So, here in Ireland and the UK we are all still pretty much confined to our homes for the greater good. As I write a few European countries are taking tentative baby steps towards loosening the restrictions. It is going to be interesting to see how they get on. However, this locked-down routine has its merits with quality family time on the up, home cooking and baking rising steadily and daily workouts with Mr Joe Wicks becoming a mainstay of our existence. Birdsong is being belted out from dawn to dusk and walls and gardens are of Chelsea Flower Show standards as everybody embraces the situation as best they can.
I wrote last week about the need for me to keep my standards high and avoid a slump into Pyjama-gate as it undoubtedly impacts on my mindset and might rub off on the kids with a “Look, he doesn’t give a monkeys today, so I’m not going to bother with my assignments. I’ll just phone this in for an hour or two and save my energy for Fortnite instead.” So, here are a few ideas on how to keep up the style levels even when nobody might set eyes on you:
Nothing quite sets a day at home up like a solid breakfast, good freshly-ground coffee and a freshly-laundered (not in the Ozark sense of course) t-shirt. The bases are covered and a man can hit the workload from the office upstairs or run a benevolent dictatorship in the home-school downstairs with a clean cut look.
The t-shirt must have been ironed, be 100% cotton (organic preferably) and be of a sober nature, eschewing any middle-aged novelty danger zones like beer, scantily-clad women or mad logos. I enjoy a lot of sports and have my teams, but I generally don’t wear any “club colours” or the like unless I am attending a match myself.
When I have one of my good tees on and am prepping the coffee and maybe grabbing 20 minutes with Monocle magazine or a newspaper, I feel I have my day and affairs in order. Maybe that’s just me, but in my downtime I like to feel fresh and well put together. Hey, it doesn’t always happen of course, but when it does, it really helps me get into the day and get my stuff done. If I were to be working at home, I’d like to take this mindset into the working day.
A crisp t-shirt works with everything from denim to chinos to a pair of shorts. Simplicity is best most of the time. Throw a shirt or sweatshirt over it if the temperature takes a dip. Which brings me nicely to..
It is April here in Ireland and the weather has been pretty good for the time of year. However, as soon as you get to cocky, the weather turns. In some parts of the world the winter gear and heavy shirts get put away until October, but we keep them close to hand here as we know better. So, one of the more stylish ways to keep warm, especially at home in the mornings is to have a couple of good sweatshirts handy for throwing on tout suite.
In the same way as a good t-shirt, a nicely weighted sweatshirt can work well in many instances. It is almost perfect for the morning routine of prepping breakfast for the kids and then overseeing some school work. I have a couple of colours in my armoury, but I really like grey in a “sweat.” It looks great with navy chinos or some broken-in denim and scrubs up pretty well for a Skype call with the boss if that’s where your day is headed.
Has anybody seen Escape at Dannemora? There is some fine looking workwear in the series. It is almost as if Universal Works ran the wardrobe department. Well, suffice to say sweatshirts are the sartorial star of the show in my opinion. When an item of clothing shows up well in the penitentiary, then you know it is a solid piece of style.
Home schooling/working during lockdown is not quite the State Pen, although similarities may be drawn of course, but a sweatshirt fits the bill for comfort and relaxed style at home. Start with grey and explore shades from there.
While hardly a revelation on the what to wear front, a shirt still carries a lot of weight in the menswear style stakes regardless of where we might be. While at home a shirt can never be wrong. It can be dialled down from the formality of the office shirt to something a bit softer and relaxed.
A more relaxed shirt may take the form of an oxford shirt (soft, button down collar), a half-placket (has 3 or more top buttons only and goes on over the head), linen or overshirt . All of these are right on-trend, are practical and are more comfortable than the open-plan office equivalents. They are also stylish and look good on all guys.
A half-placket is a cool choice for at home, but also for holiday or vacation whenever we get to go on those again. A man is allowed to give off an air of Mediterranean sophistication in his own kitchen is he not?
Linen shirts are a great choice for men living in warm climes and again for holiday wear. While also a lot better for the environment than its cotton counterparts, the linen shirt is a real grown-up man’s shirt. Its breathability may also come on handy if that video call gets heated.
I have really gotten into overshirts in the last couple of years. They are just perfect for those days when it is between t-shirt and jacket temperature. An overshirt is also comfortable, sturdy and practical. They come in heavyweight woollen numbers for winter chills, but how about a minimalist, lighter take on the overshirt from Kestin ?
An overshirt’s versatility means you can duck out for a quick home-made coffee al fresco without feeling the chill. God knows we need all the fresh air and caffeine we can get these days!
PS- I often get asked for recommendations of where to buy good, quality menswear. To this end, I figured the best way to pass these on would be to have link in the article to some of the places I get clothes or to menswear stores I admire. Any links in the article will refer to you to a recommendation for an item of clothing. I hope this helps. Cheers.