Not everyone can spend thousands on smart and casual clothes; I mean what’s the point of buying that expensive shirt when you are really not going to get any use out of it?
We are all often guilty of buying clothes that might look great, but in reality, we may never wear.
However, if you’re adamant to stop this happening, want to build a capsule wardrobe on a budget or just become more intelligent with your purchases, we suggest investing in the five items below – all of which can be dressed up or down effortlessly.
This is one of the most versatile pieces you can have in your closet. It was once designed specifically for miners, cowboys and lumberjacks, jeans are now possibly the single most effective, iconic and popular piece of clothing available to men.
With a countless number of designs, fits and colors to choose from, the outfit opportunities are never-ending. One piece that is the definition of ultimate versatility is the slim dark denim.
Slim-fit jeans are what you would call a happy medium: able to be incorporated into any outfit of your choice, smart or casual, without looking out of place. In comparison, looser fits naturally give off a more relaxed feel, which jars with tailored attire, while skinny cuts, due to their extremely tight fit, are an acquired taste and can easily throw out your outfit proportions.
As previously mentioned, the styling opportunities are vast. Looking for a go-to casual ensemble? Try pairing yours with brown brogue boots, a button-down shirt and crew neck jumper. Prefer something smarter? Consider combining with a crisp white shirt, loafers and a navy blazer.
By purchasing good quality denim, not only will you see a difference in appearance but you’ll reap the financial benefits too. I’ll suggest you invest in the raw (also known as dry) selvedge. Not only durable and hard-wearing, look after it correctly and this type of denim, over time, will develop its own personality.
Loafer is the blank term that refers to a variety of slip-on shoes. The loafer is available in many forms – the two most popular being the penny and tasseled. The ‘penny’ is considered the original and was extremely popular with American prep school students in the 1950s. Tasseled loafers, on the other hand, do away with the slot and feature additional adornment in the form of – you guessed it – tassels.
Penny loafers are best integrated into a sophisticated wardrobe. Able to be dressed up or down to suit the occasion, they will instantly take a polo shirt and chinos combination up to a notch, while more than holding their own when paired with a suit. Tasseled loafers give off a more relaxed vibe and are therefore suitable for those who prefer a more casual (or smart-casual) approach to everyday dressing. However, don’t let their playful nature fool you – they were often used as a brogues replacement by sharply dressed East Coast prep school students in the 1950s, and still make a superb business-casual footwear choice.
Try pairing tasseled loafers with a button-down shirt and rolled-up jeans for a casual Ivy League-inspired look, or wearing the penny design with a slim-cut tonic suit to give your outfit a smarter, mod-inspired edge.
Whichever style you choose, rest assured your new loafers will slot seamlessly into your existing wardrobe.
3. Button down shirt
While shirts are widely considered a wardrobe staple, it is the button-down (collar) version that over time has proven most versatile. Whether worn underneath a crew/v–neck jumper or paired with a tie and blazer, the classic button-down can help give an otherwise ordinary look a subtle touch of individuality?
We recommend throwing yours on with chinos and loafers for a casual look or combining with a suit and tie when looking to take the refinement up a notch.
There are two types you can get, the more casual option is the Oxford cloth button-down (or ‘OCBD’, for those in the know) and often made from 100 percent cotton, which has a heavier, more textured feel.
The second, better suited with smarter attire, is usually created from a mixture of cotton and polyester, giving it a lighter and more luxurious feel.
4. A Blazer
Over time, the blazer has become a modern essential that can be worn both smart and casually. Wearing a blazer is the perfect way to show that you a) mean business and b) know how to dress.
However, while there are now endless designs to choose from, there is one particular style that is suitable for any occasion: the two-button navy blazer. Whether worn with dark denim jeans, loafers and a plain white shirt for a casual approach, or with matching trousers, tie, shirt and shoes for the office, the blazer is a key player in dressing well, and dressing intelligently.
Before you wear that navy blazer in your closet, make sure you abreast yourself with the rules on how to button any blazer.
5. A v-neck jumper
You might not consider this an exciting garment, but the v-neck jumper is one of the most versatile pieces of clothing you can own. Whether you pair it with a shirt and blazer or with a simple jeans and tee combination, you can guarantee it will always look and feel right at home.
Pick out a timeless color like navy blue or dark grey. You can also decide to play around with colors, you just have to pick a hue that emphasizes this versatility, that’s why I think navy blue or dark grey will be perfect. In terms of material, merino wool styles are a considered choice that can be dressed up or down effortlessly. Their lightweight nature also helps to regulate body temperature and will not add too much bulk when layered.
Finally, search for form-fitting styles that leave enough room to layer a shirt underneath. Ideally, the bottom of the jumper will finish just below your belt line and the sleeves should show around a quarter to half an inch of shirt cuff, depending on preference.
Source of images: Pinterest & Yannme