 20 kinds of jeans and see how they suit you. Next weekend, try a dozen types of khakis. Don't ask me to explain. Just do it." - Glenn O'Brien, style guru