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You Should Wear Work-Appropriate Pants During Quarantine. Here’s Why

Wear the pants! They miss you.

For those of us with the privilege of working from home while sheltering in place, we’ve been at it for several months now. Maybe we’ve been getting away with answering conference calls and creating spreadsheets in a dress shirt and underwear—a “business-casual” combination in the most literal sense of the term.

But no matter what kind of work-from-home job we have—or even if we’re unemployed and tackling personal projects at home—we should fully dress as if going into the office, as if others were to see us. Dressing in pants (REAL pants, not sweatpants) while preparing for working remotely can set the tone for a productive day. However, the benefits go beyond feeling more work-ready.

You’ll Get More Proportional Use out of Your Wardrobe

In other words, you’ll wear your top-half and bottom-half businesswear equally as often. This is a bigger issue with suits than it is with suit separates or jeans. Each time you put on your suit jacket and neglect the matching trousers, you’re giving the jacket a day of wear that the pants miss out on. Enough shifting in your chair or unwittingly brushing against the wall, and you’ll wear your jacket out sooner than the pants that would otherwise be moving with you. How important it is, then, that your pants be exposed to the same environment as the matching jacket.

This idea may not make much difference in the short term, but we don’t know how long we’ll be working from home. Keep up the jacket-only look, and you’ll end up with a suit whose top half wears out long before its bottom-half companion. After quarantine, the last thing you want is to put on your full suit and find that the pants look newer than the jacket does.

Sure, you may end up with a nice pair of slacks that you can mix with other jackets, but you’ll still have to buy a new jacket, and there’s no guarantee that your new jacket will mix harmoniously with your pants; that will take some searching and money. Try to wear your suit pants as often as you wear your suit jackets, or at least make up for it somehow (perhaps by wearing your trousers by themselves for several wearings), and you’ll be able to retire both pieces at the same time.

You’ll Keep Your Weight and Diet (Read: Your Waistline) in Check

There are two pitfalls to neglecting your work-appropriate pants during a quarantine workday: becoming too big for them or becoming too small for them. People may run into the former case more often than the latter case. Unless it has been your goal to beef up or slim down during this quarantine to build a “new you,” staying the same size in pants can be an incentive to maintain your normal eating habits and exercise routine, two things that may fall by the wayside while working in such close proximity to your fridge and pantry.

Sweatpants, basketball shorts, and underwear, in all their elastic splendor, are forgiving around the waist and can conceal weight changes. It’s the comfy and easy option to tuck a nice shirt into your drawstring fleece lounge pants, because on Zoom, who’s going to know?—but it’s the deceiving option if your diet and exercise have changed. You’ll know whether your work pants fit only if you continue wearing them.

Buying new pants because you no longer fit your current pairs can deeply hurt your wallet and your self-esteem. It can also hurt your closet space. You may tell yourself, “I’ll fit back into those pants one day!” And you just might.

But whether you stay in the new size or work to fit back into your former size, you’ll have pairs of pants that are unusable, hogging valuable space in your wardrobe. Wouldn’t it be far more headache-free and cost-friendly to continue using the perfectly good pants that fit you because you KNOW that they fit?

If you haven’t put on your work-appropriate pants lately, please try them on as soon as possible to know where your waistline stands. And now that you’ve tried them on, KEEP them on, provided that they still fit you. How come? Keep reading.

You’ll Be More Productive

This is the most rewarding reason to wear your good pants at home while you work. Perhaps you’ve heard hiring managers, executives, or motivational speakers advocate for wearing your work-appropriate pants even when no one can see them. It’s true, though; you will take on your workday with greater poise and professionalism than you will in mere sweatpants. Be it a conference call, personal brainstorming, a virtual job interview, or a portfolio update, you’ll comport yourself differently.

Note how you carry yourself when you walk around in your nice pants. Note how you sit at your desk. Note how your tone changes when interacting with people. You’re going to look, sound, and feel more put together because you are more put together.

Bonus Reason: You’ll Want to Complete Your Outfit with Socks and Shoes

Since you’re almost fully dressed, you might as well put on your work-appropriate socks and shoes. You’ll feel obliged to do so. Don’t you miss it? (You may not, but I do. I love a killer shoe-sock combo.)

