Dress for the occasion.
You can do anything in life you want if you dress for it.
No one likes to look out of place. Many of us dress to match our friends and coworkers. But if everyone does that then no one is leading. There was a time when people shared simple rules to easily know what to wear for any occasion. But much has been lost since those conventions were rejected in the 1960’s. There were once fashion icons to follow. But today everyone is equally lost. It’s likely your favourite actor, singer, scientist or public personality is as lost as you about clothes – or worse, they are under a lot of fashion pressure.
The style we most see on celebrities is called Normcore. They’re picking the blandest, lifeless, styleless things they can find because they don’t want to be noticed and they don’t want to ‘work it’ when they’re not working it. That this has spawned a market for thousand dollar t-shirts that claim fame for looking just like $5 t-shirts is something for economists and psychologists to work on but should not influence your fashion choices.
For all we can sneer at the idea of normcore, it does raise an interesting issue. Fashion is supposed to be about expressing individual taste, but have you noticed that so many of us end up looking exactly the same in a bad way?
We have unlimited choice in every price range, but so many of us conform to a narrow stereotype — loosely based on blandness and logo advertisements, garish endorsements we don’t get paid for.
As much as we all want to fit in, today ‘reject fashion’ is the dominant rule. We want to dress ‘different’… just like everyone else. Often our first thought when dressing for an occasion is that we won’t dress like the other people. This rejection of form is starting to retreat with lots of social events like Diner En Blanc consciously coordinated.
Nothing about that event that you really don’t feel like going to is going to be made better by wearing clothes that set you apart.
If you’re going to the rink wear warm clothes. If you’re outside working or doing athletics wear layered clothing so you can adjust. If you’re out in the sun wear clothes that cover up but breathe easily. Wear a windbreaker in the wind and a waterproof raincoat in the rain.
It all seems so simple. Yet the same people who wear camo to the woods hunting will be seen wearing it out to dinner or in the grocery store. It’s not working. We can all see you.
If you are really uncomfortable in business clothes, suits, and more dressed up looks make a serious effort to get informed about Country Clothing. The English, Scots, French, Austrians and Germans have a style they call Country Clothing.
If there is a Landrover in the picture people are likely wearing Country Clothes.
Classic tweeds are at the centre of this style. It’s about the colours, fabrics, and patterns they wear out hunting and in the field but the quality, style and cut are so fine that with a few pieces you will likely look far better than just forcing yourself into a suit that you don’t like. And the compliments you get will soon get you into the spirit of that event you were so keen on.
Steve McQueen is a vintage celebrity known to rock a country look.
David Beckham wears country clothing.
When James Bond is not wearing his trademark suits, he’s wearing Barbour jackets and country clothing.
Don’t overthink things. Just wear the white shirt.
You’re not going to look cooler, or more like a rebel, or Casanova, by wearing that purple shiny dress shirt. Just wear the white shirt; short sleeves or long, spread collar or cutaway, tucked in or out. Just make sure it fits properly and you can button the neck comfortably. You’ll look like James Bond or that fashionable old man in the gospel choir. In fact, you’ll look uniquely like every man who knows how to get dressed without making a spectacle of himself and your individual style and personality will show through without being overwhelmed by ornamentation.
Conclusion and Call To Action
Here’s the paradox of men’s fashion: be willing to spend some money on some fundamental things, and it will save you money in the long run. An expensive pair of quality shoes can last you a lifetime and help your feet.
The entire fashion industry is based on the idea of selling you new stuff every season and more and more of the same stuff you don’t need and won’t wear. While it’s fun and useful to add an item or two every season, you really don’t need most of what they are selling you. You just need some basics that will last years.
- Good dress shoes
- A suit that fits, you can start at J. Crew and tailor from there
- A white dress shirt
- Clean white t’s
- A pair of real Khakis like Bill’s
- A pair of shrink to fit Levi’s that you make your own and then never wash again
Check the other articles in this series: