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Look stylish even as you don casuals

Casual shirts and jeans are ideal for daywear. Shirts with small and subtle prints look a lot smarter than those with large patterns. Here’s how to get this look right.

india Updated: Feb 15, 2010 13:29 IST

TrendsDress up: Smart casual

Small prints: Shirts with small and subtle prints look a lot smarter and dressier than those with large patterns that stare you in the face – especially from a distance. We recommend tiny polka dots; tone on tone houndstooth, pinstripes and fine checks – ideally in the same colour or similar shades of each other.

Colours: Without doubt, starched and crisp white shirts or darker solids like black, chocolate brown, charcoal grey and navy blue will lend a sharper edge to your casual look than lighter colours.

Details: Short (and slightly rounded) collars rather than angular ones on your casual shirt are good – not just because they look modern but also becausethey suit most people. Dual or multi pockets on the front panel are not a new idea (they are borrowed from retro styles from the ’70s) but are welcome nevertheless.

Solids: The easiest way to make your day jeans look more ‘serious’ is to choose a pair that is plain and free from any kind of treatments, texture or embellishments. We suggest dark shades of blue, grey and in some cases even black – though it’s more of a late evening colour.

Good shoes: A chic pair of shoes will add the finishing touches to your look. We always recommend flat soles, not just because flats look sophisticated but also since they are generally more practical as well as comfortable.

Dress down: Relaxed casual

The fit: Choose a shirt with a relaxed fit – one that is neither too tight nor ill-fitting. Ensure your shirt does not droop on the shoulders or for that matter is too wide, especially around the waist. Allow the collars to fall away from the neck and tuck the ends casually into your lowers.

Buttons: Based on your body type, where you are wearing it to and how much chest hair you have (or don’t have) undo the first, second or third button of your shirt. Simple, subtle buttons work and look a lot better on casual shirts.

Sleeves: Roll up the sleeves, ideally to just above the elbow – this will make your forearms look both wider and firmer. If your shirt has a flap (with a button) to hold the rolled-up sleeve in place, we suggest you use it – this will prevent the fold from losing its grip, however active you may get.

Belt: Fasten your jeans or lowers with a medium to broad leather or cloth belt. An eye-catching buckle will not just lift your overall look, but add a more playful edge to it as well. Use the buckle to make a strong or subtle statement – words, letters, symbols – anything that makes people look at it will do.

Jeans: A casual day look is incomplete without a pair of relaxed or straight cut jeans. Try and stick to shades of blue – ranging from dark to light or colours like white and beige.

Footwear: Ankle-length boots are a good idea – especially if you prefer your overall look to be fuss free and easy. Opt for materials like suede and canvas over leather.

Strike the right pose

The five rules to keep in mind for the ‘casual shirt with jeans’ look:
1.Clean and crisp: However relaxed the look, it’s imperative to wear shirts that are well ironed and look clean – especially around the cuffs and collars.

2. Vest under shirts: Wear a vest under the shirt only if you sweat excessively. A sleeveless deep neck vest is always better to wear under casual shirts.

3. Belts with jeans: Belts are optional and a personal choice. If you are wearing belts keep in mind that casual jeans need casual belts.

4. Socks with your shoes: If you wear closed shoes, cotton sports socks are mandatory as they absorb sweat and help keep your feet odour free. Ankle length shoes need longer socks.

5. Casual shoes: Never wear formal footwear for this look. You can safely wear both low and ankle length shoes, as they are casual or sporty.

You asked, we answer

1. Do sunscreens really work?
Yes they do, but not completely – as there are no known sunscreens that block 100 per cent of the sun’s harmful rays. The SPF (sun protection factor) in sunscreens only (partially) protect from UVB rays and not from UVA rays, which can cause ageing as well as lead to skin cancer. To block both UVA and UVB rays, you need to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen.

2. Can men wear pastel colours like peach and pink?
Of course you can – if women can wear all the known colours, why can’t you? Colours were never meant to be feminine or masculine – we just tend to look at them that way. If you had asked us if it was okay to wear push-up bras (for your man boobs – in case you have them) we would surely have said no. Get the point?

3. Are hair fall and thinning of hair genetic?
Yes they are, but keep in mind that both can skip a generation. Don’t therefore be surprised that your dad has more (or thicker) hair than you – that’s because grandpa may have left you his growth (or hair fall) pattern as inheritance. Also, both sides of the family matter and there are other factors too – poor nutrition, hard water, stress, smoking, pollution and using substandard styling and haircare products can influence your current hair condition.

4. Will sexy underwear boost my sex life?
Most certainly not, but good underwear will surely make you look good and feel a lot better – and that in itself may get you lucky. Contrary to what underwear brands try and convince you on, women will never jump you for what you wear under your pants, but how you treat them with your pants on! If your counter question is – does size matter? Don’t ask us – ask her.

5. Is carrying a man bag acceptable?
Anything is acceptable as long as you are fine with it and have the confidence to carry it. With so many gadgets in use, we really don’t expect (or advise) you to fit everything into your shirt, jacket or trouser pocket – so it is wiser (and better) to carry a smart and sleek bag that fits everything you need to stay connected or updated with. However, never carry a casual bag to work or a business bag to the gym – if you can afford to buy gadgets, you can surely invest in an assortment of (man) bags too.