You’ll feel funny walking around in slacks barefoot or with slippers. Covering your feet in proper attire will take your professional demeanor to the next level. Not one bit of you will be dressed like you just rolled out of bed, and although you may have just rolled out of bed, getting in your complete outfit will help to leave any grogginess at the bedroom door so that you sound alert, composed, and in control of your workspace. Fully committing to an outfit—pants, shoes, and all—may give you the edge you need to succeed. 

The Bottom Line 

I’m not saying that you have to put on your good pants every single day while you’re working from home, but you might try it if you feel stuck in a rut with your quarantined nine-to-five. Wearing pants—proper pants—takes extra effort while working from home during quarantine, but you won’t regret it.

If you show some love to your bottom-half attire, then you won’t have disproportionate wear on your suits, and you can avoid having to live with a closet full of widowed trousers. You also won’t have to shell out money for blazers that pair well with your neglected dress pants.

Additionally, if you put on your pants regularly, you can be motivated to keep up your eating and exercise habits to ensure that those pants continue to fit. On both counts, your wallet will thank you.

Finally, wearing pants can be a security blanket if for nothing else. You eliminate the risk of standing up during the Zoom call and scarring your coworkers with an eyeful of pasty thighs and tighty-whiteys. Yikes.

Have you been wearing work-appropriate pants during quarantine? Why or why not? If so, how has wearing pants improved your performance? Let me know in the comments.

***

~Dr. Necktie

Today’s Outfit! (#SnazzySunday) 2 August 2020

On this #SnazzySunday, the bottom half matters just as much as the top half. A fairly safe suit and shirt combo called for a bright accent in the tie, so I went with one of my favorite colors: turquoise.

The oversized plaid pattern contrasts the tight geometry of the shirt nicely while I keep things in the blue color family.

I had to pull out these Ted Baker socks to match the tie and drive home that accent color. When you’re going for a bold look, nothing completes an outfit better than a killer pair of socks!

I’m still wearing pants (and socks and shoes) during quarantine. Are you?

***

~ Dr. Necktie

Today’s Outfit! (#SnazzySunday) 26 July 2020

On this #SnazzySunday, I’m going with a summer-friendly combination of blue and pink/purple. This shirt is neither pink nor purple; it’s somewhere in between. Unusual, but great when you can pair it with other things in your wardrobe.

Because of its skinnier collar points, this shirt begs to be worn with skinnier ties, so I threw on this microfloral design from Ted Baker. The pink buds light up beautifully against this shirt.

Even though this blue windowpane jacket is a bit on the heavy side, I had to complete the outfit with it to complement the rich navy base color of the tie. It works for the photo. 😉

Keeping my look sharp during quarantine has made all the difference in my life. I hope you can do the same. Stay safe, friend.

***

~ Dr. Necktie

My HEAVY Summer Fragrance Rotation (Fragrance Friday)

On this Fragrance Friday, I want to share five summer scents from my arsenal that I keep coming back to.

We fragrance enthusiasts love to try new fragrances, but sometimes we forget to enjoy our full-bottle collection, the mainstays in our fragrance wardrobe. These days, I’ve been showing my full bottles some love—especially during quarantine, when sampling new juice is more difficult than usual.

Here’s what I can’t get enough of during the heat of summer (in no particular order):

#1 Light Blue Eau Intense (Dolce & Gabbana)

A math equation: Light Blue + Summer = Heaven. It’s a no-brainer to reach for this one when it’s scorching outside. Light Blue is vibrant and gregarious and can bring these qualities out of you. As far as longevity goes, it lasts about as long as the summer days last. I don’t need very much to get a generous scent cloud around me.

Hear my complete thoughts about it in my video review:

#2 Arancia di Sicilia (Perris Monte Carlo)

Complex meets wearable in this Italian-style masterpiece. After draining the sample vial, I knew that I needed this in my collection. I’m elated that I finally have a full bottle. Arancia di Sicilia is refreshing by morning and delicious by night, a perfect olfactive imprint of a leisurely summer day.

Beautiful, sparkling blood oranges from Sicily (two different extractions). Gourmand elements with coffee and vanilla. Warm, rich amber-musk tandem. Everything in here smells incredibly natural.

This one is a really quiet performer, even in high heat, which will disappoint some people. But Arancia di Sicilia is for those who appreciate the subtle things in life.

#3 Luna Rossa (Prada)

If I only had four words to describe Luna Rossa, I would use these: shower in a bottle. If Luna Rossa had a sound, it would be the splash of cold water on your face. Get the picture?

