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Who doesn’t want more bang for their buck? More value for the time spent, umh, spending it? In fashion-speak, this involves investing in everyday men’s fashion staples. Then, dispersing the pieces across several looks for any and every occasion: casual, smart-casual and semi-formal.


But aren’t we already doing that? To a degree, yes. However, learning the art of unlikely menswear combos will take your wardrobe versatility to another level; it’s wearing off-duty items with active pieces, and loungewear with tailored office attire. The more abstract – that is, the heady mix of high and low pieces – the better, as seen in the following six unlikely menswear combos. It’s a case of incredible fashion contrast and style juxtaposition – that will set you apart from the rest.


Topcoat and track pants combination




Track pants aren’t just for hot dates with the television and couch anymore. Thanks to Sports Luxe (see my previous post on this trend) you can now wear them out on human-orientated dates too.


Topcoat and track pants combo visual











Styling up track pants relies on restructuring: a tapered leg, streamlined fit and quality fabrics (from cashmere to jersey cotton) that makes them a quasi-trouser, particularly in a neutral colour way.

While you certainly won’t be rocking track pants to the office, wedding or dinner party, the formalities of the topcoat aren’t amiss with the neo-luxe trackies. Just make sure the topcoat – chesterfield, mac or car coat – is soft, long and unlined. Worn open with a henley shirt, scarf and retro sneaker, it’s an ideal look for running errands or relaxed weekends.



Double breast blazer and vintage denim option




The formality of the double-breasted suit receives new life with vintage denim – that is, torn and washed-out giving it the appearance of a life well-lived. The key is in silhouette: a slim-leg and a seat in the jean that allows for the waistband to sit at suit pant height.


Double breast blazer and vintage denim option vistual











Finally, the rolled-up hem and leather dress shoes (socks or without) make the distressed denim/blazer combo effortlessly smart. Just be sure to only fastened the second button on the blazer. And inject a windowpane check of chalk stripe pattern into the sartorial mix for some print interest.



Shorts and leather boots option




For an edgier take on early autumn dressing, shorts underpinned by leather boots are an essential pairing. Only some boot types work: worker, military, desert and Chelsea boots (nothing hiker or overly formal). Made from leather or suede, boots with shorts look best a little worn and in dark colours – chestnut, charcoal, black and khaki.


Shorts and leather boots option visual











Paired with a sturdy knit or heritage denim shirt, keep the shorts equally rugged (think washed-out denim or thicker chinos) in a slim-regular cut. Or go for utility pockets or a camo-print to really channel the army theme. Above all, nothing skin tight, and too short. You’ve been told.



Cropped jacket and shirt and tie option




From the spread-collar to the military-inspired bomber, off-duty jackets are perfect fashion-changers for the office (remember my post on the salmon pink cropped jacket?). Adding style to a cool shirt-and-tie combination, ditch the suit jacket for the casual coat; the fit, fabric and colour mimicking that of a dapper blazer (sleek, natural and neutral), so not to look too street casual.


Cropped jacket and shirt and tie option visual











Other tailored trimmings should follow suit too: leather shoes, socks and chino/trouser. Then add some acetate shades in the summer or buttery leather gloves for winter months. And a classic timepiece to set-off the wrist. That Hugo Boss piece from my previous post would work so well here.



Roll neck and shirt option




Nothing feels better than a bit of functional fashion in the cooler months.This season’s two-in-one pleasure is the controversial roll neck: part knit; part scarf. Let all images of tight turtlenecks in yucky-brown escape you. Instead, the roll neck is far more Euro than library geek: an easy-fit shape, light knit texture and modernly served in monochrome black or off-white.


Roll neck and shirt option visual











The unlikely pairing comes via the collared shirt. A white cotton button-up shirt layered over a fine-knit, short-roll sweater with the collar open slightly, is one stylish interpretation. While, a higher neck roll can underpin a button-up fastened all the way, ensuring the shirt is slim and untucked, and with casual utility pockets to off-set any gawkiness. Never wear a tie with this look. Never.



Suit and sandals option




Before crying “sartorial sacrilege!”, this unlikely fashion duo is very much autumn and smart-casual only. Just think about it.


Suit and sandals option visual











Start with a lightweight linen, cotton or seersucker suit with sandals. Colour, shape and print (checks/stripes) is completely personal, but monotone and neutral will keep you in good steed with fellow fashionistas. And stick with leather sandals, in a chic and sleek design, nothing bulky, synthetic and velcro-closed.

Finally, go minimal with your accessories – wearing a tie with sandals and tailoring looks like you’ve forgotten to put on dress shoes before leaving the house. And the shirt should be a plain tee or unbottoned, collared shirt – Oxford or poplin.


What other interesting repurposed looks are you experimenting with at the moment? Share your thoughts on Twitter and Facebook.


Title image photography by Lebz Skywalker, on the web and Instagram


This piece first appeared on D’Marge.








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My name is Ryan and I am a work in progress.

(hello Ryan)

I blog about aspects of life that interest and excite me, those issues that make me think and reflect. These musings I look forward to sharing with you on the blog, as they happen.

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