Wednesday, 1 August 2012

6. Shirt buying guide - Part 3: Smart Casual Shirt & Recipe: Chickpea Salad


I've got a bit of a two-fer-one deal for you today. As the final part of my shirt buying guide is short, and I said I'd post a recipe - I'll throw in a chickpea salad recipe too. It's as easy to make as it is to 'forget' to take the bins out. Let's get the business part out of the way first, though.

Today's post is about the smart casual shirt. First and foremost, let's think of the purpose. Where would you wear this, and why? The typical reason would be a going out to a bar that has a collared shirt policy. Keep in mind that a decent smart casual shirt will cost over $100, but don't let that scare you away. Think of it as an investment.

The primary factors are pattern and colour. As previously stated in last week's post, the shirt should fit the shape of your body. A flattering fit is a big part of this kind of shirt, in my opinion. 


With smart casual shirts, the detailing of the patterns should be smaller, subtle and understated. Stripes should be avoided unless they are extremely subtle. Plain coloured shirts work well. Gingham is a good, safe pattern to get you started (pictured below). If you're feeling adventurous, try polka dots with a pair of chinos. 

Relax, I don't know how to pronounce gingham either.


As a rule of thumb, darker colours are generally smarter. However, we want to broaden the spectrum of colour in your wardrobe, so we're going to avoid black and grey. Pastel colours are great, and often work well with blazers.

YD has the most horrible shirt colours, ever. They are based on colour choices from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, which was on television 10 years ago.

You're not 18 anymore, stop being a tryhard.

Do: light blue, pink, white or navy
Don't: brown, grey, black, teal or anything from YD.


A good thing with this kind of shirt is that more or less anything goes. Epaulets (those shoulder things you button down), one/two pockets, button cuffs, French cuffs - it's all good.

One thing I would advise, is to avoid is any writing, graphics or over-the-top branding. Keep it tasteful. A small guy riding a horse playing polo isn't so bad. On the other hand, an essay from G-Star is a bit much. The colour and fit of the shirt should be the priority, not the branding.

Smart casual shirts can be difficult as there are a lot of grey areas. Just keep it simple - good fit, no black, no stripes and isn't smashed with branding. Shop around and be picky, you are making an investment after all.

To help get you started, try the following brands for smart casual shirts:

- Ted Baker
- Paul Smith
- Nigel Lincoln
- Marcs (especially the 'Elvis' range)
- Hugo Boss
- Jack London

Chickpea Salad Recipe


1 can chickpeas, drained
1 small tomato, chopped coarsely
1 small lemon
Bunch of flat leaf/continental parsley, chopped finely
(If you're badass - sprinkle a bit of paprika for a subtle kick)

"Man, I hope Loic doesn't make us into something really tasty."


Put it in a bowl. Squeeze the lemon on it, give it a stir.

And there you have it; a beautiful Mediterranean-style salad. It's great because of its simplicity and chances are you're going to have everything on hand. It's nutritionally sound, with plenty of protein and fibre. Though, if you still have original hips and teeth I wouldn't worry about the fibre.

"God dammit."

Next Wednesday I'll look into clothing brands, branded clothing and the difference between the two. Something tells me that G-Star is going to get a hiding.


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