Greetings Gentle Readers, we hope that you enjoyed last week’s “must have…” and as the east coast is blanketed in snow, we’re sure many of you have found the cable knit crew neck sweater not only stylish, but warm as well! This week, we’ve got a new tool for you in your arsenal to build the complete wardrobe and truly be “Keeping Up…” stylishly!
The button-down oxford
Elementary, we know. But your classic button-downs are staples in the complete wardrobe. You can do almost anything with the button-down oxford; dress up, dress down. The key to these are the 2 “c’s” cut and color. By cut, we mean fit, but, we figured saying “cut and color” was a more witty way of saying things, as well as a way for you all to remember. A well fitting oxford can take you far. Fellas, a good way to find the perfect size for you, is to try a shirt on from a high end retailer like Brooks Brothers where they custom make their shirts, the measurement numbers will be a good guideline for sizing your shirts. Smalls are usually 14-14 ½ inches around in the neck and in the low 30’s in the sleeve length. Mediums are 15-15 ½ inches around in the neck and around 34/35 in the sleeve length. Larges are 16-17 inches around in the neck and 36 inches long in the sleeves. So even if the shirt doesn’t have those numbers on the tag, you can tell by the sizing. Ladies, we apologize, your button-downs are usually just by the S, M, L sizing. Sometimes, some designers and retailers will mark their button-downs with sizes that are consistent with your dress/pant size, so you may be able to find your 0,2,4,6 sizing and use that as a guideline. Now that cut is covered, concern yourself with color. You can never have too many button-downs in too many colors. Collect them like you use to collect Barbie and Hot Wheels back in the day! Try to get as many as you can in as many different colors possible, from the palest pink to the darkest black. This way you’ll have plenty of options and different colors come of dressier than others. Save your black button-downs for evening events and occasions, but your pinks (yes, fellas, you should have a pink button-down. It’s an extremely flattering and sophisticated color, and plays well with almost every other color in your closet) are versatile enough to go from day to evening and from the office to happy hour. Use that as a general rule, darker colors are generally better for evening, while most lighter colors can make a seamless transition.
Now, what to pair your button-downs with… Quite frankly, EVERYTHING, jeans, slacks, shorts, skirts, leggings, suits (obviously), cardigans, v-neck sweaters, crew neck sweaters. Almost everything in your closet you can put with a button-down. A favorite look of ours is an oxford (button-down) paired with a sweater either the exact same color or something completely contrasting. Let’s tie in last week’s must have for an example; we have an eggplant cable knit crewneck that we like to pair with our egg plant oxford for a monochromatic look OR we’ll put a Kelly green oxford underneath to play with contrasting color. Both are extremely stylish and sophisticated options. Pay no attention to “matching,” concern yourselves with coordination. When you do a look like that on top, keep the bottom neutral, dark denim jeans, khaki A-line skirts, grey trousers, black pencil skirts; all very stylish but simple. Accessorizing oxfords is just as easy as finding something to wear them with. Play with complementary and contrasting colors and proportions. Ladies, roll your sleeves up and throw on a chunky cuff or a bunch of bangles; pop the collar and leave the first 2 or 3 buttons open and layer strands of pearls. Fellas, roll your sleeves up and pair your button downs with ties that complement (don’t do too much contrasting here fellas, it can get a little dangerous) or roll the sleeves up and leave the first 2 or 3 buttons open to show a little skin, just keep it tasteful and appropriate…
So Gentle Readers, cop those colors!!! Buy those button-downs!!! They’ll never let you down and they’ll never go out of style. Until next time…
“Fashions fade, but style is eternal” ~ Yves Saint Laurent