Your wardrobe just got a promotion
If come Friday you can’t wait to throw off the stuffy business suit in favour of an old pair of jeans and a sweatshirt, you could be missing a trick, and wasting money on twice as many outfits as you need.
The savvy dresser knows that with some judicious styling, the pieces that serve you well for the 9-5 can hit their targets at the weekend, too.
“Dress codes are blurring more and more, so using workwear casually has never been easier,” says menswear stylist Holly Macnaghten, who has dressed the likes of Ansel Elgort, Ralph Fiennes and Bill Nighy. “The key is to keep what you’re wearing simple, use block colours like navy or camel and avoid mixing patterns.”
With that in mind, here’s how to keep your work wardrobe on the clock, even when you’re not.
Suits no longer just mean business, but if you want to wear yours casually you need to get your ducks in a row (to use a hackneyed corporate phrase).
Choose a jacket that has no more than two buttons and a soft shoulder with little or no padding, also known as ‘deconstructed’. Once you’ve swapped your business shirt for a T-shirt, it will look more at home beneath the understated shoulders. In the colder months, layer up with a hoodie, track top or roll neck depending on the occasion. Below, have the trousers finish at the ankle, and you can wear a pair of smart leather trainers with them as well as your work brogues.
The finishing touch here is your attitude. Try and forget you’re in a suit and pretend it’s a tracksuit instead. Your style stock just went up 10 points.
Say what you want about Kanye West, the one thing he got right was mixing traditional formalwear and sportswear. To that end, adopting his tack of wearing a smart overcoat with far more casual clothes than usual has myriad benefits.
Make like Ye and pull on a premium hoodie and pair of joggers, then throw a smartly cut wool overcoat to finish things off. You’ll be comfortable thanks to the joggers, but the addition of an elevated top layer will lift the whole outfit, and you’ll go from gym-rat to streetwear mogul in the blink of an eye.
When it comes to colours, classic navy, grey and black overcoats will all work well, but for those in the advanced class, try camel as a way to stand out from the winter crowd.
Wearing shoes meant for work in a casual setting should be fine. But, we live in a world where people still think it’s acceptable to wear bootcut, stonewash jeans that are frayed at the hem with brown, pointed leather loafers. Don’t do that. Just don’t.
Instead, invest in a pair of leather Derby shoes or boots in black or dark brown. Then, once you’ve finished wearing them to work, give them a day’s rest on Saturday and wear them on Sunday with a pair of straight or slim-cut jeans or trousers that finish just below your ankles.
You’ll walk taller, and if you’re out with your be-trainered friends, you’ll like the most successful of the lot.
It’s likely that your suit trousers, along with your smarter chinos, spend the weekend locked away in the wardrobe while those jeans you love so much are out living it up. It shouldn’t be that way, though.
Denim is a durable, do-anything fabric, sure, but there’s no reason those trousers you wore all week couldn’t do the same.
Swap your on-duty shoes for a pair of minimalist sneakers and a chunky knitted jumper and give your work slacks the time of their life. Swap the shoes back afterwards, and you might even get away with this look in the office come Monday. Rulebook? What rulebook?
Nothing signifies clocking off for the week quite like undoing your collar and rolling up your sleeves, but shunning shirts for the weekend is a mistake. Instead, make them work overtime.
Keep your button up tucked into your trousers, but instead of putting a tie on as well, leave the collar open and wear a crew-neck sweatshirt over the top. Too hot? Keep the collar done up but remove the sweatshirt and roll the sleeves up.
When the changing season calls for an annual review of your outfits, promote the shirt to a top layer by wearing it over a light roll neck for an interesting, winterproof take on the tried and tested ‘shirt over a T-shirt’ combination.
It would be a shame to put on your best suit, shirt, tie and polished leather shoes to then finish the look with a digital watch that doubles as a TV remote. That where a work watch comes in.
Not too dissimilar from a dress watch, an on-the-clock timepiece should be smart and understated, with a plain face, slim case and black, leather strap. All of which needn’t be expensive.
Luckily, a work watch doesn’t have to exist only in the office, either. In fact, it will look far smarter poking out from under the sleeve of a denim shirt at the weekend than the aforementioned Megatron 3000. Use your time wisely.
A tie may be the universal symbol of working for ‘the man’, but what if we told you it is possible to stay knotted while relaxing with a few easy tweaks?
First of all, ditch anything that isn’t knitted. Silk ties look the business in the boardroom, but they don’t pass the pub test. A softer, more casual knitted tie can be worn knotted but pulled open at the collar with a V-neck jumper over the top or a leather jacket, if you’re feeling adventurous.
Granted, even this is not standard Saturday fare, but if you’re headed to a party and you want to make an impression for the right reasons, this is the way to go.