It’s a problem that most of us have faced at some time, and most of the rest of us will still face at some point in the future. You want to look smart for the evening, but you don’t want to be dressed up all day long and you don’t have time to go home and change. While it may not work for a super-formal dinner, a lot of the time the problem can be solved with the following surprisingly simple steps. In many ways, this is a problem that people are more likely to overthink than anything.
To start with, you will need a pair of reasonably smart pants, since you’re likely not going to have a chance to change them. This is simple enough, except for a exercising a bit of judgement based on your circumstances. You might not want to wear your very best trousers, especially if they will be put “at risk” in some way from wearing them during the day. Go for a pair of pants that will look reasonable as part of an everyday outfit, but won’t stand out as casual when you’re trying to look a bit more neat and tidy.
You’ll want to wear some kind of buttoned shirt that can be seamlessly worked into the more formal version of your outfit when evening rolls around. If the idea is to look natural during both the daytime and the evening and make the transformation seamless, it is probably best not to wear a plain shirt. To a lot of people, a white shirt just screams “this guy’s all dressed up, he’s just taken half his suit off to relax.” Go for some sort of colourful, patterned, yet sensible shirt that will look like it’s been chosen for its own sake, yet will not look out of place when it finds itself coupled with something smarter.
When you’re dressed in the way described above, you probably won’t look like you’re actually dressed up to go anywhere. You may look a little smarter than you usually do, or you might not – it depends on your personal sense of style. But with this outfit, it becomes a very simple matter to smarten up. All you need is one or two extra items which can be stored in your car, or in a friend’s car, or left at reception, or whatever is convenient until they are needed.
The most important is a smart jacket or blazer. Fold it up neatly – or, preferably, find somewhere top hang it or to lay it down carefully such as the back seat of your car – and it won’t get too creased. Put it on, and suddenly and in one simple move your outfit will be elevated several notches on the smartness scale all at once. It’s really that easy. Depending on how smart you want to be and on your own tastes, you can do the same with a tie too. Potentially, you can go from a neat-but-casual shirt and slacks to a nice suit just by putting on a couple more items. One note on footwear: you can either wear plain black or brown shoes to start with, or wear what you want and store a smarter pair with your jacket.