Spend five minutes with any men's magazine and you'll quickly realize that the current trend du jour for guys is workwear, that classic American look that says, "I earn my living with my hands." (Even if yours only come out of their cashmere-lined gloves to tweet on your iPhone.)
The work boots, denim shirts and buffalo plaid of heritage brands like Red Wing
find themselves suddenly hip, while even perennial dad favorite L.L. Bean has partnered with a young designer to create a high fashion line
But for anyone who can remember the days of scuffed Doc Martens with a flannel tied around the waist, there's a fine line between keeping up with the current look and looking like you just finished a landscaping job.
Asylum reached out to two experts, Frank Muytjens, head of men's design at J.Crew
, and Michael Williams, of the vintage Americana blog A Continuous Lean
, for some dos and don'ts on how to wear the new trends.
Dos and Don'ts from Frank Muytjens
mix up workwear with formal. A distressed work boot under navy suit pants is cool, or a vintage military belt with a suit.
wear more then one workwear element in your outfit if you visit your friends in the country. You don't want to look like a dude from the city who thinks he knows how they dress upstate. Leave that precious Barbour jacket at home.
wear a flannel shirt, but make sure it fits properly, and wear it under a dressy sport coat for maximum distortion effect. A solid tie is a nice addition as well if you want to dress up.
wear plaid on plaid. Small doses go a long way.
wear long johns outside of the bedroom. Ever.
"Although flannel shirts have always been around, I think they are so relevant at the moment because they transport people back to a more nostalgic time. Flannel shirts last forever and only get better with age. I love how they fade, as if you found them in your granddad's closet in Nantucket."
Dos and Don'ts from Michael Williams
wear work boots with buffalo plaid shirts unless you are using a chain saw. Even then it's questionable.
wear something other than denim. Khakis were made famous by the military -- enough said.
wear Carhartt unless, again, you are actually doing work. This is just taking it too far.
invest in quality footwear and suits. Pay the extra money for the Goodyear welt and have your shoes re-done from time to time. It builds character.
"Enjoy this Americana/workwear thing while it lasts. Because in a season or two, when our economy is back up and running and the outlook is brighter, I suspect we will be dressing like Jay-Z -- i.e. all-black everything."