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How to dress down - while dressing up?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by sleepyrice, May 8, 2006.

  1. sleepyrice

    sleepyrice New Member

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    Okay, new question:

    I typically wear suits everywhere, if I want to dress down I just remove the tie and unbutton the top two buttons.

    I feel better when I'm dressed well, however sometimes I just want to jump out of my East Village apartment and run to the store or to the gym. It's a little impractical that I 'dress' to do this - however (niave) this is just what I've been doing.

    I've got a little bit of a belly (yes the gym is helping) - but I don't feel comfortable walking around with just a shirt, button down. I think the suit coat helps give my body some structure.

    I've seen some guys wearing sport jackets - or something close - I'm not a huge fan of the nautical buttons - but am open to this kind of thing - is this what you guys wear?

    What are the rules on sport jackets - if I grab one with stripes then my pants and shirt should be plain?

    What else do you suggest to dress down?

    Thanks!
     


  2. Aureus

    Aureus Senior member

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    I tend to walk around in jeans, dress shirt/polo/t-shirt and a sports coat or blazer. More recently I've added a track jacket to that mix as well...

    Though I'm not exactly wearing dress shoes with any of those selections.

    As far as sports coats and blazers, you'll hear a lot of 'pin stripes are for suits', its not a rule everyone agrees with (IE, I don't). But its decent advise if you're self-conscience of how you look.
     


  3. marc237

    marc237 Senior member

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    Well, a suit, irrespective of tie, will certainly make you better/differently dressed than most in the EV. There are a wide array of wonderfully patterned sports coat that can be worn with good shirts and nice trousers. What I like about sports coats is the rich variety of patterns, textures, and colors. As a fellow NYC resident, you should check out sample sales, Filene's, and Century 21 if you are looking to do this on the cheap.
     


  4. teddieriley

    teddieriley Senior member

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    Wait, you smell that?
    Do you mean dress down in general, or specifically for just running down to the market or heading to the gym?

    If you mean generally for a casual day on a Sat. where you go to a farmer's market or just walking around, I would say Aureus's ideas are fine. If i'm going to the market real quick or the gym, I'm wearing a hooded sweatshirt, some shorts, or sweats. Why would you need to be dressed up doing those things that should require more comfort - unless you're trying to pick up on someone.

    For something casually dressed, I'll wear a button up with a sweater over it (v-neck or crew), and roll up the sleeves - I suppose you can make it a heavier sweater since you want to cover up this stomach of yours. If it's cold, throw on a leather jacket over it, a sport coat, or some other jacket you like other than a sportcoat. You can pair this with almost any kind of pants, wether they be jeans, khakis, or dressier pants. And I would finish them off with a pair of teva sandals with striped socks. Amazing.
     


  5. alexpham

    alexpham Well-Known Member

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    I also don't look good in just a buttonfront shirt alone. When you want to mix things up and don't want to dress up quite as much as to require a jacket, just pull on a v-neck sweater. It's quick, easy, and lends an air of casual elegance, or at least I think so. [​IMG]
     


  6. tiger02

    tiger02 Militarist

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    And I would finish them off with a pair of teva sandals with striped socks. Amazing.
    [​IMG] yes, amazing.

    Agree with the sportcoat and sweater recs. Go for textural interest as well as visual--corded sweaters, velvet or cotton coats. There are some here who like navy blazers with gilded buttons, and some who don't. If you get a navy blazer, make sure the fit is perfect.

    You may find some things of interest in the streetwear forum. Lots of good recommendations for casual wear, and lots of pictures. Don't worry about the denim-nerds, they don't bite [​IMG]

    Tom
     


  7. globetrotter

    globetrotter Senior member

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    for years I didn't have any casual pants - I actually want to get back in that direction. I would wear a pair of suit pants, without the jacket, if Iwas just running out for a paper of something. if it was alittle cooler, I would wear a sweater. a little cooler, the jacket without the tie. I would suggest doing more or less the same thing.

    you could also get 2 tweed jackets - one in gray and one in blue, for casual wear with your suit pants.
     


