There’s no one better qualified to help you figure out how to dress your guy for the office than Stefan Loble, avid adventurer and outdoorsman, men’s fashion guru and founder of Bluff Works wrinkle free pants. He’s been pondering fashion and how to integrate it into men’s busy lives for years, becoming something of an expert on what men should wear, and why, in and out of the office. If your guy’s just landed his dream job, and you’re worried about him wearing those ratty pleat-front chinos he’s had since junior high, Stefan can help. Here are his tips on how to dress your guy for the office, and for the world in general.
1. Comfort is Key
The very first of Stefan’s tips on how to dress your guy has everything to do with comfort, in the purely physical and in the very emotional sense. If your guy is cajoled into wearing something he’s not comfortable in, he won’t be his normal charming, confident self, and he won’t wear it again, no matter how much he or you have spent on it.
2. Don’t Overdo It
Chances are, your guy already has his own distinct style. And yes, I would call bright green Converse and goofy graphic tees a style! So when you’re helping him decide how to bring his own style – no matter what that style is – from his regular life into the office, don’t overdo it and stray too far from who he really is. Again, he won’t be comfortable, he won’t be able to pull it off, and he might be a little offended that you want to so drastically change his style - and justifiably so!
3. Know the Three Levels
Stefan points out that in the office, your guy needs to be prepared for three different levels of dress. First, there’s the everyday, at-the-desk “uniform,” maybe a fitted button-down shirt and simple pants (like, hey, Bluff Works pants!). Add a suit coat, and your guy is ready to meet clients. Swap the dress shirt for a polo, and he’s set for casual Friday.
4. Consistency is Key
We women are lucky: we can be little chameleons, trying on new looks and styles every day, if we choose. But for men, it’s all about keeping a consistent look. “A guy can’t just have flair one day a week,” Stefan points out. And he’s right! A guy who strays too far from his usual style gets noticed, but not in a good way – my first thought is always, “His wife dressed him today, and she’s obviously angry with him.”
5. Invest in the Good Stuff
While of course Stefan would include his Bluff Works pants in this list, he recommends that each guy invest in good-quality, well-fitting clothes, and not just at the office! It’s worth it to spend a little extra for clothes he’ll love, and look and feel good in. Spending money on anything he’s only ho-hum about will be money down the drain, because he won’t wear it. Also, since men generally keep their clothes longer than women, it’s a great idea to spend a little for clothes that will stand up to a year or more of wear. You get what you pay for!
6. If It’s Not Broken…
Don’t try to fix your guy’s style if he’s already got a wardrobe and look he’s happy with, and that seems to be working for him. If he doesn’t quite have his personal style down yet, then of course, give him a little well-intentioned help. But don’t meddle or nag just because it’s not your own favorite look. On the other hand, if you want to help him up his game a little, buy him a REALLY NICE polo shirt, and spend more on it than he normally would. Stefan points out that even the most basic guy will appreciate the look and feel of a top-quality piece, even if it's just a polo shirt, or another wardrobe staple.
7. Consider the Care
I can’t count how many pairs of trousers and cute blouses I have that I never wear because they’re dry clean only. I love them, but once I’ve worn them, they sit in my dry clean pile for weeks before I finally schlepp them to the cleaner’s. Honestly, I don’t even like having to iron my clothes. If your guy is just as unmotivated to get his clothes to the cleaner’s as I am, consider that before you buy something that requires a lot of care. Again, he just won’t wear it, so it will be a waste. Another shameless plug for Bluff Works here: they’re extraordinarily low-maintenance, so they’re ideal for a guy who doesn’t want to spend lots of time maintaining his wardrobe.
With Stefan’s sage sartorial advice, your guy ought to be properly prepared and looking his best for a new office job, or a long-overdue promotion. Which of his tips have you found most helpful? Or do you have your own little how-to on dressing your guy to share?