Stylish clothes for the working man
Clothing essentials for the working man
What's certain these days is how times change. That was one of the aspects of men's clothing that Caroline and I were talking about the other day. Caroline, you might remember, is my old college friend who for many years has worked for the fashion magazine in London.
Four times a year, the magazine she edits creates a major spread on menswear and the current theme is 'clothing for the working man'. This developed into a discussion, both in her studio with her colleagues, and via email with me, about what exactly is 'the working man' these days.
Back in college, when we were in history of fashion lectures, it was evident that at one time, clothes differed depending on who you were in society. For instance, the upper crust would have no need of work clothes - if the garden needed tending to or the cellar cleaning, there were staff for that.
By the same token, the labourer would, if any, have just one suit in which he would be married ... and buried. How different things are today.
The working man's wardrobe
Is this man you see here in the photograph on the right a multi-millionaire or a minimum-wage worker? We don't know but as Caroline says, good quality jeans form the basis of any man's wardrobe. (She always strongly stresses the 'good quality' part).
Of course, jeans are essential when doing any sort of manual work and that's why great quality is preferable. The wonderful thing about them is that they actually get better the more they are used and washed,
But they aren't just for the workman, as they were in years gone by. Many of us, ladies too, wear jeans on a daily basis for our everyday lives and activities.
Caroline asked me if I remembered Charles. I do. He was one of the most stylish men we knew. He often wore jeans for the most important business meetings with a simple white (or sometimes black) t-shirt topped with a smart blazer. He looked terrific.
As Caroline says, the style you see here has been around for over a hundred years and will be around for many more.
There's no need to change what is a classic design that's suitable for manual work, business meetings or everyday activities - from the best known classic manufacturer.
This combination will never date and will always look stylish. Add a real leather belt to a pair of classic denim jeans and you have instant style.
Going more formal
At the time when Caroline and I were at college, every man owned a suit. What I didn't realise until she mentioned it is that today, there are many men who don't. They rely on Charles' old favourite, the blazer.
There aren't many professions or situations where a suit is absolutely de rigeur yet a good quality (Caroline's favourite phrase again) blazer will cover all sorts of occasions and situations.
For business meetings, going out to dinner, for the more formal parties, for meeting potential clients - your blazer will always look smart. Dress it up with shirt, tie and pants or wear it with jeans for a more casual look.
A blazer in a neutral colour - Caroline suggests black or a dark charcoal grey, will automatically match the other items of clothing you have.
We looked at hundreds of blazers (well, it seemed like it) and this was the one that we finally selected. See how fabulous it looks with a plain white t-shirt, jeans and leather belt?
The blazer gets great reviews and is available in six colours including black and beige - and a rather raunchy red.
Add formality with a tailored blazer. This is a classic design that won't date and will always be in fashion. It's great over jeans for business meetings. And add a little flair with the leather bracelet you see below - these sell like hot cakes.
I'm indulging Caroline a little here because she says that one of the sexiest things a bloke can wear is a leather bracelet. I'm inclined to agree, actually...
The essential t-shirt
It sometimes seems to me that everyone wears t-shirts all the time. But good, high quality, plain t-shirts are an essential part of the working man's wardrobe.
This time, Caroline stresses 'plain' in addition to 'quality'. The reason being that there are so many goofy (her word) t-shirts out there with poor design which usually use poor quality fabrics.
But by buying good t-shirts, you're making an investment.They will last much longer and will look great for many years. We both like black or white as the two essential colours.
Worn with jeans or shorts, they are perfect for almost anything casual. Dressed up with the blazer, they look great for business and more formal events.
This is another classic pairing to add to your jeans, leather and bracelet look. Crisp white t-shirts always look smart (and sexy) and look at the gorgeous boots below that Caroline has selected - practical and rugged but so very stylish.
There's more to these than their rugged good looks. Good boots improve with age. Something we particularly like is the social responsibility of this well-established company.
As is the case with most aspects of life, it's the little things - those small details - that make all the difference. This is why Caroline is such a respected fashion editor - it's something she fully understands.
Once you have the basic clothing you need for work and for play, it's those little extras that make all the difference to your day and to your work, whatever your job.
Some people will have different requirements of course, depending on the work they do but Caroline and I spent ages considering the average day (if there is such a thing) and what can make it run more smoothly.
Of course, being stylish at the same time is always essential. The first product you'll see below had Caroline absolutely raving about how everyone - yes, everyone - should have at least one.
This is just gorgeous. It's great to carry a laptop or iPad, it can be used as a briefcase but it's also strong enough to carry a selection of tools and other equipment. We love the rugged look and the useful shoulder strap.
Here's a clever pick from Caroline. The leather bag she chose is so much better than the boring briefcase look but can be used every day or for travelling.
Today's stylish man
Today's working man might be a musician or a mechanic. He may be a bartender or a barrister. But one thing's certain, men today dress better than ever before and are demanding clothing and accessories that are as stylish as they are practical.
Did you notice that all the men pictured here are wearing blue? That's because Caroline, who has access to this sort of information, tells me that latest studies show that the majority of men say it is their favourite colour.
That's a great tip for anyone who's buying gifts for their menfolk. By choosing the colour blue, and natural brown leather, your gifts will be stylish and very much appreciated.
The products we have chosen here are good quality, classic pieces that won't date. They are suitable for men of all ages. Do you have any more tips? Please let me know below.
© 2014 Jackie Jackson