Pinoy Men’s Essentials Part 2
Another pair of pants, footwear and t-shirt options…
6. Grey Slacks – In Part 1, we had the rough, casual jeans, as well as the slightly more dressed, but still relaxed, chino or khaki. Now venturing into formal terrain (to cover all the bases), there’s grey slacks or trousers. For guys that can’t afford matching jacket-and-pants combo of the traditional suit (considered a wise investment), grey pants provide a dressier option. Pair with a blazer for a formal look, or sweater/cardigan to take it down on a notch (but still remain classy), the grey color tone is a utility color that can go with anything. Though many men in office or formal environments go for basic black, they tend to look a bit severe and, well, boring and plain.
7. Loafers and/or Boat Shoes – Sort of a “two-for-one” cheat here. Both shoes are slip-on prep staples, with the boat shoe eschewing closer to casual and laid back, to be dressed in jeans or shorts, and acting as an alternative to sneakers. Loafers, on the other hand, have grown from strictly casual to becoming (in many circles) an accepted style of formal shoe that can be paired with both jeans and suits. Although lace-up black (or brown) shoes will never die in terms of proper formal footwear (especially for events such as weddings), loafers make for a good alternative. A word of caution: Though they still seem to be prevalent everywhere, stay away from pointed shoes! Go with a more curved, rounded model for a tasteful, but still distinct, look.
8. Cardigan – There will inevitable be days, even in naturally hot weather, where you’ll need an outer layer to fend off the cold – whether it be mall, bus, or in colder weather climates around the country. The typical option for most is hooded sweatshirt or jumper. And while both are perfectly serviceable, a cardigan can either add more flair to any casual ensemble, or dresses down, but still comports to, formal standards. Another benefit of the cardigan is, while looking distinct with its buttons, it can easily be taken off without having to lift it above one’s head (and risking messy hair). And while the cardigan had been closely associated for generations as typical “old man”-style (Mr. Rogers), it’s since been adopted by everyone from hipsters to menswear nerds as an essential style piece. One way to avoid the elderly connotation is, like most of the clothes on the list, to get one that hugs the body (though not too tight).
9. (Subdued) Slip-On or Lace-Up Sneakers – The key word here is subdued, and while big, brash and colorful sneakers add visual punch, they can just as quickly bring down an outfit into gaudy territory. On the other hand, the typical black or white can be a bit boring, so the trick is to opt for more bold (but still tasteful) coloring or detailing. Another method to brighten up stale footwear is to change laces, replacing the white with brown leather instantly adds a hint of style to one’s ensemble. That isn’t to say there isn’t room for colorful sneaker (many trends are just too enticing, admittedly), just be aware to outfit the rest of yourself in simple, basic colors and patterns – the better to anchor the overall look and make the shoes the visual centerpiece.
10. Henley or Pocket T-Shirt – Another “two-for-one” cheat. As in outerwear, there will undoubtedly be times when there is nothing more comfortable or practical than a simple short-sleeved t-shirt. Whether you’re going out for a quick errand or just want to take a break from collars and long-sleeves, it’s the only viable choice. But do you want a slovenly, stained and ripped shirt that makes it seem you just rolled out of bed, or a big and ugly logo or print emblazoned across your chest? Instead of these typical styles, you can class up the t-shirt with simple detailing, such as the buttoned Henley tee, or with a pocket. Both details signify that’s the it’s meant to be worn on the outside and alone. However, in local culture, the white Henley worn alone can easily be viewed as an undershirt, thus looking unkempt. Better to go with a different color, such as blue, navy, even black.
The items of these lists are a decent guideline to a solid foundation. Once you’ve acquired the basics, feel free to experiment with other styles – chambray, polka dot shirts; burgundy, camouflage or cargo pants; a contrast-collar, uniquely patterned polo; or attention-grabbing shoes – with the idea being the ability to mix and match. This basic wardrobe shows you’ve got control of your clothes and know what you’re doing.
Stay tuned for Pinoy Men’s Essentials: The Rest, for pieces that would be nice to have, but are not exactly necessary, plus accessories.