Looking great for a party isn’t hard. RealGear4Realguys is here to help.
This weekend, I’m heading to an office party and a Sunday brunch ornament exchange. What to wear?
OFFICE PARTY. Is it formal or chill? How do you know the difference? If the party starts at 5 and you get to leave work early and it is at the bar down the street, it is a chill affair. If the party starts after 7 and is not located in the bar down the street, it’s probably a bit more formal. Either way, you still need to look great.
For the chill office party your best bet is to plan ahead. If you usually wear a suit to work, wear a blazer and shirt and tie instead, with a pair of wool pants. Add a cardigan if you have an important meeting that day. When you leave for the party, simply lose the tie! If the bar has white tablecloths and no pool table, you can keep your blazer on. Bonus is you will look great, and you will avoid the “suit/white shirt/no tie” look, which says “I didn’t really try.”
Something like this look would work: From nice business look to casual chill look just lose the tie and you are ready to pound the egg nog.
For the formal office party, remember the golden rule – don’t embarrass your partner!
Since the event is during the evening, wear a black suit, black tux or dinner jacket, with a nice set of black slacks. Pro Tip: Borrow the slacks from your tux or suit and save the cost of a new pair of pants!
For the shirt and tie combinations you have options. Level 1 is a white shirt and black bow tie, which will look fantastic. Level 2 is a more modern option, a black shirt and black tie with a subtle paisley or checked pattern. This will ensure you stand out.
Lastly, don’t forget about shoes. Two choices for this type of party: your basic captoe oxford in black or a slip-on loafer could work too.
FRIENDS’ CHRISTMAS PARTY: There are two ways to go here: You can dress nicely or you can dress really nicely. Either choice works, but brown cords, crappy jeans, T-shirts (even those with a picture of <insert holiday meme here>) and some faded Converse will get you coal in your stocking. Keep in mind your hosts have spent the day cleaning and cooking. The least you can do is get your gear right.
Pro tip: Don’t focus on holiday colors or themes when getting your gear together. Holiday spirit is implied because you are at a holiday event. If you must, you can add some holiday socks or perhaps a snowman lapel pin.
If you must show your holiday spirit, go with this special number, but you didn’t hear it from RealGear4RealGuys.
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Gentlemen, if you're reading this I assume you are here to up your foot game; which is a good thing. According to Esquire and GQ magazine, you should get your cash ready, because apparently, you need at least ten pairs of shoes to get through your incredible, amazing life.
But you and I live in the real world, where there is this little thing called “money.”
So as a member of the Real Gear for Real Guys family, we are going to bring that number down to a reasonable 5 to 6 pairs of shoes. (Though you don't have to stop at 6; I know I didn't.)
The first thing we need to do is put our shoes into two categories: work and chill.
With work shoes, you want to have a couple of colors and styles available and at the ready.
Colors: Your blacks and browns are in play here, and there is no need to overthink it.
Material: A leather shoe here is essential and one that you can shine up to a very high gleam. A well-shined shoe is everything and a critical component of your gear every day.
Cap Toe Oxford:
In black or brown, you can’t go wrong with your basic CAP TOE OXFORD. Great, conservative, timeless. They will never go out of style. An excellent choice. If you get them in black, you can pair them with any dark colored suit and even that gray pinstripe you have been thinking about buying. The only thing you can't do is wear them every day.
The second pair of shoes you need in your “work” category is a nice pair of BROGUES, sometimes referred to as wingtips. These shoes have their origin in the Irish countryside and were initially a working man's shoe. Initially, the dotted pattern around the toe were holes that allowed for water to drain out of the shoe when trudging through those Irish bogs. Now they are not holes, and you would never wear a pair of Allen Edmonds Brogues through the mud. These are fantastic shoes that work well with any suit, khakis, or even jeans. Just don't rock them with a tux or a formal black-tie event.
If you're wearing slacks, khakis, or even jeans with a blazer, a pair of brogues will maintain the right level of style and class that is just right for the office.
To round out your selection of office shoes, I would go with a pair of MONK STRAPS. The monk strap has been around for quite a while and comes in two basic flavors, single strap and double strap. The single strap is deemed more formal, while the double strap is considered a bit more chill. You can also get these in a boot. And they will look fantastic! Again, your color choice will dictate what suit colors will work.
Now that we have covered your time at the office lets proceed to what we're wearing for our evening activities.
I would start with a pair of slip-on CHELSEA BOOTS like this pair from Kenneth Cole. These boots are going to be comfortable, and the no lace casualness means they can work at the kid's soccer game, grabbing some pizza and a movie with that special someone, or hanging with the fellas at your favorite bar. Super comfort, easy on/off and they go with anything - what else can you ask for in a casual shoe?
The second weekend go to shoe is a pair of BASIC LOAFERS, nothing too fancy. Leave the tassel variety on the shelf and stick to the essential loafer in leather or suede. If you are a bit on the preppy side (you know who you are), you could sub in a penny loafer, which would work just fine.
Lastly, a CASUAL SNEAKER is needed to finish off your starter collection of shoes. I am not talking your latest Air Jordans but a nice pair of white, cleanly styled sneaks. Think Stan Smith or Cole Hahn or a variation on that theme. Sneakers are always comfortable, and if you're just hanging with some friends, it's a good bet these will be fine and go well with jeans or khakis. You can also pair them with a casual cotton suit. It's a great way to dress up a bit but not take yourself too seriously.
As a Real Guy, I'm not trying to pay $300 – $400 bones for shoes. You can buy quality shoes that look great at reasonable prices. Look around and comparison shop online. Amazon, Zappo, ASOS carries a lot of the same brands and selections as Nordstrom’s, and Macy's just at way better prices.
Well there you have it, your RealGear4realGuys Starter shoepac. Enjoy!