Today’s world is about fast moving, 140-character texting, flexible work environments that convey a fluid transition from old school slow corporations to quick maneuvering small businesses that can react quickly to change. But men’s style can take a few hints from the past to create a fresh and relevant perspective. This is a list of the top ten classic styles that still work well today.
The Navy Sport Coat
This classic staple of the old school dress code is still well received and goes well with almost any other thing on this list. It’s clean lines and casual openness conveys the flexibility that the man wearing it wants to portray. While it’s been around for decades and longer, it still has that professional appeal without being basic black. It’s the bluer cousin of the suit and tells someone you are willing to relax a bit and listen to new ideas.
While some shoes have come into fashion as business attire, the dress shoe is still the best way to tell a client or boss that you are serious about your career. Most modern shoes are plain toe oxford or Derby style in either shoe or boot. These are a personal preference that come in classic colors of brown, tan, and black. They go well with many items on this list and convey the polished look that most young professionals are looking for today.
The Oxford Cloth Button Down Shirt
The Oxford shirt doesn’t actually come from Oxford, England. Its origins are in Scotland back in the 19th century. Today this shirt’s weave and style are still part of the young professional’s attire. Paired with any of the other items on this list with modern pastel colors and you’ve got a style that will get the attention of your boss every time.
The basic brown belt used to come only in leather, but today you can find this classic belt in mixed blends of cotton and nylon. It used to be functional to hold up ill-fitting trousers, but today’s well-fitting trousers only use this to accessorize. It shows your attention to detail.
The Trench Coat
A trench coat is heavy duty raincoat that is made of waterproof cotton, leather or poplin. It comes in various lengths from the longest being just above the ankle to the shortest being just above the knee. It was originally developed for Army officers and adapted for World War I trenches. Hence the name. Today, it’s a perfect covering for those rainy or snow filled days commuting to work. It still functions well to protect your underclothes from getting soaked and ruined.
The Cashmere Sweater
The versatile, strong, material called cashmere can be traditionally harvested using the Himalayan tradition of collecting the soft supple hairs of the wild Capra Hircus goat. This completely artisanal and eco-friendly method helps keep the goats wild and free. Whether is traditional Mongolian cashmere or Scottish cashmere, this long-lasting garment is a luxurious addition to your style. If you haven’t owned cashmere before, check out this care guide from Robert OId to get the most from your new garments.
Business casual pants have changed a lot since Dockers first became the go to trouser for the cubicle living engineer. Nowadays, business trousers should be well fitting and snug. Gone are the days where looser slacks are in. Today, it looks sloppy and makes men look bigger than they are. On the other hand, don’t go too skinny so that your thighs ripple. A good pair of well-fitting trousers with the correct hemline shows that you can be accurate and have a good attention to detail.
In the 17th century the king of France hired mercenaries who wore a piece of cloth tied around their necks as part of their uniform and served the purpose of keeping their jacket closed. The king was impressed and the tie was born. The modern version of the tie came about in the 1900’s and has been part of men’s fashion ever since. Many iterations of the tie have come and gone in the past. Think bolo tie and spaghetti westerns from the seventies. Today, the tie has gone back to its traditional roots and continues to be a needed accessory to the modern businessman.
Polo shirts became famous in the late 19th century. But it wasn’t polo players that originally created it. A tennis player, Rene Lacoste, created what he called Pique tennis shirt, that had short sleeves and button plaque pullover jersey. After Rene retired and mass produced his shirt style, Polo players embraced the concept and it became known as the premier jersey for the sport. Today, polo shirts are worn by almost every business man as a staple of casual Fridays. This classic style keeps its value even in modern society.
What ensemble is complete without the classic arm accessory, the watch. While the concept of the wristwatch was kicked around as early as the 16th century, the modern wristwatch didn’t really get mass produced until the mid-nineteenth century and were exclusively worn by women. Men only carried pocket watches. It wasn’t until the end of the century when military men began using them that they become something men wore on a regular basis. Today, the wristwatch is an important accessory to show class and polished style. Telling time with a watch isn’t as pervasive because of the onset of digital devices. Even with this change in use, however, nothing says you’ve got your stuff together than wearing a nice watch.
Classic styles can be utilized in today’s modern world to bring a polished look to any wardrobe. And today’s male can utilize these classic items to bring a sense of sophistication, timelessness and attention to your wardrobe.