FashionBeans: Men's Fashion & Men's Style Guide
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  1. #1

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    Making the move to "smart-casual"?

    Hey guys, newbie here, nice meeting you all

    I am a 23 y.o. professionnal school student looking to get some advice on how to build up a new wardrobe that would help me break the jeans-and--t-shirt-or-chinos-and-button-up rut in which I have been stuck for most of my college years. I am starting to take a serious interest in style and have read a LOT on the subject, but I must say things are rather overwhelming and I have absolutely no idea what the logical next purchase should be...

    I therefore thought I would post the main elements of my wardrobe and let you guys comment on what I should buy next to complement it and/or what interesting outfits could be built out of it in its present state... Sad as it is, I must say that regardless of how much I read, I often get confused as to what are dos and don'ts when I am trying to dress up stylishly, so any pointers would really be appreciated as I dearly need them

    So, here are the main things I have bought in the last few months since getting more conscious of style and clothes in general:
    - Black sport jacket (need to get it tailored, will do in the next week)

    - Navy blazer with VERY subtle pattern (ditto on the tailoring)
    - Many decent button-ups. Have some in solid white, black, grey and light blue as well as many versatile patterns (I think I'm pretty set on that front, really)
    - Charcoal, black, orange, red and light gray cashmere or cotton v-neck sweaters
    - Good pair of raw indigo denim (Levi's 501s)
    - Khaki and black chinos
    - Good quality reversible brown/black leather belt
    - Brown leather oxfords, navy espadrilles, navy boat shoes (i love navy...), black sneakers.

    There you go. I was thinking my two next purchases would be suede desert boots of some kind (to complete the blazer-jeans-solid-button-up look) and navy or gray chinos (I don't find black to be that versatile, to be honest...). Next on the list would be some solid polos (say, black, navy and gray, or should I experiment more with color?) and a few solid ties...

    Overall, what do you guys think? The good part is that all aforementioned clothes fit absolutely great, and I am starting to feel a lot more confident in my clothes than I ever did before. Still, I'd just like to find a way to break the shirt-chinos or t-shirt-jeans rut. Blazers obviously seem like the easy answer but I keep thinking they look a little too try-hard... Maybe I just need to get used to it.

    Anyway, sorry for writing a novel, I guess law school made me really verbose Thanks a lot for your time in helping me with this. You can expect me to give back to the community tenfolds.

    Cheers!
    -JR

  2. #2
    Nat

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    Welcome aboard JR.

    To be honest, it sounds like you are on the right lines with what you have and what you are planning. Continue to get the basics down, then you can move on from there.

    I know what you mean about blazers feeling too try-hard. I went through this myself. Went from a very casual style to quite a smart one, and now the pendulum is swinging back a bit. I still love to rock a blazer and pocket square, but I've learned that it's not always necessary when you're down the pub with your mates!

    I also agree with the comment on black - I have very little black stuff, as I find it too stark to work with.

    Also, don't be too hard on yourself - nothing wrong with rocking jeans and a T every now and then, as long as the fit is on point.

    So, things you might look to buy soon (you've already mentioned some of this)....

    - Leather jacket - lifts any casual outfit. It's an investment piece though, so get saving!
    - Denim jacket - make sure it's slim fitting. Great for casual autumn layering.
    - Tweed blazer. Very versatile piece, for dressing up and down.
    - I'm all about the knitwear. Sounds like you have a good starting collection there. Try some cardigans. Thin ones for a smarter look and an alternative to the blazer; chunkier ones for more casual layering (under that denim jacket!). I have a charcoal shawl-neck one that gets SO much use over winter.
    - Basic T shirts in a variety of colours. Good for wearing on their own, and for layering when it gets cold.
    - I have fallen in love with polos this summer. Ideal for when a T is too casual, but a shirt is too much.
    - Slim chinos in navy and grey. Also consider olive and burgundy for something different. I love my cords too - as long as they're slim-fit, they won't look too "geography teacher".
    - Some colourful socks.
    - Desert boots are a great casual choice.
    - Brown military/worker boots for when it gets colder and wetter (you will ruin desert boots in winter weather).
    - Some loafers - I love oxblood pennies.
    - Think about your hair too, and glasses, if you wear them - big impact on how you look.

    These are all solid basics, if not necessarily all "essential". From there, you can decide how to develop your own style even further (e.g. double-breasted tailoring, playing with the fit and length of trousers, accessories etc etc).

    Check out the fashion basics series of articles by Matt Allinson. Helped me a lot when I started. Also, the "What I'm wearing today" thread for real-life inspiration from guys on here. And don't be afraid to post pics yourself. Most feedback is constructive on here. Most of all, take your time, and find what works for you, and what you are comfortable and confident in.

    And don't forget...fit, fit, fit. Imo, that is the most important thing in looking good, and what will set you apart from everyone else.

    Hope that helps. Good luck.

  3. #3

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    Thank you so much! VERY helpful post. I'll see what I can come up with and then post a few pictures for sure

    Thanks again,
    -J

  4. #4

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    Hello JR
    nice post... i want to move to smart-casual too..
    but i am moving slowly mayve i can give u some ideas:

    i bought:
    navy chinos
    brown leather belt
    light blue shirt
    and brown boots

    i never liked polos... but i bought one last week.. and i must say... OMG why i didnt bought it before?

    what i want:
    navy blazer
    stone chinos
    grey knitwear
    brown desert boots or something different for summer
    new brown belt -- new one is too wide for chinos damn it
    white shirt- oxford -- but its hard to find some in Slovakia
    wayferer sunglasses... but my face is too weird i think i have crooked face or something.. i am wearing aviators this summer ... but i fel in love with wayferer -- ( which color do u rec.?)

    i am just graduated and looking for job = i want to looks good on job interviws also on work place...

  5. #5
    MarcLager's Avatar

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    Nat gave some good advice, so I can only reiterate what he said.

    He didn't mention to get a good coat. That's an investment piece though, you don't want to skip on quality there, so that's also something to save for.

    Other than that, my advise can only be to look around in street wear and look books for looks you like. Save the pictures to your personal look library, then try to figure out what you need to buy to be able to emulate those looks. It also helps to figure out what you really like.

  6. #6

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    Thanks a lot guys. I bought a couple polos that were on mad sale yesterday, will post some pics as soon as I get the chance!

    The idea of creating a personal lookbook is a great one as well, I'll definitely be looking into it.

    Cheers!

  7. #7
    Nat

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    Quote Originally Posted by MarcLager View Post
    Nat gave some good advice, so I can only reiterate what he said.

    He didn't mention to get a good coat. That's an investment piece though, you don't want to skip on quality there, so that's also something to save for.
    You know what, I was driving home yesterday and I thought to myself "peacoat!! That guy needs a decent charcoal or navy peacoat" - definitely worth saving and getting a good one. Not sure where you're from, but All Saints often have them in their sales. I got a really nice one last year reduced from about 250 to about 120, so shop around and be patient.

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