This one is clean through and through. (Spearmint is a main player in here.) I love to put it on after exercising. Although linear, it does the trick of rejuvenating you and sending you into your day on a positive note.

Luna Rossa is another quiet performer, but for all the time that it’s a skin scent, it stays on for the long haul. No stinky guys this summer.

#4 Sundrunk (Imaginary Authors)

Look at the name, and then look at the label. This smells exactly as you would imagine. Sundrunk captures a keen moment of summer.

Sweet meets bitter with this neroli-rhubarb mix. It evokes a summer cocktail and desert at a beach-shack restaurant. Sundrunk is watery in the best (and worst) way. Like a sea breeze, it’s airy and light, so you need to keep reapplying to maintain your Sundrunk aura.

Among this list of poor performers, Sundrunk may be among the worst, but mileage may vary. Be liberal with it and pack it with you in your beach tote to relive and enhance your experience.

This scent conveys an original idea for a summer fragrance, avoiding the aquatic run-of-the-mill interpretations of summer (see fragrance #1 in this list). It’s refreshing to see this kind of artistry in the fragrance game; I love breaking up my summer fragrance rotation with this unconventional scent.

It’s just fun! Sundrunk isn’t for everyone, but I adore it.

#5 Play (Givenchy)

A nostalgic gem in my book. And it’s discontinued. Sad face.

It may not be special or groundbreaking, but it is to me. Play was my gateway into fragrances. My first real cologne. My graduation from Axe body spray.

Bright, sharp bergamot and pepper. Damp woods. I don’t hear of many designer fragrances these days that have amyris wood in them, but Play does. That may be one of its secret weapons.

Play carries many good memories for me. Many sunny days, in particular. Because it’s discontinued, I don’t wear it very often, so I really make it count when I put it on. In recent years, I’ve made Play a summer specialty to stay true to my youth.

This came out circa 2008, and it still smells as modern as they come. Not sure why this one disappeared from shelves. If I ever come across a good deal secondhand, I may have to spring for it.

What Are Your Summer Heavy Hitters?

Let me hear them! I want to know what’s in your summer fragrance rotation.

***

~ Dr. Necktie

Today’s Outfit! (#SnazzySunday) 3 May 2020

Suit: Hugo Boss
Shirt: David Donahue
Tie: Nordstrom Men’s Shop
Pocket Square: Ted Baker London

Hope everyone is staying safe out there. Today’s Snazzy Sunday is inspired by the warmer weather and the bright colors associated with it. I don’t wear green very often, but this paisley tie reminds me of the trees in full bloom through sunlight.

Thought I’d complement the green with my new pocket square that features koi fish (yes, koi fish!), a spread-out design that doesn’t take away from the complexity of the paisley pattern. For balance, the more organic patterns in the necktie and pocket square contrast the highly geometric shirt and suit.

Everything in this combination today keeps me feeling uplifted, which we all need during this time. I’m not out and about in a suit like I used to be, but if I weren’t in a suit, I wouldn’t be Dr. Necktie.

Be sure to keep up your health and sanity! If you can, get out in the sunshine and take a walk.

***

~ Dr. Necktie

5 Formalwear Mistakes to Avoid—NEVER Do These Things!

We’re always learning. So let these lessons sink in. Next time you dress up, do NOT make these five mistakes.

Mistake #1: Mismatched Shoe and Belt Colors

NEVER pair a black shoe with a brown belt (and visa versa). Black shoes, black belt. Brown shoes, brown belt. Match your leather accessories for a harmonious outfit. Please.

Mistake #2: Brown Shoes with a Black Suit

While we’re on the subject of mismatched colors, NEVER wear brown shoes with a black suit. This one is sometimes contested, but I will fight to the death for only black shoes with black suits.

Some say that you can pair a really dark brown pair of shoes with a black suit for something different, but if the shoes are so dark brown that they look black, then why not just get black?

With black suits, keep your look uniform and sleek with black shoes.

Mistake #3: Big Tie, Little Collar

It’s important to avoid wearing a tie too wide for your shirt. You generally want the bottom of the knot to be parallel with the tips of your collar. The tie on the left begs to be on a wider, longer collar. The tie on the right is more appropriate for this shirt.

Shirts with narrower, shorter collars tend to pair better with skinny ties, so check your tie widths and pair with your shirts accordingly.

