Editor’s note: Mr SY goes back to work today after a few days off. He’s been very handy to have around. Have acquainted him with the school run. It even managed to rain so he felt the full effect of my daily routine. He also realised he hadn’t given his ManLand space much love here on the blog so he belted out this post for me. Keeper.
I’ve had a few days at home recently, out of the office and away for the shirts and ties.
Apart from allowing me to hit a heap of those little domestic jobs that us men like to invent, it also forced me to draw from my plain-clothes wardrobe for a while. My civvies if you like.
And this got me thinking about the theme for this post. What essentials do men around my age and older need to have in the cupboard to enable them to dress casually but without looking like a try-hard 20-something hipster, a surfer bum or an old man?
To put a bit more context around my musings, I am definitely too old to do all the buttons done up on a paisley shirt and wear skinny jeans. But I am also too young to slip into chinos in a sensible shade of beige, a nice collared shirt and a set of deck shoes …
So what should blokes like me wear?
Without trying to sound completely like The Stylist, I’ve compiled a list 10 essential smart casual wardrobe items for men over 30.
1. Cool t-shirts. I love t-shirts of all kinds. When I was younger it was all about which brand was emblazoned across the front or the back. But these days I tend to be more selective about the cut, the colour and how that complements what else I have to wear and what the shirt can say about me. Fun, funky logos are cool as long as they are not too garish. I bought a couple of tees from the Saturday’s Surf NYC shop in Soho during our trip to New York this time last year. They are still my favourites because they not only look cool and are a bit individual but also remind me of a fantastic trip. That’s what a great t-shirt can do for you. Pictured: Saturday’s Surf tee
2. A hoodie. On those cold days when you are braving the elements there is something very comforting about throwing on a hoodie that is going to keep the wind off your neck. You can get the hoodie wrong if you choose something too young for your age bracket but, done right, the hoodie can work nicely with jeans. Pictured: Country Road hoodie
3. Flannelette shirt. I am drawing on flannelette shirts more and more these days. Particularly in the cooler months in Queensland where it gets a bit fresh but not completely nipple crippling. And I don’t mean those dirty “flannos” we used to wear to parties as grunged-up youth in the 90s, but rather a comfortable shirt that you can chuck over a t-shirt with jeans or shorts, roll the sleeves up if you have to, and get about your business without any fuss. Pictured: St Goliath long-sleeve shirt
4. A quality jacket/coat. Whether it is slick leather or a black woollen, a good quality jacket is well worth the investment. They are quality pieces that are styled and constructed to last and remain fashionable. They provide the warmth to allow you to function on those really cold nights without having to wear so many layers you expire when you get inside. They can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. Pictured: Politix coat
5. Gingham shirt. Whether it is in the country or a more urban environment, I love a good quality gingham shirt. They just look really crisp and clean, go great with jeans or more dressy pants or even shorts and again can get you out of trouble for a variety of different occasions. All my shirts would be a variety of gingham if I didn’t have to pass muster with the creative department at SY HQ. Pictured: Herringbone shirt
I’ve got three key pairs of casual shoes that I know will get me out of trouble on most, if not all social occasions.
6. RM Williams boots. Dress them with a suit or dress them down with jeans, Australia’s favourite boot is equally at home in the bush or in a more urban environment. I’m always comfortable when I go out in my RMs because I know they won’t let me down. They’re comfortable and durable and clean up a treat, no matter where you take them. Pictured: RM Williams boots
7. Desert boots. The trusty desert boot has made more come backs than Johnny Farnham and I can remember my Grandfather telling me about the original pairs he got around in North Africa during the Second World War. But regardless of their heritage they keep coming back because they just bloody work. They are as comfy as sneakers, go with virtually any long pant and can manage a weekend kids sporting mission or a dinner out with the lady with equal ease if done right. Pictured: Clarks Originals
8. Casual Converse or Vans. Versatile and comfortable all year round, a trusty pair of “Chucks” Converse All Star Chuck Taylors or Vans will keep a bit of youth in your look without being out of place among the other blokes. Pictured: Men’s Chuck Taylors
9. Cargo/drill shorts. At our age, the board short look has pretty much passed us by. Sure they work for actually entering the water, but otherwise those days are passed. Nowadays, I prefer to work with a couple of key pairs of shorts that I can match with t-shirts or collared shirts depending on whether I am going to be knocking around with the family or meeting up with others to be “social”. I tend to prefer darker colours; olive green and navy are staples. The cut is also crucial. I used to wear my shorts long and baggy but have taken on The Stylist’s advice more recently and selected cuts that are more fitted and above the knee. Pictured: Billabong walkshort
10. A couple of pairs of jeans. I say a couple because I reckon these days a man can benefit from having two different cuts of denim … and maybe even different colours. This thinking is well advanced from my younger years when (like most men) I thought you had A pair of jeans that you wore with everything, regardless of the occasion. I prefer my jeans on the darker side of blue at the moment and I have a straight leg that can be dressed up and a more relaxed fit that works in any casual situation. Pictured: Levis jeans
In the bathroom
I’m using these three products every day and highly recommend.
1. Body Shop For Men Maca Root Face Scrub 125ml $20.95: This scrub also contains Peruvian maca root to soothe your skin and crushed brazil nut to exfoliate those troublesome pores and leave you feeling clean and fresh. Like the shave cream, it is non-greasy and very easy to work with.
2. The Body Shop For Men Maca Root Shave Cream 200ml $15.95: I have a new favourite shaving cream after my first test of this product. A mate of mine put me on to it (well, his wife actually) and I am really glad she did. Made with Peruvian maca root, The Body Shop For Men shave cream is so easy to work with, non-greasy and helps produce a great shave. I got a great tip from the sales assistant at the Brisbane City Store too. When using the tub, leave the lid unscrewed so that the product can dry slightly in the air. When you dab it with a wet shaving brush you will actually use less (about the size of a 10c piece is fine) and still produce a good foam. I also have a tube for my travel wash bag.
3. Garnier Fructis Style Disorder Mattifying Paste 80ml SRP $9.95: Disorder paste is the first product texturising paste from Garnier Fructis that you can use to create shape or mess-up your style without greasiness. The product is very easy use, with a neat dispenser nozzle that helps you to control and minimise how much you use each time. The paste is easy to work through your hair and does produce a matte effect without grease. Available at supermarkets, discount department stores and selected pharmacies.
Tell me, if there’s a man in your life, what’s he most likely to pull out of his wardrobe and wear for casual occasions? Any men’s bathroom products he swears by?