1. Don’t Be So Precious
A motto for life: try not to take yourself too seriously. If you do end up wearing your fanciest clothes to a club, then except that something may go awry. Take it on the chin and visit your dry cleaner the next morning guilt-free.
After all, nobody likes the person who stands by the wall afraid to bust a move for fear of a few spillages. Let yourself go once in a while and you won’t regret it.
2. Dress Down But Better
Or what I like to call, ‘casual confidence over stuffy style’.
I used to go out each night with the aim of being the best dressed guy in the room, and things soon got out of hand. Wearing a suit to a bar with a shirt and tie, or layering a cashmere jumper under a blazer, just became too much.
Firstly, these items were tailored to skim my body, which made it difficult to move around as freely as I would’ve liked or raise my hands in the air (top tip for getting your drinks away from the bar spill-free).
Secondly, as soon as I got inside the club/bar I wanted to take off all these layers due to them quickly becoming hot and stifling. In the end, it seemed like overkill. And, in truth, it was. So I traded these refined pieces in for slightly more casual items such as indigo jeans, neutral t-shirts, chinos, cardigans, casual jackets, leather chukka boots and penny loafers.
But what I did focus on was making sure that everything fit me perfectly – slim, but not restrictive or uncomfortable – and that each piece complemented each other. The result? I felt more comfortable, which led to me having more fun and being more confident in my surroundings. Never a bad thing.
This is the perhaps the easiest tip I can give you. Learn to love black, grey and blue, especially darker tones of navy.
Not only are they great at concealing any accidents that may happen but they’re also extremely classic and versatile colours. Black and grey are particularly good because they are quintessential evening wear shades that look even better under artificial lighting:
Simplicity is often the most elegant form of sophistication.
There’s a reason why so many menswear geeks love old black and white photos of gents from the 1950s and 1960s – it’s because their style is as relevant today as it was back then. Pieces that never go out of fashion will always be your best option for a night out.
You can go full on James Dean with a pair of indigo jeans, white pocket tee and bomber jacket, channelling Rebel Without A Cause, or you could step it up a notch and pair some khaki chinos with a grey polo shirt and an unstructured navy blazer for a preppy-inspired look straight out of the Ivy League.
If you stick to the classics, your clothes will simply add to what you already possess – i.e. your personality and confidence – rather than detract from them. If you were hoping to use your clothes to distract from your personal shortcomings, then we have another problem to deal with altogether:
In other words, consider where you’ll be going on any given evening. Is it just down the local for a couple of pints or to an upmarket bar and then onto a fancy club?
Your environment will help set the tone for what you wear. For example, if you’re heading to an establishment that won’t let you in wearing trainers, why not step it up a little bit? Add a pair of penny loafers and a soft shouldered blazer to your usual jeans and t-shirt combination for an instant upgrade.
The same principle works when going to the pub with your mates. Think of all the needless banter, shots and drink spiking (no, just me?) that could be avoided if you just decided that chinos and a chambray/flannel shirt were a better idea than a full-blown Glen plaid double-breasted suit.
So there you have it, a few tips that I’ve learned on how to go out in style without ruining your best clothes and/or creating huge dry cleaning bills.
Obviously, these techniques may not be for everyone so I’d love to hear what you think. What do you wear when you go out for the evening? Do you prefer casual and confident or elegant and refined? What top tips do you have to share with us?