What men should wear off-duty
Men can look incredibly sexy in their business suits - and then lose all their swag the moment they kick off their Derbys and get into casual wear. Don´t ruin your dates - and follow my off-duty style advice
Women fancy men in uniforms. You can call it the pilot phenomenon. There have even been totally superfluous studies about it in the past. Superfluous, because the reasons seem pretty clear to me: Men in uniform, whether firemen or policemen, generals or pilots, trigger the most pre-evolutional hero phantasies in the deepest corners of a woman's mind. He is authoritative, calm and strong. Otherwise, he wouldn´t have got that job full of responsibility, right? What our brains do not tell us is that it is only the uniform speaking. A woman can be a boss in real life, but in her head, as soon as she spots a general of any kind, she becomes the damsel in distress ready to jump in his arms and be saved. The same goes for well-dressed businessmen in perfectly tailored suits. They are your daily uniform after all, aren´t they? There is only one problem when giving your phone number to any kind of hero: meeting him off-duty. The hours before a first date are hours full of fear. How will he look when he is not in his element, like flying planes, battling fires or saving lives in court?
In a woman´s eye, a man can lose all of his dignity in seconds. This is when he shows up and somehow has lost all his superhero powers just because of his sloppy off-duty look.
Straight men - apart from some Italians and the French - really do underestimate the power of casual fashion. And I admit: the Normcore trend that normalised trekking sandals and sportswear during the last years has not made it easy to keep up with what´s appropriate and what is not. Are you a hipster? Then these rules do not apply to you, because you can pull off socks in sandals and skinny pink polo shirts and everybody gets the irony. If not, read on. Here are the basics to look like a real everyday hero.
Get shorts right
On the runways, super short shorts are everywhere. This means designers want men to risk looking like six-year-olds. If you have never heard of this trend from Prada and Co. (it means: you read the Wall Street Journal, not GQ), this trend is definitely not for you. But update your opinion on shorts in general: there used to be the rule never to wear them in urban surroundings and opt for long pants instead when in the city. This is a little outdated. Smart cotton bermuda styles with polished shoes are an acceptable look nowadays. The trick: A blouson style jacket to make your outfit look complete - and distinguish it from what you wear on beach days. Always a No-Go, even if you consider yourself the adventurous kitesurfer type of guy: over-the-knee styles.
Know your Polo neck
Wear a Polo shirt, especially the ones with big letters and horse logos on it. Pair with a Rolex chronometer and watch all your understated male elegance vanish. It is already in the name for whom polo shirts are intended: polo players. But there is, of course, something appealing about the polo neck. It makes a man look instantly put together even when he is not wearing a jacket. So look for the knit version: thin, slim cotton or merino sweaters in all kinds of colours are always handsome!
Keep up with the Jeans Zeitgeist
Think Barack Obama and George Clooney rocking their dad jeans in public - the world watched their swag melt ice in the sunshine! Rule No. 1: Too big jeans are a No-Go. But there are more details to pay attention to. Just because you found your favourite cut in 2001, does not mean it still looks good in 2019. No, wide boot cuts are not a thing anymore! This means the only time a man really has to follow fashion is when it comes to jeans. A Levi´s 501, slightly cropped and in a light wash probably looks best now. And a white version is next level: you can wear them slightly oversized as long as you roll them up (works also perfectly with desert boots).
Try desert boots
Sneakers somehow don´t fit with your pants and it is raining, so it looks out of place to wear mocassins. No, the solution is not your on-duty Budapest shoe! Don´t ruin your swag and instead find a beige or brown coloured, high-top desert boot. Really, every man looks instantly better in them. You can wear them with or without socks and with your pants slightly rolled up.
Stay tuned for Part Two!