midwest queer fashion

life/style how-tos

Professional LayeringLike any other outfit, it’s best to start with the basics and then build from there. I paired a white OCBD with slate gray chinos; however, any dark pant and light colored button down combo will also work. This neutral starting point allows more flexibility for what you put on over this, whether it be more neutrals or richly saturated colors. 

It may seem like a silly step, but tucking in your shirt is incredibly important in maintaining a sleek, professional look. Not only does it keep you from looking disheveled, but it keeps your outfit’s proportions in check. Most button downs have longer ‘tails’ which can shorten your perceived leg length if they’re left untucked. I find it best to tuck the shirt in with the pants undone, then zip/button up the pants. 

Don’t forget to add a clean and simple belt. Leather is the most versatile; it’ll look good regardless of the season or degree of formality. 

Next, I added a thin, but super warm, wool cardigan. I went with one that had similar colors/tones that were already in the outfit. It may seem strange to wear a gray sweater on top of gray pants, but the detailed trim and texture do a great job of breaking the piece apart from the pants; this way it doesn’t look like you are one big monotone color blob. 

I then added my favorite navy wool blazer, which is a staple piece for any dapper wardrobe. It pulls together any outfit and upgrades your look from’cute english teacher’ to ‘boss’. Trust me, this investment piece will be worth every penny.

Accessories! This is where you can make your outfit into something unique and personal. Outside the workplace I love rocking bright floral button downs, but that doesn’t work in my own professional setting (this is highly variable based on your own workplace). That said, I still like to incorporate colors and prints into my outfits, just in more subtle ways.

By having the bulk of my outfit fall into the darker neutral territory (navy/gray), my floral tie ‘pops,’ but it doesn’t ‘scream.’ Likewise, pairing a pocket square with a color that is already in the outfit (via the tie) helps keep the color schemes melded together. The key to adding color to any outfit is to not overdo it; you don’t want the eye to be jumping all around to multiple ‘screaming’ parts of an outfit. 

If bold prints aren’t your thing, no worries! The beauty of a neutral base is that nearly any colored tie/bow tie would go perfectly. In addition, you can incorporate color outside of accessories. For instance, a richly saturated rust or forest green cardigan would go perfectly with a dark tie/bow tie. 

Details (What I’m Wearing // Similar Alternatives)
Rugby OCBD // H&M - $40 // Everlane - $55
J. Crew Bennett Chinos // Land’s End - $40 // J. Crew - $70
Madewell Leather Anchor Belt // ASOS - $27 // Everlane - $45
Madewell Cardigan // Crewcuts - $50 // Brooks Brothers - $150
J. Crew School Boy Blazer // Macy’s - $30 // Gap - $98
Liberty Print Floral Tie // TheTieBar - $15 // Topman - $20
Thrifted Handkerchief // TheTieBar - $8 // Tommy Hilfiger - $33
Professional Layering
Like any other outfit, it’s best to start with the basics and then build from there. I paired a white OCBD with slate gray chinos; however, any dark pant and light colored button down combo will also work. This neutral starting point allows more flexibility for what you put on over this, whether it be more neutrals or richly saturated colors. 
It may seem like a silly step, but tucking in your shirt is incredibly important in maintaining a sleek, professional look. Not only does it keep you from looking disheveled, but it keeps your outfit’s proportions in check. Most button downs have longer ‘tails’ which can shorten your perceived leg length if they’re left untucked. I find it best to tuck the shirt in with the pants undone, then zip/button up the pants. 
Don’t forget to add a clean and simple belt. Leather is the most versatile; it’ll look good regardless of the season or degree of formality. 
Next, I added a thin, but super warm, wool cardigan. I went with one that had similar colors/tones that were already in the outfit. It may seem strange to wear a gray sweater on top of gray pants, but the detailed trim and texture do a great job of breaking the piece apart from the pants; this way it doesn’t look like you are one big monotone color blob. 
I then added my favorite navy wool blazer, which is a staple piece for any dapper wardrobe. It pulls together any outfit and upgrades your look from’cute english teacher’ to ‘boss’. Trust me, this investment piece will be worth every penny.
Accessories! This is where you can make your outfit into something unique and personal. Outside the workplace I love rocking bright floral button downs, but that doesn’t work in my own professional setting (this is highly variable based on your own workplace). That said, I still like to incorporate colors and prints into my outfits, just in more subtle ways.
By having the bulk of my outfit fall into the darker neutral territory (navy/gray), my floral tie ‘pops,’ but it doesn’t ‘scream.’ Likewise, pairing a pocket square with a color that is already in the outfit (via the tie) helps keep the color schemes melded together. The key to adding color to any outfit is to not overdo it; you don’t want the eye to be jumping all around to multiple ‘screaming’ parts of an outfit. 
If bold prints aren’t your thing, no worries! The beauty of a neutral base is that nearly any colored tie/bow tie would go perfectly. In addition, you can incorporate color outside of accessories. For instance, a richly saturated rust or forest green cardigan would go perfectly with a dark tie/bow tie. 

Details (What I’m Wearing // Similar Alternatives)