  8. GQgeek

    GQgeek Senior member

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    I wear a sportsjacket 90% of the time now and I'm usually surrounded by people in jeans. It's not any more difficult to be well-dressed than it is to be poorly dressed imo so I applaud your effot.

    I've had a lot of stuff done bespoke and MTM which has allowed me to be extremely precise in how I built my wardrobe for the use I intended it, but anyone could achieve the same with careful selection.

    I build outfits around my sportsjackets. I've got pants in basic colors that go well with any of my sportsjackets. Once I've decided on pants and jacket, I pick the shirt.

    The shirt is important in a couple of ways. One, you want shirts taht will properly frame your face. You don't want collars that lay flat. Second, you want them to add some visual interest, especially if you're not wearing a tie, something which I think really completes and outfit, but also increases the outfits' dressiness by a factor that can sometimes be undesirable. As much as I love ties, I chose not to wear them because it invites comments and questions that I really don't want to deal with on a daily basis. With an unbuttoned shirt and a sportsjacket, I get positive comments, but none of the "why are you dressed-up?" questions.

    So I try to add color to the outfit through my dress shirts. If you pick boring patterns you'll have a boring look, so stay away from the regular business fabrics. You want shirts that are interesting on their own, but not excessively loud. I'm not advocating stripeys or their equivalent in checks. However, bolder patterns aren't a bad thing, as long as they're tastefully done. Don't be scared of a little color or pattern.

    Having said that, a plain white shirt often looks great. However, I can't say that plain blue shirts have the same effect on me. I really think they need a tie to look their best.
     


  9. Lord Byron

    Lord Byron Member

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    To "dress" without getting "dressed up", throw on a well-made shirt and jeans. Leave the shirttail out to minimize the belly you're losing. Slide into some loafers. No sneakers. To dress this up, tuck the shirt tail in and throw on a blue blazer--sans gold buttons. Good luck.
     


  10. GQgeek

    GQgeek Senior member

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    To "dress" without getting "dressed up", throw on a well-made shirt and jeans. Leave the shirttail out to minimize the belly you're losing. Slide into some loafers. No sneakers. To dress this up, tuck the shirt tail in and throw on a blue blazer--sans gold buttons. Good luck.

    I disagree. I considered this look at one time and it just never looked right to me. Maybe I just didn't find the right pair of jeans, but I think you'll look infinitely better with well-cut wool (or linen or any kind of blend) pants, a belt that matches your shoes, and a nice dress shirt. I place high importance on the construction of the shirt collar and most sports shirts don't have collars that look very good under a jacket. I live in a downtown aread and most of the time I see guys walking around with jeans and a blazer it looks wrong. Admittedly, once in a while I see someone that gets it right and it looks great, but it's harder than you'd think to do.
     


  11. stach

    stach Senior member

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    now that it's getting warmer, a good item to throw on is a lightweight car coat or a duster. You can get some that look quite elegant, yet casual, and it can go a long way towards polishing a pair of pull-on pants with a sweater, for example.
     


  12. tiger02

    tiger02 Militarist

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    To "dress" without getting "dressed up", throw on a well-made shirt and jeans. Leave the shirttail out to minimize the belly you're losing. Slide into some loafers. No sneakers. To dress this up, tuck the shirt tail in and throw on a blue blazer--sans gold buttons. Good luck.
    More important than well-made is well-fitting. A T&A shirt untucked with jeans looks like crap--just trust me on this one, please. Shirt has to be slim, high armholes, and most importantly short. No more than halfway down your fly; even that is pushing it. Otherwise you just look lilke you, well, threw on any shirt and any pair of jeans.

    Tom
     


  13. mensimageconsultant

    mensimageconsultant Senior member

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    An untucked sport shirt is preferable to an untucked dress shirt.
     


  14. Lord Byron

    Lord Byron Member

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    Tom and GQGeek offer excellent suggestions regarding the collar of the shirt in question and the fit. Comments regarding the wool slacks are right on the money; I was thinking of a more casual look. Many shirtmakers (Charvet being one) now offer a line of shirts specifically made to be worn and look good without a tie. Something else to consider.
     


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