Fall is around the corner, but we’re still a solid 4 weeks away…or even more if you happen to live in the south. I’m speaking in terms of temperature precisely. For many of us, we’re looking at the tail end of October for our very first cool front 🥵. And if you’re reading this, then chances are you take pride in looking your best, just like I do. Let’s face it. Even when you’re good at what you do (for a living), looking your best just helps get you noticed and sends a signal to the rest of the world that you’re a top notch performer. Or at least you aim to be.
A few years ago when S-Gents was still my midnight shift and side hustle, and I still held my corporate job, I would often dread the thought of commuting in a blazer, shirt, and tie, in 95 degree plus weather. The obvious fix here, was losing the blazer and just rocking a light weight button down or polo collared shirt…like everybody else. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with that. But for me, there’s something about a blazer that just always dials in the look.
So back in 2019, and on one excessively humid day, I took a big risk. I showed up to my super corporate office in downtown Houston, without a shirt or a tie. Instead, I went with one of my dri-fit Nike Tees 😬. I must say, it came together very nicely. But there’s a few tips I’d like to share with you gents, to nail this look each and every time. So here it goes…
Throw back to August 2019
1. Picking the Right Blazer
I’ve found that wearing a Blazer is not as bad as most guys make it seem, as long as you of course pick the right fabrics. And that usually means a wool or linen blend, and light in weight. Color doesn’t matter much, BUT…the cut does. A double-breasted is much more suited for the job and here’s why. For one it’s a more classic and formal cut than a single breasted blazer, especially since you plan on pairing with a less dressy item like a t-shirt. Second, you’ll typically have it buttoned for the entire duration of the day, only revealing the t-shirt neckline. And unlike a single breasted blazer, it won’t show the absence of a tie or dress shirt at your waist line.
2. Underneath Layering.
This might not seem apparent, but brother…you can’t just pick ANY tee. The reason you’re going with a t-shirt is to stay cool and beat the heat. So I suggest finding something that’s light in weight, and wicks away sweat and heat. I am a fan of Nike Dri-Fit performance tees, but you can find similar quality anywhere for a decent price, like your local sporting goods store or even on Amazon. But what about color? Yup. Super important. I typically try to stay away from anything bright and colorful, so neutrals like white and black tend to work best, with heather grey being my absolute favorite. I really can’t have my Gents out here mis-stepping, and sporting a red t-shirt to work with a blazer. Yeah…pretty much mission impossible making that look professional.
The best trick though is going sleeveless. Haha! Yeah sleeveless…How would they know?! 😲 Exactly. They wouldn’t. Because you’ll be buttoned up, keeping cool and looking snazzy, with that commercial grade office AC on full blast. Best of both worlds if you ask me.
3. Break it Up
This one may not seem as obvious, but another tip to pulling off this look is to switch things up. And by that, what I mean precisely is breaking up your suit combo. You can get away with rocking a full suit combo, but something about pairing that with a t-shirt, can easily come across as lazy. Like..”oh he must have been running late, and forgot to dry clean his dress shirts for the week”. No sir!!! Going with a contrasting pair of trousers, however, makes everything seem intentional. And that’s exactly the goal. And with that in mind, a complimentary or contrasting dress trouser or khaki is the move. Denim works great too in a dark, medium, or light wash. Just make sure it’s tailored properly, similar to your dress trousers. And that means not too tight, super relaxed, baggy or worst of all ‘frayed’ at the bottom. YIKES! People still do that ?!
4. The Right Footwear
Shoe choices here, are also quite important. Remember the goal is sleek and effortless..strong emphasis on the effortless part 🤌. And experience has taught me that this ensemble, is more about what not to wear. So I suggest staying away from oxfords or any kind of lace up, because they’re just too formal for this look and typically don’t blend well. Monkstraps are a decent choice, but as you can see my absolute go-to is a sleek pair of dress loafers, in leather or suede. Lug sole loafers can work too, especially in a black or brown color, or a classic horse bit design. Just make sure they aren’t too casual. It honestly all comes down to how laid back your office or event environment is, and what look you’re personally trying to convey.
5. Finishing Touches
Finally, the secret that makes this fit a home run is…*drumroll*… Yeah you guessed it. A solid pocket square. Every Gent should own at least one or two. Preferably in a light and dark color, and in a soft wool or bamboo cotton blend, so it can hold a nice fold. Stay away from those hard fabrics or materials that’s too soft and shiny like silk. They either don’t fold well or end up all over the place after a few minutes.
If you’re looking for a good pocket square, ‘physically’ visit your local Nordstrom and go hunting, or online stores like Suitsupply, Drake’s and Viola Milano are always a safe bet. Some styles can be a little pricey but well worth the investment. While it’s nice to have a collection, remember, you only need two. My personal go-to’s are an off white with navy prints, and a dark red patterned square. Since I went with all dark colors for this outfit, I felt the need for a little pop and went with the off red for that final touch.
And then the usual matching of complimenting leather or metal wrist watch, subtle rings, bracelet, and a leather folio. The Folios. I swear by these things. They look stylish, minimal, and modern… plus they really make you look like you know what you’re doing. LOL. But on a more serious note…should we launch a folio collection? 🤔
And that’s it. 5 simple steps to smack this heat dead in the face, and come out shining. Keep in mind, as the weather cools down, this exact look and template works just as well with a crew neck or turtleneck sweater. It’s fail proof styling for any function that requires a level of professionalism. It will definitely ensure you look the part, and gives you a new world of options whenever you choose to skip the shirt and tie.
It’s a privilege and honor to create these looks for you Gents. Whether it’s on the job, or casual hangs, my goal is to help you Gents look your absolute best, so I really hope you’re enjoying these reads. But let me know, what would you like me to cover next? Our Fall/Winter busy season is around the corner so it’s now or never. Haha. So don’t be shy… and drop comment below or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'd love to hear from you!
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