Casual Friday – how to avoid a wardrobe malfunction

Casual Friday guide for big & tall menFor most people working in a corporate or office environment casual Friday, also known as dress-down Friday, comes as a welcome reprieve from strict business attire. But as anyone who has watched the casual Friday episode of the US version of The Office will know, it can mean many things to many people and can so easily go badly wrong.

So what are the options and what are the do’s and don’ts to avoid a career defining moment?

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. After all, the whole point of casual Friday is that it offers more freedom to express your individual style. It also depends largely on the industry or profession you work in and the culture of your specific workplace.

To maintain a degree of professionalism, many companies’ HR departments have drafted policy guidelines on what is and isn’t acceptable, but here are some pretty obvious no-no’s.

Keep the beachwear (thongs, shorts, crew neck Tshirts and singlets) for the weekend. Also avoid runners and any kind of sports gear – though you might just get away with wearing team colours on the eve of a Grand Final weekend!

Casual Friday mistakes
Keep beachwear for the beach

So what can you wear?

As a general rule of thumb, if you choose casual for your top half, keep it a bit smarter below the belt. Alternatively, if you decide to keep it strictly business above the belt, relax a little with the pants.

So, one option is to mix ‘n match a more formal business shirt with a pair of jeans – particularly on jeans for genes day. But make sure the jeans are smart – avoid too skinny or too baggy and leave the old torn-at-the knees jeans for the weekend.

Geoffrey Beene and Nicholby & Harvard make a great range of 100% cotton business shirts in sizes ranging from 46 to 56. For jeans, choose between Chisel, Blazer, Gant and RM Williams. And if you want the ultimate in comfort, you can’t look past Brax and Eurex.

Casual Friday dress options
Casual Friday – above and below the belt

Another mix ‘n match option is to wear a more casual shirt with a pair of cotton chinos or even more formal dress pants. If this is your chosen option, best to stick with long sleeve shirts rather than short sleeve, even if it means rolling the sleeves up on warmer days.

Generally speaking, you should choose a slightly more classic fitting casual shirt. Blazer and Gant offer some great casual shirts for big & tall men. But if you need the room, RM Williams and Nautica will provide a more relaxed fit.

Of course the really big question when wearing a casual shirt, quite often foremost in the minds of bigger men: tail tucked in or left out? This really takes us back to the type of industry you are in and the company culture. If in doubt, take it to the TMO – ask your wife or partner.

In cooler months, a fine wool V neck sweater or vest and/or a smart sports jacket will work equally as well with all these options.

Regardless of which casual Friday outfit you choose, don’t ruin it with the wrong choice of shoes. RM Williams boots are a perennial favourite in Australia, but otherwise any smart pair of leather or even suede shoes will work.

Conclusion
Enjoy the opportunity to express your individual style, but make sure casual doesn’t become sloppy and maintain a degree of professionalism at all times. Finally, check your diary before dressing on a Friday morning… just in case you’ve scheduled a meeting with an important client or the bank manager and don’t let this happen to you…

Casual Friday gone wrong
But, I thought you said ‘boardie meeting’!
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Are you a big man?

“What’s the biggest size you have?” This has to be one of the most commonly asked questions when customers call the Ron Bennett Big Mens Clothing store.

If you’re a truly big and tall man, you’re no doubt very used to being told – often in fairly derogatory terms – “sorry, we don’t stock your size”. You are very unlikely to hear that if you call 1800 625 510.

The Big Mens Clothing store has the most extensive range of clothing for big and tall men in Australia, catering for chest sizes up to 190cm and waist sizes up to 160cm.

Individual brands have very individual ideas about sizing, but if you typically fall within the size range 2XL to 7XL, then Big Mens Clothing has got you covered.

Similarly, many men find themselves at the top end of the ‘regular size’ spectrum (usually XXL), but are not sure if they fit within the big men’s size range.

To help you determine if you are a ‘big man’, we have put together an infographic outlining the minimum and maximum range of measurements.

But it’s important to note that individual brands and products may only be available for a portion of these measurements.

For example: Bennett Pique Polos range from 145-173cm chest size, whereas Bennett Mercerised Polos range from 130-162cm chest size.

If you are a big man, contact Ron Bennett Big Mens Clothing.

Ultimate size guide for big & tall men
Are you a big man?

Fail-Safe Outfits for Every Occasion

Spring has officially sprung as of this weekend, marking the start of spring weddings, end of financial year work parties and soon before you know it, it will be Christmas function time. This of course means, dusting off those old-party outfits. To save you mind space more readily used elsewhere we have put together three fail-safe outfits for the three most common occasions you are likely to encounter in the next few months.

BlazerThe Work Event All Rounder

Work events present a unique set of problems as you what you wear says a lot about you, and in a business environment this essentially can make or break a workplace balance. Therefore, we have hand-picked specific items which will allow you to cut an impressive figure at any work/formal occasion thrown your way.

