They say time waits for no man. And as any man who’s slept through five iPhone alarms and faced the near-impossible challenge of finding something appropriate to wear in 30 seconds will tell you, they’re not wrong.
But there are ways to minimise the time spent blankly staring into the wardrobe in the morning, as if waiting for a Wallace & Gromit-style invention to – any second now – kick into action and clothe you.
Whether you’re against the clock, or just can’t muster anything that looks vaguely decent staring back at you in the mirror, this is our guide to styling it out when you’re stumped.
You’re already half an hour late, so what’s another few minutes? Whatever you do, don’t panic. Losing your chill because you’re late or think you’ve got nothing to wear definitely won’t expedite the process.
“Panicking leads to frantic and impulsive dressing, which can only result in regrettable outfit decisions,” says Allie Ohyoma, personal stylist at online men’s personal styling service The Chapar. Less wigging out, more figuring out what you’re going to wear.
Check Your Calendar
Just like a suit and tie jars with a few jars down the local, so does a tee and jeans worn to the office. The lesson? Know where you’re going and what you’re doing, before you decide what to put on.
“The most important things to consider when dressing for the day are where you’re going, what you’re doing and how long you’ll be doing it for,” says Ohyoma. It’s like picking the right tools for the job.
Consult The Weather App
It’s not just about meeting dress codes – your decision also needs to take Mother Nature into account. A quick glance at a weather app could be the difference between arriving in style, and arriving sodden.
So if all you’re seeing on your screen is rain clouds, put the suede away and pack a mac instead.
Basics Are Best
Resist the urge to reinvent the wheel. When you’re against the clock, or just racking your brain trying to figure out what to wear to look good/not like a dick, don’t get crazy.
“Don’t overcomplicate things if you’re unsure what to wear,” says stylist Karen Mason, whose work has appeared in the likes of Jocks & Nerds and British GQ. “Keep it simple with classic styles in a neutral colour palette.”
That fire engine red boiler suit? Maybe not today, mate. Instead, it’s best to fall back on the old reliables, those fail-safe pieces that form the backbone of a wardrobe. “Classic items like a white Oxford shirt, a pair of jeans suitable for evenings out, and smart trainers and brogues never go out of style,” says Ohyoma. “Build a foundation to your wardrobe with classic, unfussy and versatile pieces like these, and you can only ever go right.”
Of course, general pointers are all well and good, but what about the quick fixes? The foolproof blueprints for looking good wherever, whenever? If you find yourself at a loss, fall back on these:
For The Corporate Office
OK, so it’s not exactly mind-bendingly difficult to a make a call on what to wear when your coalface has a dress code that specifies one thing and one thing only. (That’s a suit, if you hadn’t already guessed.) However, there’s still a lot of room for interpretation when it comes to ‘business formal’.
Bring your A-game with a navy or blue single-breasted suit, a crisp white shirt, brown brogues or Derbies and a tonal tie in a slightly lighter shade of blue. Job done.
luigi bianchi mantova aw15
For The (Kind Of) Corporate Office
Welcome to the minefield. Watch your step, because getting caught wearing the wrong thing here will at best result in office cooler chuckles at your expense, and at worst land you in an awkward disciplinary, or possibly even cost you a promotion.
It pays to play this one safe with a combination that leans smart-casual but lets you feel comfortable, without incurring the wrath of your boss. Try a white Oxford shirt underneath a merino or cashmere jumper, some neutral-coloured chinos and a pair of leather loafers for a look that’s professional, but not overly punctilious.
For The Weekend
Sometimes it’s the absence, rather than the enforcement, of a strict dress code that’s frustrating. Sure, prepping your finery for a black tie ball is a pain, but at least you know what your hosts want you to turn up in.
The weekend, and downtime in general however, opens up a whole world of possibilities (not to mention potential fails). Steer right with something casual, but not careless – like a classic white crew-neck tee and selvedge jeans as the foundation, with an optional grey sweatshirt and beige camel jacket for when the cold bites.
For A Night Out
More often than not a man’s already three or four cold ones in by the time he starts sorting his club clobber. While this ritual is guaranteed to get the creative juices flowing, it also comes with the risk of you turning out something that skews more car crash than cool.
So make it easy with head-to-toe monochrome. A black leather biker or smart bomber jacket and a grey or black tee worn with slim jeans works everywhere. Cap off with a pair of black Chelsea boots to bring this look’s rock aesthetic to its natural conclusion. Perfect (just don’t swill your pint).
H&M Spring 2015