Mistake #4: Poorly Hemmed Slacks

I see this all too often. Don’t leave the store without getting your pants properly hemmed! Or if the store at which you got your suit doesn’t offer alterations, find a tailor.

What is a proper hem length? There should be a slight “dimple,” or break, in the hem when you’re standing. This goes for pants that are cuffed, too.

Bonus tip: Don’t go the other extreme by letting the tailor give you no break in the hem. That trend comes and goes, and it looks like you’re halfway to capris.

Whatever happens, don’t let your slacks sit in a bunch on your ankles. Nothing kills a look more than baggy trousers.

Mistake #5: Improper Necktie Storage

NEVER—and I mean NEVER—store your ties pre-tied on a tie rack! This one makes my skin crawl. It hurts me to look at the picture on the left. (Heck, it hurt me to take the picture on the left.)

There are several ways to safely store your ties, but the photo on the left is NOT it.

You might think you’re saving yourself an extra step by tying your tie once and slipping it over your neck when you’re ready for it, but keeping your ties like this is terrible for them. I repeat: This is NOT GOOD for your ties.

You’ll put permanent creases in the fabric. Not cool! Further, you’ll break down the lining. Lining is what gives your tie its “body,” or structure.

If you’re scared to untie and retie a knot every time, then get more practice tying your tie. When your ties are not in use, they should be draped over a tie rack. Drape a tie right down the middle. Try to store only two to three ties per loop so as not to overcrowd a single rack loop.

If you don’t have closet space for a tie rack, you can also lay your neckties down in a drawer. Let the little end match the length of the big end and lay the tie down. The halfway point (where the tie bends) is where your tie would be otherwise draped on a rack. Many department stores display their ties this way.

You can also save drawer space by rolling up your ties. The idea is to avoid stressing the fabric with unnecessary folds.

The Bottom Line

Avoid these five formalwear mistakes, and you’ll have five fewer things to worry about when you’re dressing up. You’ll be a wiser man (and sharper-dressed, too) for righting these wrongs.

***

~Dr. Necktie

Today's Outfit! (#SnazzySunday) 22 March 2020

Suit: Hugo Boss
Shirt: Hugo Boss
Tie: Nordstrom Men’s Shop
Pocket Square: Hugo Boss
Cufflinks: Swarovski
Fragrance: The Scent Intense, Hugo Boss

Still staying snazzy on a Sunday.

Today’s #SnazzySunday outfit is all about clean lines and little details. I opt for a complementary color scheme in the tie-hanky combo. The windowpanes frame everything nicely.

I didn’t want to clutter this outfit up, so I keep it crisp with a solid white shirt. And I top things off with these infinity “rose gold” cufflinks from Swarovski, one of my favorite pairs of cufflinks ever.

Spritzed on some The Scent Intense (review here), and now I’m completely “Bossed” out.

A beautiful marriage of circles and squares!

Stay safe, and stay snazzy…

***

~Dr. Necktie

Today’s Outfit! (#SnazzySunday) 15 March 2020

Suit: Hugo Boss
Shirt: Hugo Boss
Tie: Hugo Boss
Pocket Square: Eton

I thought I’d share what I wore today and show off my spring combo! I’m going to make Snazzy Sunday a thing.

I chose a color I love, teal blue, and ran it through a stark black/white suit-and-shirt base. Necktie and handkerchief patterns this sweet shouldn’t compete with a patterned shirt. Pinstripes keep the look formal and classy.

Despite being cooped up from the coronavirus, I thought I’d still find some joy in dressing up.

Enjoy your Sunday, and have a healthy, productive start to your week! Stay snazzy…

***

~Dr. Necktie

Top 5 Spring Fragrances (Fragrance Friday)

Spring is just around the corner (in the Northern Hemisphere, that is), and on this Fragrance Friday I thought I’d share five of my go-to scents in my spring rotation.

This list will ascend from #5 to #1, #1 being the fragrance I’ll be reaching for most this spring.

#5: Arancia di Sicilia from Perris Monte Carlo

The only niche fragrance on the list, Arancia di Sicilia is everything we love about Italian perfumery: citric, clean, and classy.

It begins as you would expect: a sugary, floral orange. However, it takes a beautiful, unexpected twist. It turns dark, opulent, and musky, something you’d expect from a cool-weather fragrance.

As we straddle the seasons of cool and warm, Arancia di Sicilia becomes an obvious spring choice.

