[Catch up on the previous post: "Be a Hot Date in 24 Hours" (Part 3 of 4).]
Today is Valentine’s Day. Your scheduled date: T minus 6 hours 59 minutes. The time you still have to acquire something new to wear? T minus zero. If you don’t know what that means, it means that you’re shit out of luck.
Have no fear, my third tip is here.
Tip 3: The Mash-Up – Party on the outside, business on the inside.
Although the mullet is never advisable in this blog, there’s something to be said for its principle (“business in the front, party in the back”). The idea of juxtaposing contrasting elements makes for a clever look that not only complements the best of both casual and dressy worlds, it creates something altogether different – a style gestalt, if you will.
Now here’s the thing. This is not the type of ensemble that’s appropriate for a fancy occasion. However, gathering from the fact that you haven’t had any forethought in your attire until the day of the national date day, I take it that you haven’t had the foresight to score in advance that elegant dinner reservation either.
It’s okay. You and your date aren’t the type to get all wadded up in formality anyway. You just want to kick it somewhere and have a good time in each other’s company, keep it impromptu. Dinner reservations? Bleh... you’ll find a cute little someplace to stumble into during the course of your leisurely romantic stroll.
If that’s you, this is the perfect look. It's also good for outdoor daytime dates, or any occasion that calls for a balance of sporty and proper. It offers casual functionality, comfort and warmth over a solid underpinning that says that you’re a qualified, respectful man of aesthetics and detail.
The look is casual yet well put-together, fun but never juvenile, spontaneous without being careless, fresh with a nod to heritage. It’s just a pleasant way to present yourself as creative and respectful at the same time.
And your girl will dig it.
There are two phases to putting this look together. You should already have all the components in your closet, so it’s simply about layering them on methodically.
Phase One: Build a solid foundation.
Start with a dress shirt: If you don’t own a dress shirt, any well-pressed, crisp sport shirt will do. It helps if the shirt has a pattern or texture to them, like a stripe, check or small-to-medium plaid (it adds dimension), but a solid white shirt would work equally well and provide a clean contrast to the rest of the casual elements.
Wrap on a tie: The tie can be any material that you like, in any color or pattern that creates an interesting complement to the shirt first, then in relation to the overall outfit. The only advice is to make sure the tie is on the narrow side. If you only have conventional ties that are wide, it’s okay – the point is to use what you already own, and the widest parts will be hidden under the layers anyway. Just make sure that you employ the four-in-hand knot so that it stays tight and small.
Phase Two: Pile it on.
This doesn’t require too much explanation. All you have to do now is to layer on a few casual items you normally wear, like a sweater or hoodie, under a denim jacket, under a sport jacket or blazer, and under a coat or down vest. For your bottom half, go for a clean pair of dark jeans or trim chinos.
Finally, like your up-for-anything outfit, keep an equally positive attitude and open mind, and simply enjoy where the day, or evening, takes the two of you.