BY : Romano Castillo
While in Korea, I was reminded that no matter where you are or what time of day it is, you can be fashionable. I was constantly reminded that casual doesn’t have to be the way most people think of it – with no flavor.
I know most guys don’t really pay attention to their image unless they have a date or they’re going somewhere really important. Slowly but surely, times are changing here, and it’s getting harder and harder to tell a straight guy from a gay guy here in New York City (in good way). Men are learning how to dress better again after years of being lost.
Being in Asia inspired me to write this article on how we can learn to bring their sense of style into our everyday casual wear.
What I saw in Korea and Japan was that these guys are LAYERING MASTERS.
My Tokyo friend tells me that it’s rare to see anybody wearing only ONE layer over there. If they are wearing a dress shirt, they will most definitely add something like a cardigan sweater, with perhaps another vest on top; and they’ll really put together a complete outfit by adding something like a fedora and a light-weight jacket.
One layer usually doesn’t cut it. Unless it’s over a hundred degrees out, get creative with your outfit. A dress shirt will look ten times better with a sweater, a vest, or a blazer over it than it would alone. Layering also has the ability to give a skinny guy extra bulk, and a heavy guy the ability to mask his not-so-flattering parts.
If you want to easily upgrade your “casual” to “stylish casual” like these guys, follow this rule:
Have at least ONE element of your wardrobe that stands out and changes the mood of your entire outfit, e.g., a fedora, a scarf, a dress shirt, a tie, a blazer, a really cool accessory, etc.
For example, in Tokyo, they almost always wear an ACCENT color or item with every outfit. They might wear a mostly black outfit but then wear a bright red undershirt or a white belt.
My source in Tokyo tells me that currently guys are accenting with “Scarfs, fedoras, and ties. Suspenders are also really in now. Pointy shoes, loafers, boots or converse are almost standard to give any casual outfit a kick.”
Even if you’re not specifically out meeting someone, try setting standards for yourself – never leave the house without some sort of accent to your wardrobe, so that when you happen to run into a friend or an attractive woman, you’ll be prepared with the confidence of knowing that you look way better than the average guy out there.
Think “stylish casual.”
It seems the Japanese really don’t follow any fashion “rules.” They do a great job of mixing different elements that they’ve acquired, and there is a lot of personality that is shown through the way it’s put together.
After figuring what styles you like, try mixing different elements to create a look that you’re totally satisfied with.
Add your own twist to your outfit, but make sure it looks good to you.
A good way to go about it is to find out what is popular, why it’s popular, and explore what certain fashion aspects represent. Then figure out how you can hit on the right points, in your own unique way.
So for example, if you are going for the hip-hop look, find out what defines hip-hop fashion, the reasons and history behind it, and think of how you can best create your own version without going completely out of those lines.