Putting it All Together: Weekend Wear for the Menfolk

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What looks great on men? And what IS a real man, anyway -- be he husband, uncle, father, son? For the next episode of Putting It All Together, we're looking at the men in our lives: husbands, fathers, friends. What do we want (to help :) our men to be/come?

I'll be talking with you about what makes a guy stylish, while Ree of Pioneer Woman will be talking romance; Sheila of Xiaolin Mama is talking about modern-day dads and life partners; Holly of Nothing But Bonfires is looking at how real men support the women in their lives; and Rhoda of Southern Hospitality is talking about the little touches that mean so much.

Let's start with weekend wear. Gentlemen, I'm looking at you. Let's talk. I'm assuming you've got the weekday thing down, if only because there are rules at work about what you can and cannot wear, but I know for a fact that when I see you all at the coffee shop and in the carpool line during the week, you look pretty darn spiffy. And then I see you on the weekend and it's like you're a different man. One who thinks that a tank top and a pair of man-sized camo Crocs are appropriate attire for someone with a mortgage and a 401K. Well, they're not. Ever.

Let's start with weekend wear. Gentlemen, I'm looking at you. Let's talk. I'm assuming you've got the weekday thing down, if only because there are rules at work about what you can and cannot wear, but I know for a fact that when I see you all at the coffee shop and in the carpool line during the week, you look pretty darn spiffy. And then I see you on the weekend and it's like you're a different man. One who thinks that a tank top and a pair of man-sized camo Crocs are appropriate attire for someone with a mortgage and a 401K. Well, they're not. Ever.

I understand the siren song of the tank top, believe me, especially on the weekend -- after all, you're probably planning to work in the yard or do some projects around the house, and of course, unlike a work day, there's always the possibility that you'll score a nap after lunch, or get to start drinking beer at 4 pm. But there's also the possibility that you'll wind up standing in the street talking to the neighbors, who will forever after refer to you as Tank Top Guy, which is just wrong.

So what's the alternative? A great tee and a cool pair of shorts. The tee needs to fit properly -- shoulder seams should sit at the shoulder, not halfway to your elbow, and the hem should be long enough to tuck comfortably (even if you're wearing it untucked). Shorts should hit just above the knee; if they're a little big, fine, but wear a belt -- we don't want to see your underwear.

A polo is a nice alternative to a t-shirt for the weekend; it's a little more dressed up, because it has a collar, but it's not exactly dressy. You can wear this to play with the kids, and then if the afternoon suddenly bleeds over into dinner out, you're ready to roll.

Cargo shorts are great, as long as the pockets aren't out of control, and as long as you don't try to fill them with a ton of stuff. Car keys, wallet -- that's pretty much it. If you're toting more than that, you probably need a bag.

Or go with a basic flat-front chino short. And yes, I know pleats seem more comfortable, but trust me -- they're not doing you any favors, especially if you're already carrying a little extra you in the midsection. The flat front is substantially more flattering, I promise.

What goes on your feet? A cool pair of Converse Jack Purcells is perfect with this look, but your running shoes are fine too, if you're not that into shoes. Sandals are also ok, as long as your toenails are trimmed and clean, and you skip the socks. But for god's sake, do not leave the yard in those Crocs. Please.

Your turn: What's your favorite casual men's look for the weekend? Or your least favorite?

Susan Wagner writes about pragmatic fashion at The Working Closet and chic suburban living at Friday Playdate.

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