This smells expensive. Good thing, because it IS expensive. Well worth the money, if you ask me.

A word of warning: not as strong of a performer as some would like, but it’s so beautiful that it doesn’t matter.

See my review of Arancia di Sicilia here.

#4: L’Homme from Prada

L’Homme aptly matches the blooming freshness that comes with springtime. For a designer fragrance, it’s surprisingly complex. I detect a beautiful three-stage development when I wear it.

Iris is the main player, but the iris skews soapy-clean rather than powdery. The herbaceous base helps ground the fragrance.

Performance is borderline average, but that may be an advantage at work or in settings that you don’t need to stand out. This understated scent will speak for itself.

L’Homme exudes professionalism and class—something I reach for when I’m in my suit and tie and need to smell put together. I reach for this one during those transitory months in fall, but L’Homme is an easy reach for spring.

#3: Au Thé Blanc from BVLGARI

I adore this scent any time of year, but this white tea-based fragrance is a testament to the old adage: “Less Is More.” How simple and straightforward. *Chef’s kiss*

A best-seller in BVLGARI’s Eau Parfumée collection, Au Thé Blanc is light, refreshing, and natural, meaning that you’re not bogged down with cumbersome synthetics.

This also means that its unisex DNA will mold to the sex wearing it. Give it a chance, gents; Au Thé Blanc is peak understated masculinity.

This one is by far the worst performer on the list, Au Thé Blanc being an Eau de Cologne. I, however, combat this by shamelessly reapplying. That way I get to experience this tea-jasmine-musk trifecta over and over again.

#2: Luna Rossa from Prada

What I like to call “a shower in a bottle.” A more casual cousin of L’Homme.

Luna Rossa is incredibly refreshing in the spring. It extends that fresh-out-of-the-shower feeling throughout the day.

You can almost hear a diving splash when you spray it on. Fresh, watery spearmint and sweet lavender keep you invigorated and motivated.

Although Luna Rossa doesn’t project that far, you can take comfort in knowing that you smell clean. This, like the other Prada on the list, makes for a great work scent.

See my review of Luna Rossa here.

#1: Un Jardin Sur Le Nil from Hermès

I can’t think of many better “Spring in a Bottle” fragrances than Un Jardin Sur Le Nil. This one is powerful and juicy! For a fresher scent, it lasts impressively long.

Sur Le Nil has a stunning green mango note and a lively zing of green grasses and citrus. It doesn’t develop very much on my skin, but that’s okay. What you smell out of the atomizer is what you get, and what you get is lovely.

Like Au Thé Blanc, this one is more unisex, but everything about it captures the vibrance of spring.

What fragrances will you be rocking this spring?

***

~ Dr. Necktie

Fragrance Friday: Y (Eau de Toilette) from YSL

I have one question: Y?

Year of Release

2017

Notes

  • white aldehydes
  • bergamot
  • ginger
  • sage
  • geranium absolute
  • violet leaf
  • ambergris
  • incense
  • fir balsam
  • cedar
  • musk

Wear This…

on casual occasions. May be okay for work. Best in all weather.

Performance

Longevity: Average

~ 6–8 hours.

Projection: Average

Pushes out for around 2 hours, then pulls back gradually to a skin scent.

Dynamic/Linear?

Dynamic. The opening is sharp and attention-grabbing (to its detriment), and then it dries down to a generic, musky finish. Meh.

Evokes…

youthful edginess. Y definitely skews young. This fragrance sets out to be a high-school bad-boy scent, but doesn’t succeed. Y is just okay.

There’s some note in Y that I can’t stand, and I can’t distinguish exactly what it is. (It’s worse in the Eau de Parfum.) It feels like an acrid, sharp, herbal thing that doesn’t jive well with the other notes.

After the first few hours, it dies down into a generic, citric-fresh scent that smells good, but unoriginal. Y is a modern scent profile, though … I’ll give it that.

Price

$60 for 40 mL

$75 for 60 mL

$95 for 100 mL.

On par for designers. If you love it, it’s worth the price.

The Bottom Line

This whole thing is incredibly mediocre.

Overall, Y from YSL feels a bit careless in its composition. It feels rushed. It feels poorly blended. Worst of all, it feels generic. There are many other options for a youthful, modern, casual scent that are better executed than this.

Y did we need this release?

Final Rating: C-

***

Have you tried Y from YSL? Let me know what you think of it in the comments below.

~ Dr. Necktie