We need to talk about fashion. This is something you can pretty much ignore up until the age of 25, after all, everyone is wearing jeans and a hoody, but after that we enter a no-mans-fashion-land, where some men think it is still OK to carry on wearing jeans and trainers. Ahem. No. Sadly this just gives the impression that you have forgotten you are wearing clothes at all.
So where to begin? Well the feet are a good place to start. If your trainers are welded to your body you may want to take it gently to start, by just getting some new ones. Trainers with attitude are on trend, with leather and suede ones looking pretty smart.
Or you could go one stage further and buy some shoes. Yes, most haven’t owned a pair since their first job interview. But this year is a vintage for shoes, quite literally. Many styles are bing re-born with a vintage look, so you can buy a pair and feel as though you have owned them all your life. Ideal. The great thing about a pair of shoes, is that it makes everything else you are wearing look smarter. So, yes, it means you could still wear jeans.
The legs are the most delicate of issues, and I am not recommending anything radical here. There are a lot of coloured jeans around at the moment, but I have only seen one man looking good in them and he had gone for a very faded plum. But kept everything else neutral, so he had a grey wool jacket, mid thigh length and some tan boots a la rugged. Put it this way, if you are going for coloured jeans, then you are going to have to think very hard about what to wear with them. If you go for traditional blue, then it’s far easier to mix and match. Oh, and forget chinos, those awful baggy hips make everyone look ten years older.
So, let’s say you now have a pair of chestnut brown vintage shoes and some smart new jeans that fit well. Already you are looking like an advert for Georgio Armani. In fact Armani jeans are a hot tip. They actually fit, something to do with being stretchy, I am told, and are also unbelievably comfortable.
But what to wear on top? To suggest that you might go from a T-shirt to a blazer and cravat would be ridiculous, and totally impractical. Remember, you are not going down a catwalk in this outfit, this is for everyday. You are doing all those mundane things, like clearing out your glove locker and walking the kids to school. You need pockets for dog leads and wallets otherwise all these things are going to be bulging and dangling about your person, ruining the look.
The answer is a khaki jacket with a few discrete details. Modest and sexy. We are doing earthy machismo combined with urbane charm. Under the jacket, however, is where it gets interesting. T-shirts are just so comfortable that they have to be allowed, but only the long sleeved variety, unless you have arms like Arnie or a tan like Ray Fearon. In all other circumstances short sleeved T-shirts should be treated as if they were a vest – nothing more than a sensible starting point.
Over the top you need a thin cashmere jumper, or in fact any jumper as long as it looks good with the jeans and shoes. Grey looks good with just about everything, but there is no reason why you can’t have a different colour for every day of the week, after all the outfit is pretty neutral so far. Once the weather gets colder, start piling on the layers. Layers are the best way to keep warm and you keep getting new looks as each layer is peeled off. So a grandad shirt, nice soft collar, nothing uncomfortable, could easily go between the T-shirt and the jumper.
To finish it all off with an item of resolute integrity, try a college scarf. Here is where you play with colour. You will look gorgeous.