Q: My friend recommended your website, and I'm impressed. I'll be even more impressed if you can help me out: I'm a 43 year-old doctor who just doesn't get it when it comes to fashion, both in and out of the office.
Most fashionistas address the female frump. What prescription can you provide for a man who needs a professional makeover for work and for play? I'm 6' and 250 lbs, with most of my extra weight evenly distributed.
A: Dear Doc - You're so right. We fashionistas do tend to address the clothing concerns of our sisters, letting out brothers languish in the land of blah. But no more! I hereby pledge to consistently add content to the Dress Your Man section of this site. May it be a beacon to guide you through stormy style seas.
Now, a while back I emailed Doc a LONG list of questions so that I could better answer this question but I haven't heard back from him yet. Hey Doc! Check your junk mail!! I just resent that email today.
In the meantime, I'll start this series with some basics, move on to specifics, and address Doc's individual points once they arrive. This is going to be so fun!
Let's set a ground rule first.
“Dress for the position you want” still holds true. For Doc, the respect of his position as a doctor demands a proper wardrobe. (I know of what I speak. My father is an eye surgeon and I’ve been in the medical world my whole life.) No doctor should ever wear jeans to the office. Period. If your daily uniform doesn’t consist of scrubs then it better be slacks. Well-tailored trousers are a must. The same holds true for any and all other office men. Unless you have a required uniform, save the jeans for Hawaiian-shirt day. No, I don’t care if your boss wears jeans and t-shirts every day. Set a better example. You don’t have to wear a 3-piece suit, but elevate your look and hope that others follow. It’s a proven fact that people who dress better perform better.
Now that we've established the bottom line, let's take one step up and cover 5 wardrobe basics.
L: Navy Blazer- JoS. A. Bank, R: Plaid Sport Coat - Nordstrom
1. Do you know the difference between a blazer and a sport coat? A blazer will come almost exclusively in navy, camel or black, often with brass buttons. Goes with everything from jeans to khakis to trousers. Sport coats are more boldly patterned or textured, think tweed, herringbone or plaid. Also goes with jeans, khakis & trousers. Pair either with jeans to elevate date-night options. Pair a sport coat with suit-like trousers to take a step down from a full suit. Start with a navy blazer and tan pants to be appropriate for almost anything.
2. Do you know which shirt collar looks best on you? A regular straight-point collar is the most universally flattering. If your face is larger or fuller, stay away from button-down collars, which can make your face look bigger.
If you have a round or oval face, a longer-point collar will be flattering.
Long and narrow-faced men will get a nice balance from a spread or Windsor collar.
L: Flat front - Nordstrom, R: Pleat front - Nordstrom
3. Do you know whether flat-front or pleated pants look better on you? Unless you are a truly “full-bodied” man, flat front is the way to go. It’s slimming and looks more current. Pleats add bulk in the front, which adds visual pounds.Now, if you do have some serious extra pounds, then pleats can be more forgiving and give you extra room to sit down comfortably. But boy, those pleats better lie FLAT when you’re standing! If they don’t, you need a bigger size.
4. Your belt and shoes need to match. End of discussion.
5. When choosing socks - match your pants first, then your shoes. Tan pants = tan socks. No tan socks? Choose a color to match your shoes.
Did you know that most men own more white socks than any other color sock? And yet they don't own a single pair of white pants! Keep the white socks reserved for the sport court. I think one of the roots of this error is men somehow started thinking they needed to match their socks to their shirts (and white shirts are a staple.) Not so!
Ladies - if your man doesn't have a supply of socks to match all his pants, then you know what you're getting him for Christmas. Every other year or so, I load up all my husbands pants in a garment bag and head to the store. I hang them all up and make sure I have 2 pair of socks to match every pant. When he gets new pants, we buy the socks right then and there.
I hope you enjoyed the first post of this series. I'm having a great time putting this series together! Stay tuned for elevating weekend wear and letting your clothes do a better job of introducing you!