The round of Christmas parties is coming up - the charity carol service, the office party, dinner at the chairman of the board's club, neighbours' drink dos and so on. You've bought the party dress, velvet trousers, nice shoes - you're going to look sophisticated, cool and generally gorgeous. But there's a fly in the ointment.
He can't be bothered. His chinos were bought from Bodens or Topshop six years ago and are past it, his jacket from C&A a hundred years ago and it hangs off him like a blanket. His shoes are down-at-heel black and boring. His shirts are all blue-striped and have suspicious grey rings around the collars.
There's no point turning up at the party, jewellery sparkling against velvet, everything perfect, if behind you is shambling a being of the male gender who looks as though he would be safer on a lead.
|Some party ideas|
Here are a few pointers -
1. Show him the photo of George Clooney above and tell him that's what he's going to look like when you've finished with him.
2. Throw away everything he may be tempted to wear - give it to a charity shop, if it's suitable for one.
3. Buy a new outfit for him - jacket, shirt, trousers, shoes, socks, pocket square.
4. Fit is the most important consideration. This means that a trip to the shops is necessary. If you can't tempt him to do this, book a meal at his favourite restaurant and tempt him into town that way. A final resort is shopping online, but judging fit, style and colour will be a problem, so select shops with good and painless return policies.
5. Easiest and safest might be to buy a suit - grey or blue flannel, or Prince of Wales check, or fine herringbone. A well-fitting suit can be worn tie-less for smart casual, but the considerations in para. 6. below apply.
Obviously if the invitations are for black tie, you will need to throw out that ancient evening suit and buy a replacement. If he moans about cost, go to M&S where evening suits are cheap and come in a variety of shapes and styles. Note that black tie means just that, so discourage the orange bow tie with highland terrier images on it - hardly cool and sophisticated.
6. At this stage, be safe with choice of colour and style. Go for classic shapes of jacket and trousers. A blazer, dark plain, or velvet, jacket are a start. It MUST fit well across the shoulders and not be too long in body or arm - smaller is better than larger. Choose a plain shirt - white is always good, with slimmish fit and collar not too large. Trousers or chinos that for well around backside and are not too long are essential. Try brighter colours in chinos, or something flannely and grey if you want more formal wool trousers.
|A blue blazer, white shirt and pocket square are a safe and stylish smart casual look|
Needless to say, no Christmas ties or jumpers should ever be worn, no man will look cool in these, however ironically they are worn.
If your man wears a tie, make sure he doesn't wear it undone - it's sloppy. Much better to take it off.
The pocket square is best if it's not the same fabric as the tie; pick out any colours in other clothes. For socks, the safest choice is to match sock to trouser colour.
7. Don't stint - the more you spend, the better the clothes will look and feel and last.
8. Pay out for a good pair of shoes. Not horrible pointed-toed ones - go for a well-made classic pair of brogues or loafers. Nowadays colour is a secondary factor, but I feel slightly uncomfortable if I'm not wearing black or dark-coloured shoes at an evening event.
I cannot over-emphasise that good shoes can make up for many sartorial shortcomings, so are, next to the jacket, the most important purchase for your man.
9. Finally, give your man a good scrub - shaved, hair cut, nails and hands clean.
10. After all this he will look good and will be feeling a bit cocky - so just keep a casual eye on him at the party in case you need to head off any predatory females with their eyes on your man.