Dan McEwen, owner of Moonlight Tuxedo & Apparel in Montgomery Village, has been styling men in formal and business attire for 25 years. At his shop, men can expect the kind of quality tailoring and style selection that’s hard to come by. Here are his tips on gaining the perfect basic wardrobe for all occasions.
What elements do men need for a basic wardrobe?
Every man should have the basics in their repertoire. That is to say, a light jean as well as a dark jean, and a couple, basic solid button-down shirts. Most men have at least the basics. But if you’re going to step it up a little, include a fun, colorful button- down shirt that can be worn untucked with a pair of jeans, or tucked in for more of a dressier look. You might also add a casual sport coat with a coordinating pocket square in the breast pocket. There’s nothing wrong with looking good casually. A lot of men may own a nice shirt and pant, but then have a 10-year-old-pair of shoes and a belt that’s falling apart. Knowing how to accessorize is necessary for any basic wardrobe.
What advice do you have for men in their 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s for dressing for success?
Different industries mean different dress codes for their employees. It’s easy to learn your dress code requirement, and then step it up a little from there. Make sure everything is always clean and neatly pressed. We’re living in a slim-fit world right now, so be sure the coat, pant and shirt is professionally comfortable, yet slim fitting. I recently worked with a client that always wore jeans and a dress shirt to work. He told me he wanted to feel more professional and confident and asked me for assistance on improving his work image. He now wears slim-fitting business suits with an open collar everyday.
What's a great way to stand out at a formal event or business event?
Believe it or not, most men don't want to stand out at an event—they just want to blend in. However, I would at least meet the dress request on the invitation. I can't tell you how many times I attended formal events where men have told me that they wish they had not gone the cheap route by wearing their own suit. Instead, they wished they’d rented a tuxedo. If you’re going to stand out, you want to stand out overdressed, not underdressed.
What's trending now that men should know about?
Wearing a sport coat with jeans is becoming more of a mainstream appearance. Vests have made their way back into the game as well. What’s trended out are neckties. A suit worn with an open shirt collar is the fashionable look these days.
Today, some companies looking to attract and retain Millennials have extended “Casual Fridays” to every day of the week. Thanks to Hawaii, many workers can say “Aloha” to strict dress codes, well at least for one day out of the week. What prompted the “casual Friday” trend? Feeling the heat of wearing suits to work every day in Hawaii’s island climate, the state’s Fashion Guild devised a “cool” idea by incorporating the Hawaiian shirt (or Aloha shirt) as an acceptable garment of business attire. The campaign, called “Operation Liberation,” helped bolster production for the island’s garment industry, while also celebrating the region’s cultural history. The growing tide of support for Aloha Fridays was strong enough to reach the shores of the mainland when “Casual Fridays” became prevalent around offices in the late ’80s.
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