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Style Substitute: Jackets

April 18, 2013 Leave a comment

Style Substitute is a series that will show you how replacing just one item in your outfit can have such a large impact on the rest of your appearance. I know that most won’t have the time or resources to go out and buy an entirely new wardrobe, so I’m going to start off one piece at a time.

A weird trend I’ve been noticing everywhere is topping off an office attire with a casual, sporty jacket (I am differentiating this from a”sports jacket” AKA “sports coat”, which is perfectly fine and will be discussed later) . This looks strange and has no place in a proper workplace. It’s like people are thinking “Oh I’m going to look uptight looking formal so I have to spice it up and look hip with a Nike windbreaker!”

What the hell?

I don’t even have to explain in-depth why this is a terrible look. It’s a walking contradiction. It’s akin to wearing sweatpants with a shirt and tie (I hope I’m not giving you any ideas) or wearing dress shoes while going to the gym.

Substitutes 

1) Cardigan

The cardigan has a rich and illustrious history. Unfairly labelled as clothing your grandpa would wear, a proper fitting cardigan can be an excellent business casual outfit: A step-up from a casual jacket, but not as intimidating as a blazer.

A cardigan can be dressed up with a shirt and tie or dressed down with a t-shirt. It’s one of the more versatile jackets one can find.

2) Blazer / Sports Coat

There are many who think that the difference between a blazer and a sports coat is worth arguing. I’m not one of those guys. A blazer/sports coat is a jacket similar to a suit jacket. The difference is that they aren’t meant to be worn as part of a suit, and thus have no matching trousers. Most will have different colored buttons or casually styled pockets, a dead giveaway that it isn’t meant to be part of a suit.

A blazer or a sports coat is an excellent way to look more professional, especially here in the Philippines where these are reserved for weddings, proms, and CEOs. If you don’t want to look too intimidating, you can opt to forgo the traditional navy blue or black and go for light blue or medium gray.

The key thing about wearing a blazer or a sports coat is that there should be contrast between the pants and the jacket. Keeping them too close to each other in terms of color makes it seem like you’re trying to make it look like a suit — which you’re not supposed to do.

In terms of material, I’d lean towards a cotton / linen blend, as opposed to a mostly polyester jacket. This is because of cotton and linen’s breath-ability compared to polyester. Cotton and linen are also low maintenance. They’re meant to look a little wrinkled, and they still look damn good. If your workplace allows track jackets, it’ll allow wrinkled cotton jackets.

Three blazers / sports coats. Note the contrasting buttons which characterize a blazer, not a suit jacket. Also note the clear contrast between the jacket and pants. Also look at the guy in the middle. He still looks extremely casual while looking neat and put together. That’s what a blazer will do for you.

“Can I also wear a suit jacket as a make-shift blazer?” Yes you may, as long as — again — you don’t try to match the colors of your pants to your jacket. Unless of course, you’ve decided to wear the matching pants. The most classic combos are a navy suit jacket and grey / khaki pants.

 

 

Do you have any other substitutes for the track jackets people wear on top of dress shirts? Hit the comments below!

Job interview attire for fresh graduates

September 20, 2012 Leave a comment

Fresh out of college I was able to attend plenty of exams and interviews in different fields. Honestly, I was saddened at the lack of preparation men my age went through to present themselves. I saw my potential peers with unshaved beards, earrings, and even tattered jeans.

You really want to give the HR team a great first impression even before you get to talk to them. Otherwise, they could just pick from any of the hundreds of applicants out there. Unfortunately, first impressions really are everything, especially when it comes to hiring people. How you dress affects how people perceive you. The moment you walk through their door, they’re scrutinizing you: how you greet, how you move, and yes, how you dress.

Some more tips and reminders after the jump! Read more…

Thoughts on Skinny Jeans

September 18, 2012 Leave a comment

So skinny jeans are in. I recently tried out skinny jeans in a department store. They made me feel like I was going to be impotent by the end of the day. Yes, skinny jeans may look good on underweight models, but again, we have to consider a few things: In our humid climate, a relatively warm fabric like denim is only going to trap heat as it clings to our legs.

It’s also important to note that if you have a large upper body, skinny jeans will make you look weird and disproportional.

Men with large upper bodies or those possessing a large gut will want to stay away from skinny jeans, no matter how skinny their legs are. It just draws attention to places you don’t want attention drawn.

Here’s my proposition. Why not go for slim fit jeans instead? It’s a positive that we’re veering away from the baggy jeans that became so popular years back, but one need not go all the way. There’s a significant difference between skinny and slim.  Allow a classic jeans manufacturer: Levi’s — to demonstrate:

Levi's 514 - Slim StraightLevi's 511 - Skinny

On the left is their Slim Straight fit, and on their right is their Skinny fit. Again, if your legs are as skinny as the man on the right’s, then skinny jeans will probably look good. However, just look at how constricted his thighs are. For the rest of the population, Slim Straight will be just fine. Not overly baggy — which makes you lose all definition and puts on an extra ten pounds — but slim and well-defined.