A short guide to getting that St Andrews vibe…
Now we all know St Andrews men love their fashion; I doubt there is anywhere else in the world where it is almost socially unacceptable to step out during the daylight hours in a simple jeans and t-shirt. And now with the recent appeal from the high street for the average guy to smarten up their style, the St Andrews male must severely up his game to separate the wheat from the proverbial chaff.
In order to create the perfect St Andrews look, there are many elements that need to be carefully considered. Below I give you the three main staples and a few cheeky accessories tips.
The chino has long been a St Andrews staple, but the influx of high street variations has allowed bubble outsiders to imitate the sacred St Andrews dress code. The key to a good pair of chinos is the fit, the colour and the material.
Girls wear heels and short skirts to make their legs look longer, so why do guys insist on wearing trousers half way down their backsides? A good chino should be tailored, but not skinny. By having the trousers sitting on the waist the leg length balances out the horizontal lines of the shoulders, giving a leaner silhouette.
Regardless of whether you are going for lurid colours or the neutral range, the chino should be in rich tones. Consider a deep camel, or dark chocolate brown for a classic look, or perhaps the St Andrews red trouser. Whatever the colour or hue it should be sharp and solid, with no colour variation. Blues are perfect for the blonde haired, blue-eyed men, whereas the pale lilacs and greens should be reserved for, either the more outgoing, or the art historians.
One key thing to remember is that cheap fabrics, including poly-blends, become shiny. It’s not a good look. A thick cotton is needed for the chinos to be truly effective. The cotton will be warm in winter and cool in summer. Such is the nature of most natural fibres.
The shirt, like the chino, is a vital component of the St Andrews get-up. A good shirt, like a good pair of shoes, can make or break an outfit. The fit should be such that the lines connecting the sleeves to the main body should be at the widest point of the shoulders, and should be vertical. If it sits diagonally it is too large and that invariably spoils how the shirt sits on the torso.
Now onto colour and print. Will we ever get rid of the checked shirt? I’m not massively for or against it myself. It just appeared out of nowhere a few seasons back and seems set to stay. I’m unsure exactly what colour scheme I prefer, but my favourite at the moment is one of rich oranges, greens and reds. The rich colours work well with a black skinny jean, but maybe not so much with the tailored chino.
Stripes are probably the way to go to maintain that St Andrews vibe. White should be the predominate colour, keeping it fresh. Black as a base weighs it down, and can cheapen a good cut. The simple blue and white stripe may soon be trumped by the red and white stripe. The hint of red complements the standard camel chino perfectly and enhances most skin tones.
Another noticeable change to the humble shirt is the contrasting collar. Whether it’s a simple blue shirt with a white collar or a white shirt with purple collar, button strip and cuffs, it’s formal and makes a statement. It’s not for the faint-hearted, or for the man who wants to keep it classic.
The boat shoe is one of those style statements that works for all weathers and all occasions. Whether worn with an upturned trouser and bare ankle or a classic chino and a flash of a bright sock. The most versatile of colours is brown. Nowhere near as smart as a black suit shoe, it’s casual, yet can be so easily smartened up. Other colour variations are blue and red, but brown stands out because of its simple understated glamour. Make sure they are made of leather as it will increase their longevity and will only look better with age.
In summer the classic bare ankle and shorts look is present throughout St Andrews. Yet in September the deck shoe returns to St Andrews fresh from sailing holidays and Pimms garden parties together with their partners in crime, the coloured sock. Yes boys, socks are important in your life. As the chinos should sit long on the leg, the sock is only visible occasionally and can be used to as much effect as the girls can use garters. And we’re not talking Homer Simpson prints. I mean stripes and block colours. As with everything, keep it classic and simple.
Another interesting accessory thrown up seems to be the pocket handkerchief. Placed in the upper pocket of a blazer it breaks up the block colour and gives a creative flair. There are plenty of vintage silk ones out there that give a far more classic look to the whole outfit.
To stop your chinos from slipping down to your knees a belt is needed. To keep on the safe side go for brown leather. It will last for years if of good quality so is worth the investment. If colour is the way you want, and it looks effective with neutral trousers, go for coloured leather or fabric on a leather base. It will be harder wearing and should maintain a richer colour.
So there are the basic basics to an indoors St Andrews look. Jackets, coats, scarves and other paraphernalia should be thrown into the mix in order to combat the Scottish winter, but that will have to wait until it gets just a little bit colder.
Image Credit – Millicent Wilkinson