The most important element to this situation is a classic cut fitted blazer. This navy item from Ron Bennett featuring sophisticated detailing that is ideal in creating a modern look. Combine with fitted, suit pants, a lightweight neutral coloured business shirt and finish with a pair of confident and comfortable lace up dress shoes and you are ready to impress.

The Weekend Go-Too

When the weekend rolls by you don’t want to be wasting any precious time pre-occupied  with delving through your man-drobe to find something as impressive as it is casual.

Therefore we would recommend putting this unbeatable combination to the test. Try combining a pair of black cargo shorts (we like this pair by Bennett) with a casual polo like this blue number from G. Cavalli. Throw in some all-round comfortable and durable casual shoes and you have yourself a stand by classic ensemble which will see you through your weekend adventures. While it is true that a great looking t-shirt can set the perfect tone for an unbeatable ensemble, but if the weather turns cooler, keep a versitile jacket in mind which you can throw on to complete your look.

danielThe Casual Throw On

This outfit should be your reactive go-to when awoken by a less than impressed friend wondering why you are not already at breakfast like previously arranged. Knowing you already have an outfit ready to go, is just one less hurdle for you to jump on these such mornings.

To ensure this is versatile enough to get you through any situation, the safest bet will always be a great pair of jeans. We are particular fans of the darker washes, as they will hide all forms of sins, stretching your time between necessary washes. Follow the Daniel Craig’s example and add a simple white t-shirt and throw on a grey knit cardigan and your good to go.

Blog Writing by Alexandra Jones-Best 

Big & Tall Man of the Week: Liam Neeson

liam neeson styleWith his distinguishable Northern Irish accent and steely ‘don’t-mess-with-me’ glare, Liam Neeson has always been an idol of ours. With a broad frame, standing at an impressive 1.93 meters, Neeson is undeniably a big and tall man with a dramatic presence.

Born on June 7, 1952 in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, UK, Liam Neeson’s career had a long road before the bright lights of Hollywood. Starting out as a forklift operator for Guinness, he tried his hand at a number of careers, including; truck driver, assistant architect and even amateur boxer.

In was only in 1976 that Neeson first became involved in the arts, joining the Belfast Lyric Players’ Theatre and making his professional acting debut in the play “The Risen People“.

takenAfter two years, Neeson moved to Dublin’s Abbey Theatre where he began performing regularly and was eventually spotted by director John Boorman and cast in his first high profile film ‘Excalibur’ (1981). But it was his breakout role in the unexpected box office hit ‘Taken‘ in early 2009 in which Neeson found a new surprise career as an action leading man.

After a brief sabbatical from acting to grieve the tragic loss of his wife, Neeson returned to high-profile roles in 2010 with back-to-back big-budget films, returning to his area of expertise in the action genre with films such as ‘Unknown’ (2011), ‘The Grey’ (2011), ‘Battleship’ (2012), and ‘Taken 2′ (2012), as well as the sequel ‘Wrath of the Titans’.

liam neeson 2Achieve Neeson’s iconic look by combining your favourite navy blazer with a casual pair of dark indigo jeans. We recommend this classic jacket by Blazer featuring sophisticated detailing that is ideal in creating a modern look. Crafted from soft, durable 100% wool, this two button blazer includes intricate crest emblazoned buttons, two rear vents and stylish black and white inner stitching. Pair with these dark wash R.M. Williams and you have an unbeatable combination. Built to last, these jeans are constructed in Australia from robust denim and are specially designed for a rugged yet stylish man.

Off the red carpet, Neeson distinguished his tall frame with casual button down shirts combined with jeansand more often than not, a coat fitted perfectly to his masculine shape.

It’s also nice to know, that even as one of the most distinguished actors around today, Neeson is still as humble as ever, being quoted saying:

“Some mornings you wake up and think, “Gee, I look handsome today.” Other days I think, “What am I doing in the movies? I wanna go back to Ireland and drive a forklift”.

Blog Writing by Alexandra Jones-Best 

Our Top Pick Of The Week

Our Top Pick of the Week

James-Gandolfini-590

Before we get into it, we would like to take a moment to remember this great man, James Joseph Gandolfini who recently, tragically passed away. He was and always will be a great actor, and style icon. He will not be forgotten. 1961-2013. Rest in Peace.

Pick of the Week:

Finding and buying a good winter coat is no small task. Good outerwear during the colder months needs to be versatile enough to be worn with everything — formal or casual — day or night — and still look good whilst keeping you from freezing.

With the weather well and truly committing to winter, why not beat the chill in our pick of the week: the ‘Blazer- Duffle Coat‘.

Duffle coat 2

Duffle 5.0     Duffle 4.0

It is interesting to note that the origins of the Duffle Coat can be traced back as far as 1887, when it was popularized during World War  Two.  A British purveyor of outerwear, John Partridge had began to design and offer the Duffle coat for sale only a few years later.

According to Gentleman’s Gazette, soon after World War Two, the Royal British navy was searching for a hard-wearing, sailor-proof coat, and so the British Admiralty commissioned the Duffle coat, which turned out to be a great success and was thereafter worn on military ships around the world.

