Today we open up the good old Style Girlfriend reader mailbag to answer a few questions about boxy dress shirts, fake tans and snagging buttons.
Q: Megan, I live in Texas. What do you think of guys wearing outdoor-brand fleeces with jeans and boots?
I think that sounds like a perfectly acceptable outfit to wear in Texas! My problem is when guys start wearing their fleece jackets and vests with dress clothes (like I’ve seen in several business-formal workplaces) or when the jeans are light-wash and/or a boot-cut style.
But if you’re wearing your fleece and jeans combo in a casual workplace or down a few beers at the local honky-tonk bar, then what’s the problem? Style has so much to do with where you’re wearing what you’re wearing. Would that outfit fly in New York City or Los Angeles? Maybe not, but you’re not wearing it there, so who cares?
Q: Hey Style Girlfriend, so I started to give a hoot about the way I dress and not just wear sweats, and I was looking for some button-down shirts. When I try them on though, they look really awkward (boxy I guess) on me. Any ideas on what I should do?
Giving a hoot is the first step to great style, so congrats, Jacob! You’re well on your way to being the best-dressed guy on the block. When shopping for dress shirts, always look for “slim fit” or “extra slim fit” on the label to avoid that boxy look so common with generously cut American shirting. Since you’re just getting started with your grown man wardrobe, I would start out with a few less expensive options to get you used to the style without investing too much of your wardrobe budget. I like the dress shirts from Zara, H&M and Banana Republic for a more fitted look. For the shirts you already have in your closet, a tailor should be able to take in the sides for 10 or 15 dollars – totally worth it if it means you’ll actually wear them.
When (and if!) you’re ready to spend a bit more, I think investing in custom-made shirts is a great way to go. Sites such as Proper Cloth aren’t all that expensive, and once you have your measurements down, you can worry just about the style and color, which is the fun part anyway.
Q: Hi there, SG! I have picked up some nice style tips and tricks from your musings on men’s style. Mine is more of a grooming/“male cosmetics” (Did I just say that?) question. What are your thoughts on bronzer? I mean, is rocking a tan (synthetic or otherwise) always superior to embracing the paste? Obviously, I’m asking about a judicious application of “tan in a can” and realize the particular shade of “Jersey Shore Orange” is always a mock melanin mistake.
No bronzer, sorry. If I find that in your bathroom cabinet (and yes, I’m looking – at least eventually) there will be judgment passed down. Just go outside (after lathering up with sunscreen, of course)!
Q: While normally I don’t wear a T-shirt underneath a regular casual button-up shirt, when it comes to those Western-style snap shirts, I’m at loss at what to do. A friend of mine gifted me one of these shirts, and while it looks great, I don’t know if I should wear a shirt underneath. On one hand, I would be more comfortable with fewer layers during this time of year, while on the other, I’m afraid that if my shirt gets caught on something, all the snaps will unsnap and I’ll be left shirtless. What do you think I should do?
Hmm, I don’t know that I ever would have thought about this before! Do you often bump or rub up against hook-like objects that would pull apart a shirt, if not for the hole closure buttons of a traditional button-down? If this isn’t a daily fear of yours, I’d say wear whatever you’d wear underneath a dress shirt. If that’s usually nothing, then go bare. If you’re still worried about an impromptu male revue, I’d throw a Hanes V-neck under that sucker and go about your business, unafraid of a peep show.