Good at dressing for the office, less good at selecting clothes in which to potter about at home? Many mature professionals know exactly how to look their best for work, but when it comes to casual dress, choose clothing options that make them look stiff and stuffy. Here’s how to select a wardrobe of comfortable togs in which you’ll look great, and feel at ease.
What to wear to wash the car
What does it matter what I wear to wash the car, you might ask? But just as being suited and booted for a board meeting sets the tone for work, wearing the right threads for jobs about the home and garden also helps you get the job done.
For washing the car, you’re looking for clobber with a bit of stretch that will help you reach from fog lamps to sunroof to tailgate as you soap and buff your motor to a glistening sheen.
Your go-to car cleaning kit is a polo shirt and a pair of jeans with a little bit of added elastin to help you move with ease.
If you’re banking on soaking yourself, wear wellies, but otherwise, a fine pair of chunky leather boots will keep your feet and ankles well supported as you work. Do please remember to wear a belt, chaps – the only cracks on display should be the ones between your crazy paving.
Casual clothes for gardening
If national treasure Monty Don can bank up his spuds without looking like a scarecrow, there’s no reason for you to frighten the wildlife. While gardening duties don’t call for sartorial elegance, they do require a comfortable fit and fabrics which minimise chafing, which can be sore.
Opt for natural fabrics which breathe – a soft brushed cotton shirt is just the thing. Choose a flannel number during the chilly autumn months and perhaps a short sleeved Tattersall in a rustic check to keep you cool as a cucumber when summer hoeing.
Trousers-wise – cords. If they were good enough for Tom Good, they’re good enough for anyone. Soft corduroy trousers keep you feeling toasty when you’re mulching your garden in the winter, yet they’re light enough for spring weeding duties. For maximum comfort, take a leaf out of Monty’s book and get yourself a pair of braces.
What to wear to walk the dog
Don’t let the side down by appearing at your local park looking like an out-of-work actor in a shiny suit auditioning for a role as a CIA agent. If you want to throw the stick for the dog, at least dress in a fashion that gives the poor animal a reason to come back to you.
For rural dog walks that offer the potential for a pitstop for a pint, moleskins plus sturdy leather boots will do nicely. In summer you’ll want a country shirt – whether you opt for short or long sleeves will be determined by the height of the nettles on your favourite route. In cooler months choose a flannel shirt, woolly jumper and a wax jacket. Whatever the season, you’ll be well-equipped to discuss the vagaries of the weather over your favourite brew.
Dog walking in town requires a different approach. Here you’ll want to keep up appearances. A pair of chinos with leather or suede chukkas offers comfort and style. Top them off with a silk cotton mix polo and Harrington jacket for a look that’s smart yet casual.
Casual clothes for hot weather
Don’t let anyone tell you that being on the far side of forty precludes you from sporting shorts during the warmer months. On the contrary, if you wear them correctly, they not only keep you nice and cool, but they look great too.
Steer clear of anything you’d normally wear to partake in sports – outside of actually working out, they don’t look good on anyone. Instead, select a decent pair of summer-weight chino shorts or, for something a little different, try a pair of tasteful printed shorts.
Feeling the heat? Seersucker makes a crease-resistant change from linen, and keeps you almost as cool. That’s because the fabric’s dimpled texture aids air circulation, keeping you feeling nice and fresh when the sun shines.
Going outside? Men’s sandals are not the sad expression of athlete’s-foot-riddled middle age that they used to be. On the contrary, a pair of smart leather sandals looks wonderful with shorts, a quality shirt, and perhaps a Panama hat to top things off. Socks? No.
Casual clothes for cool weather
Fed up with wearing jeans and only jeans? While denim is a wonderful fabric, it can get a little monotonous if you wear it constantly. So why not switch out the blue stuff for some new stuff?
Moleskin trousers are mid-way between casual and smart casual and, as well as making the grade for low-key evening engagements, they’re great for home or a quick dash to the shops. Alternatively, try cotton twill trousers which make a nice change from chinos, and come with the added bonus of a tighter weave which helps keep the wind out of your rigging.
For your top half, a soft corduroy shirt is a good way to go – wear it as a mid layer or wear it open with a t-shirt underneath. Complete the look with a rugged fisherman’s jumper and a parka. Add leather boots and a tweed flat cap and you’re ready for anything.
We hope you found our casual clothing hints useful. If you’ve got a favourite leisure-time look that you’d like to share, tag us on Facebook.