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Generals Bubbles Barker & Monty in a huge Duffel Coat                      

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Sir David Stirling, founder of the SAS with Duffle Coat in the Desert

Our Blazer version of the Duffle coat is an undeniably great way to rug up throughout the cooler months. This black version of the coat from Blazer cuts a sharp, stylishly modern tone and is ideal to wear over a suit or dinner wear. Featuring a lace tie hoodie, two front pockets and two inner pockets, this versatile piece will never go out of fashion.

Jump online now to purchase your new second skin, which will last you through many winters to come!

Big Men’s Key Trends for 2013

Big Men's Trends 2013

The Nautical look

As fashion designers and high street retailer’s alike look towards Spring, one of the leading trends proving to be extremely prevalent for SS13 is the return of the Nautically inspired look. This is a trend which has lasted the ages, disappearing and reappearing every few seasons, but it is one which has truly stood the test of time.

With Dolce & Gabbana (below) taking the theme to the extreme with their latest campaign, Tommy Hilfiger’s SS13 (below) campaign similarly takes an interest, with an entire family portrayed in the current trending pattern, with Breton stripes integrated onto polo shirts, knitwear and shorts.

Nautical, style, men's trends

How to work this for you: This trend is fantastic in its versatility, as it can be incorporated into any item of clothing, and suits one and all. For a casual foray into the nautical, embrace stripes and thick knits in grey’s and navy’s. Combine this with a light tan pant to achieve a classic look which will never fall out of favor.

The Not-so-Formal Jacket

With Gatsby fever sweeping the nation, men everywhere are taking note of their 1920’s predecessors and suiting up!

The-Great-Gatsby-dicaprio

Most noticeably, key players in the fashion industry are playing off this current enthusiasm by resurrecting the dinner jacket.

Historically, the suit was considered as everyday menswear, but in the last twenty or so years, this idea fell into disregard. Ever since the blazer and dinner jacket have been generally only reserved for formal occasions. That is, until the 2013ss collections of main players, Dior, Louis Vuitton and Hermes took to center stage.

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Dior Homme 2013                                       Louis-Vuitton

Utilizing a multitude of colors, patterns and styles (three button down to the classic one button) buyers have flooded their stores with blazers, dinner jackets and  sports coats.

Teaming them with jeans, cargo pants and classical dress pants, they have created a range of styles to suit any taste and frame.

To incorporate this look yourself, don’t be shy to throw a sports coat over jeans and a tee shirt to class up any outfit. Just this simple addition to any wardrobe will greatly extend your closets life, giving you endless options.

For a casual weekend look, why not throw a sports coat over jeans and a polo. This outfit will take you from lunch with friends, to dinner and drinks anywhere, without the need to change or feel distinctly under-dressed.

Remember: A suit should always remain buttoned until one sits, when it usually becomes necessary to unfasten the jacket. Once one stands again, the jacket should be refastened. Of course there are always exceptions to every rule!

Suits, Union and a Winning Mentality

Suits, Union and a Winning Mentality

With the Wallabies match against the British & Irish Lions looming ever closer, the focus on these players’ lives will intensify in the coming week both on and off the field.

Remarkably this year, the attention seems to be drawing too the teams personal appearance, as the two teams take the fight off the field and go head to head in the style stakes.

In a recent interview with TheDailyMail UK, British & Irish Lions Tour Manager, Andy Irvine, stated:

‘Everybody knows that the importance of a winning mentality in sport is paramount, and there are several factors that contribute to this. The 2013 Lions will be some of the best dressed sportsmen in the history of The Lions – and we believe that this winning mentality off the field will translate to a strong performance when the Four Nations come together as one on the field.’

Big-Men-Clothing High-and-Mighty-clothing
(L-R) Lions trio Tom Croft, Rob Kearney, Tommy Bowe   (fr) Richard Hibbard in his new Lions blazer

This is a challenge our Wallabies are sure to meet with passion, as they have proven in the past they are no stranger to style, stepping up to the fashion plate with their own arsenal of crisp tailoring, classic silhouettes and elements of bond-esk panache.

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Israel Folau

For these men, as well as countless others across Australia, size is no longer their biggest asset when endeavoring to find suitable attire for their big night.

Having larger than average measurements (for e.g. Manu Tuilagi of the British Lions has a collar size measuring 20.5in and Welsh prop Adam Jones had a chest size spanning an impressive 51.5in), means that articles need to be tailored to allow for a comfortable fit.

With more Sports stars appearing in fashion campaigns, on the cover of style journals and branching out into their own businesses outside of sport, it is no wonder they are trying harder than ever to impress in the spotlight.

For the everyday man, this serves to highlight the growing demand for fashion which meets the big and tall standards of todays ‘Average Male’.

As the fashion industry slowly adapts to this change, durable, well-made clothes that are flattering and well cut become more essential than ever and when it comes to stylish clothes tailored to the king-sized man, Ron Bennett is the undisputed king.

But tailors and suits aside, with anticipation rising in the wake of the countdown to the first Test against the British and Irish Lions, the Wallabies are sure to prove a force to reckon with, both on and off the field.