Monday, June 27, 2011
How to Look Like You Actually Belong At A European Airport
As you might imagine, other than the undeniable European influence within the larger urban areas of the country, Uganda offers very little in the form of inspiration for style blog posts. However, what did manage to recharge my interior fashionista (or is it the masculine "fashionisto"?) was my time spent in London, England, both in Heathrow Airport and during my short time touring the legendary city itself.
Now ashamedly I must confess that my style-ometer was running almost completely on the opposite side of "refined" during my time in the European hub. As a friend of mine who has been to England more times than Madonna told me, "You'll know you're in London when you look around and you're the worst dressed person in the entire country." Now granted, I had just returned from a small village in Eastern Africa where hot showers are a luxury that last little more than 30 seconds, but looking around, I was astounded at the impeccable style of the average business man strolling through the terminal. Conversely, I stood drenched to the bone after a painfully ignorant decision to wear canvas espadrilles and a t-shirt to the coldest, wettest island on the planet. I therefore still find it inexplicable that the good people of Britain actually allowed me to set foot in any establishment at all without immediately calling the Bobbies to come and remove the unfortunate-looking American transient standing in their doorway.
Rock the Euro-Casual
1. So Where Do You Keep Your Legs?
You've already got a go-to fitted blazer, right? Good. Now the next step is ditching the chinos and reaching for a perfectly trim pair of jeans, which absolutely make or break this look. Those shredded, wide-legged JNCOs from junior high, have no place here, or anywhere outside of a toxic waste disposal site for that matter. Your jeans should be slim, low rise, in a dark wash. But don't buy into the lie that good jeans cost a year's salary. My absolute best fitting slim jeans came from Old Navy for under $30. I know...I was surprised too.
Old Navy, Men's Premium Skinny Jeans, $39.50
2. Get To The Point
TOPMAN, Decon Summer Plimsoll, $64
3. Don't Blend In Too Much
Once you've got the basics down, don't be afraid to punch it up with your own personal swagger. Add a tie, a pocket square, a belt, a beard--whatever fits your style. Just keep it simple. If you start adding every accessory you can think of, you'll be cursing yourself as you sit unable to move throughout the duration of your 8-hour flight. One of the easiest ways to punch some life into this look is to play with the color or pattern of your dress shirt. Bright, solid colors like blue and purple can do wonders and pinstripes and plaid give you a decidedly American look. But just in case you were wondering, floral-patterned dress shirts (like those from the 1970s) are coming back in Europe in a big way (although very slowly), so perhaps you can take the initiative and be a frontrunner in getting the trend back to the States. Whatever you decide, rock it with that American confidence we used to be famous for. With any luck, maybe you can make up for any damage I did last week to the global perception of American style. Here's to hoping.