It happens every year around this time in London; if you’re in the city, you’ll be bound to see it. Walking around Green Park or Whitehall; a horde of ill-advised banking and finance kiddies with a uniform to match their lack of exposure to the real world; loose-fitting blue denim with formal shirts to match. Yikes.
Many men working full-time in professional fields may not have enough time to engage in frequent shopping; they’re doing overtime on 9-6 jobs in the City and spend weekends kicking it with chums around their apartments, catching up on work and sleep, or doing egregious amounts of cocaine. Here is the reason behind the instant appeal of the jeans + shirt combination – you’re just wearing what you normally wear, only with the addition of some ill-fitting ‘casual’ pants and shoes that don’t match.
Even celebrities have shown themselves capable of falling victim to this tragic phenomenon. Orlando Bloom was snapped here in New York with a similarly drab getup. The man behind him is looking even more unfortunate.
There is certainly cause to sympathize with these people; they’re too busy with their careers and social lives to work out in order to fit into their clothes, or to buy ones that fit better. In fact, this problem seems ubiquitous throughout users of the business shirt & jeans combination. In the majority of cases the fits don’t work; we have classic fit men’s shirts with ballooning muffin top being carelessly stuffed into loose-fitting jeans barely held together with a belt, and poorly selected shoes and belt to match. Does this mean that all jeans & shirts will look bad together?
Absolutely not, as the man above illustrates; his business shirt is only tucked in at the front, subtly exposing a rich dark brown belt, whereas at the back the shirt hangs out over his jeans. He sports a lighter, more season-appropriate shade of slim-fit denim, which he has cuffed at the bottom allowing his ankles to be the break between his jeans and his low-top purple sneakers – a distinctive and playful adaptation on an overdone and often ill-used style. Note also the accessories on his wrists, which are a good way to dress down any outfit.
In other words, just by buying a lighter shade of jeans rather than having one pair you use all year around, as well as ensuring that the fits on your shirt and jeans are correct, will often suffice. However, to stand out from the rest of the biz-caj crowd, you may want to try out a new outfit combination this summer. For working men, it’s always better to dress down your bottom half before you dress down your top half – so why not go for shorts to fight the summer heat?
If you, like me, live in a country where it isn’t always quite hot enough to justify showing so much skin, you can swap the shorts for some cuffed slim-fitting trousers. This slick ensemble is perfect for a bar or club night out with workmates, but it’s also formal enough to wear to meet clients on weekend calls. You can rely on this outfit to take you through your weekend smoothly.
None of this should be costing you an arm and a leg; if you’re paying anywhere upwards of £300 for an outfit, you’re probably doing it wrong. You don’t need to go to Paul Smith or Ted Baker just for shirts and trousers. Here’s how I picked up the items above:
Topman Premium White Egyptian Cotton Shirt: £38 – $50
Zara Gray Slim-Fit Jogging Trousers: £19 – $25
Clarks Premium Black Business Shoes: £110 – $146
Total cost: £167 – $221
Make sure this summer that you avoid falling victim to the traditional bad fashion tropes that plague young professionals everywhere and equip your wardrobe with what you need to succeed in your professional and social life.