Gentlemen, it has been quite a while since I posted anything specific for you. I know that's how this blog tends to operate and I'm sorry if you feel neglected. I think I ought to write a standard apology to all of you that I can just copy and paste into the start of each of my menswear posts and then I could save myself a few minutes and a few hundred key strokes.
Anyway, I'm sure you've noticed that I've been writing my sartorial guide to the holidays over the last couple of weeks. So far we've covered Thanksgiving and the office holiday party, but both posts were geared specifically towards women. While navigating the holidays is usually a lot simpler for men- at least in terms of selecting your clothes- it's still something I think we should talk about.
I was in Express the other day and I was so happy to see these outfits on the mannequins:
I smiled when I saw these outfits because they are bright and festive and colorful and yet just about any guy I know would look good in these outfits and could pull these looks off easily. I have never been a fan of holiday-themed clothing in the traditional sense, especially for men. In other words, the last thing I want to see is a necktie with Christmas trees on it or a sweater with a Santa hat pattern in the weave. Male school teachers are especially guilty when it comes to the holiday-themed neck ties. My high school band director always wore those cheesy ties. I hated them then and I hate them still now. Unlike the in-your-face tackiness of the Grinch grimacing up at me from your button placket, the outfits pictured above are classy, sophisticated examples of how menswear can be festive and full of the holiday spirit without being a bit tacky.
Give it a try this holiday season- buy a nice forest green or burgundy shirt instead of your standard white or blue that all you men seem to be so fond of. If you're adventurous, go for the bright green or holiday red shirt instead of the more muted versions of the Christmas colors. Pair it with a pair of nice trousers- charcoal grey, black, tan- these are all acceptable choices- and finish it with a bold tie and an accompanying jacket. For a less formal look, lose the tie and add a light-weight sweater on top instead of a jacket. For a more formal event (where a tuxedo may be involved), try a brightly colored pocket silk. It's a small splash of color that will be merry, festive and bright, but you'll still be as sophisticated looking as James Bond in your tux. A colored vest/tie or cummerbund/tie would not be quite so sophisticated, so beware. Also, if you're a guest, you don't want to look like the wait staff, right? Right.
Fortunately, Express has many shirts and sweaters in bold colors (and even some prints) besides the green pictured above, so here are some great shirt choices to get you through the holidays in style. (More on the specific styling after the photos.)
First up- Thanksgiving (a little late, I know- save this idea for next year):
Modern Fit Stretch Cotton Shirt, Express, $39.90-49.90
Next, Christmas dinner with the family:
Cashmere V-neck Sweater, Express, $96.60
The office holiday party:
Concealed Button-down Collar Fitted Shirt, Express, $54.90
New Year's Eve (informal):
Striped Fitted Shirt, Express, $59.90
These are pretty bold colors, I know, but wouldn't that yellow "Thanksgiving" shirt be great underneath a dark brown sweater? A pair of khakis finish it off for a casual and comfortable day of eating and socializing with family and friends. And the red sweater below it is ideal for Christmas dinner! Layer it over a black button-front shirt and wear black or charcoal grey trousers. Add a necktie to dress it up a little more, or roll the shirt sleeves up over the sweater sleeves for a cool, casual vibe. The office holiday party doesn't have to be spent in a suit a tie or whatever you would normally wear to work. Instead, try a shirt with a bit of sheen, like the pale green one pictured above. If you're really adventurous (and it suits your personality and personal style), try wearing a button-front vest and necktie instead of a more traditional look like a suit jacket. Dark-wash jeans on bottom keep it cool and casual, perfect for a party vibe, but still in the realm of "professional" attire. Finally, go for a subtle print along with the extra bit of sheen for a particularly festive New Year's Eve look. Again, dark trousers or dark wash jeans are both good choices and it's up to you to decide the level of formality, which of course depends upon the event itself. I'm a fan of more casual holiday parties, but I do enjoy dressing up for the fancy ones on occasion.
Now, just in case you're having trouble visualizing these outfits, I've put together some examples for you. I couldn't find the exact items pictured above when I was doing these polyvore sets, but the concepts are all the same. Feel free to leave a comment and tell me what you think of these looks. Would you wear them? Do you know guys who dress like this? Do you WISH your boyfriend/husband dressed like this or do you think I'm crazy for suggesting them? No matter what you have to say, I want to hear it!
Happy Holidays, gentlemen!