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Ask Avery: To tuck or not to tuck

Photo courtesy of Facebook.

blog by Avery Hartmans  • 

Hey Avery,
Now that it is getting cold I have found that sweaters and cardigans over collared shirts have become a large part of my work attire. As a man in my late 20s I am fairly oblivious to fashion. I am pretty much a dork. A few of my more style aware acquaintances have advised me that when wearing a collared shirt under a sweater that the collar should be over the sweater and not under as I attempt to do.  What should I do? How do I pull of this look with class?
 
Sincerely,
Befuddled in business casual 


Whoever is giving you fashion advice, stop being friends with them. Delete them from your phone, stop following them on Twitter and for Pete’s sake, tuck in your collar. Regardless of your self-proclaimed “dork” status, you inherently know a lot more about style than you think and in the case of your collar, you were dead on: under the sweater, always and forever.

As my fine friends — in every sense of the word — over at Gap, J.Crew and Banana Republic will exemplify for you, the collar goes under with all types of sweaters. Yes, these may be male models who are paid to be clothes hangers, but I’m choosing to believe well-dressed boys who just happen to be dreamboats exist in real life and will come find me and date me. And you know what makes them my dream men? Their tucked-in collars.

Pulling off this look with class isn’t as tough as it seems. The trick is to mix and match patterns and solids — solid on solid is boring and I will immediately exclude you from my list of potential suitors if I see you in such an over-done and underwhelming ensemble.

If you’re opting for a patterned sweater — please wear a fair-isle sweater. Pretty please — stick with a solid underneath. I’m sorry for my lack of confidence in you, but I just don’t think you’re ready to mix patterns. If a solid color sweater is more your thing, opt for a patterned shirt underneath. I’m big on checks and plaids, but stripes will work in a pinch. Extra credit for polka dots — those are hard to come by.

When it comes to sweater style, there are no limits. Shawl-collar, v-neck, crew neck, quarter-zip — any type of knitwear will do. I love a solid shawl-collar sweater with a plaid shirt peeking out, or a crew neck fair-isle sweater with a chambray or crisp white shirt underneath.

You don’t have to go wild with contrasting prints or weird sweaters to look good in the office. But you also don’t have to look like every other average employee in an average outfit. Just start tucking in your collars and de-friending those so-called “style aware acquaintances.”

Fair-isle sweater: J.Crew, $118
Red sweater: Gap, $49.99
Tan sweater: Banana Republic, $59.90
Blue sweater: J.Crew, $69.99

Avery,
I’m a big “Gossip Girl” fan and I notice that Blair Waldorf wears capes a lot. Are they still in and OK for normal people to wear? And how do I wear one without looking like an idiot?

A girl after my own heart: “Gossip Girl” fan, Blair Waldorf devotee and someone who can appreciate a good cape. The short answer to your question? Yes, capes are still in. Heck yes.

My crowning fashion achievement to date was the purchase of my red tartan plaid cape. Sure, it looks like something Little Red Riding hood would lust after, but I adore it just the same. You can feel that same joy by owning a cape of your very own.

As for incorporating a cape into everyday life, that’s the hard part. The only real downside of such a garment is the limited mobility of your arms and the whole lack of sleeves thing. You also can’t wear a backpack or a shoulder bag, so you better pack light on cape days because a clutch is really your only option. Unless you get weird and wear your bag under your cape. Please don’t do that.

But outfit-wise, there are no limits. Obviously a cape looks extra adorable with super skinny jeans and platform pumps, but you really shouldn’t limit yourself. A high-waisted mini skirt paired with a sweater in a contrasting color will look pretty cute peeping out from underneath your cape, but a leggings and a button down are a solid option for more casual days. Cape’s do not restrict you — they let you roam free in the world of awesome style.

The cardinal rule of cape-wearing, however, it perhaps the most important thing I will ever say: don’t even, under any circumstances, let anyone call your cape a poncho. If anyone compliments you on your cute poncho, you punch them in their face.

Top picks:

   

Tan cape: Lord & Taylor, $125.65
Plaid cape: Talbots, $119.99
Navy cape: Urban Outfitters, $89

Photo courtesy of Facebook / Banana Republic.

TAGGED: gossip girl, mens style, menswear, sweaters

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