Here we are in 2019. Another year, another round of New Year’s Resolutions that aren’t going to be stuck to by the second week of January and someone is offering you a platter of prawn-coloured complex carb laden treats. Luckily, one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to really revitalise my wardrobe and outfits by removing one of the biggest components, and security blankets I have: denim.
I love denim. I really do. Jackets, shirts, jeans, I own them all, and cherish them like the kids I don’t have or want. You can wear them down with a t-shirt and a pair of sneakers (white, natch), dress them up with a smarter shirt and a blazer and a nifty pattern scarf, or even layer a jacket under a long wool coat for an updated take on tailoring. There are so many options that you almost can’t get it wrong. Obviously some people really try to get it wrong.
Timberlake aside, the problem I have is that I’m turning to jeans when I could easily be turning to the countless pairs of chinos, or other casual trousers I have. They’re just as easily styled and can add colour and texture to outfits that would just be a bland mid-blue or indigo instead. But where do I start? How do I start compiling a completely different wardrobe and stop thinking about that lovely, lovely pair of jeans I got in the sales? By making the most of what I know I have.
Fortunately, most of my clothes are in a blue palette (or are colours that look great with blues, like greys, whites and browns) so it won’t be that much of a push to make new outfits with them. There’s no anomalous neon colours or really ostentatious patterns, though that doesn’t stop me thinking, and hoping every Summer that this is the year that I really make fringed tie dye work for me. I’m 35; it’s not going to happen.
Joggers have stepped up their sartorial game recently. Joggers, usually grey, were like Daniella Westbrook in Burberry; a personal brand killer reserved for wearing in the house and away from human contact. You know those trousers you save for when you’re three hours into a Game Of Thrones binge and you don’t mind if there’s a massive beetroot stain on one of the legs? But of late, joggers have become something a lot more sought after and luxurious. Branded joggers especially have become a statement to look out for. People who want you to know they have money will wear ostentatious joggers with brand names sprawled down the side.
That isn’t for me. My style is a lot simpler and pared back. For example, wearing a polo shirt with a pair of fitted joggers and sneakers can give a relaxed athleisure look that wouldn’t look out of place halfway up a mountain or wandering around a retail park on a Sunday afternoon because you can’t face watching one more episode of Friends on Netflix. You just can’t do it.
And on the flip side, wearing chinos instead of jeans opens up a whole World of more smart-casual tailoring that you can’t really get with jeans. Button down shirts, statement knitwear, white t-shirts, the World is your oyster, and if you don’t eat oysters, then the World is your thick crust of bread at the end of a loaf. Everyone loves the crust.
Almost anything goes with a pair of chinos and because you can get chinos in almost every colour now, you’ve got so many colour combinations at your disposal. Which is very exciting.
The Smart Jogger
And that’s before we even move onto one of the more recent additions to any man’s wardrobe: the smart jogger. Usually masquerading itself as an addition to your formal wardrobe, and made purely for the buffest and henchest gentlemen who can’t fit into trousers with a usual material composition and want something to really show off how they can their thigh muscles dance to La Cucaracha. The smart jogger can be usually worn with a plain t-shirt and a swaggering attitude, these trousers walk the balance beam of smart and ultra casual that make styling them a bit tricky.
If, like me, you’re still suffering from the Christmas bloat (in my case it’s from Christmas 2009), you won’t be excited about tucking a top in to show off that drawstring detailing, but take inspiration from Queer Eye and perfect your French Tuck. Get that down and you’ll look cool and collected, and more importantly, your outfit will look intentionally put together instead of looking like you’ve ricocheted your way around John Lewis, grabbing things Supermarket Sweep style.
Now before you take a dramatic intake of breath and clutch those imaginary pearls, these aren’t your Grandad’s cords. These are slimmer and skinnier than he would ever wear. Corduroy is well known as one of the most heritage fabrics you can get; the fabric of choice for the gentleman who likes to shoot defenceless animals and brag about it over a snifter of port on Boxing Day. But corduroy has been given a new life on the high street. You can even get corduroy suits now, but honestly why would you? Imagine how hot you’d get in that. No thanks.
Corduroy can give an outfit a texture you might not get with chino or joggers, and works extra well during these colder months. It just looks right dressed with a snazzy jumper and a pair of trainers (white, natch) to dress it down. Easy tip: if your Dad would style it one way, style it the other. It’s the only way to make sure.
What do you think? Is this an unachievable task? Or am I going to nail this so hard that I’ll be discarding my jeans come February? Comment below why don’t you!