In a hybrid work world, dressing for success has become a bit of a conundrum for many professional men splitting their time between the office and home.
According to local menswear blogger Anmar Salman, as pandemic trends linger, cultivating an individual style can be beneficial both personally and professionally for many men.
An Ottawa-based family physician by day, Salman’s passion for menswear led him to start his style blog Off the Cuff last year.
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“It’s a way for me to connect with and empower men to show up and put more effort into dressing well,” he said. “I’m neither a stylist nor an influencer. I am simply sharing my passion and, through sharing, building a community of menswear enthusiasts in Ottawa.”
During the pandemic, workwear fashion trends made a quick turn toward the ultra-casual, as office workers took meetings from their kitchens and living rooms. Salman said some of that relaxed attitude towards professional dress has stuck around in menswear, even as employees return to the office.
“I think a lot of people are having that conflict, especially going back to the hybrid environment. People are confused about what they should wear,” he said. “We are seeing more relaxed fits; less of the shirt-and-tie and more of the sport jacket, more of the knitwear.”
While there are ways to embrace the new normal of hybrid fashion, Salman said it takes intention and thought to do it well, while also maintaining professionalism. Cultivating an individual style, he said, can be beneficial for both the personal and professional lives of men.
“I see some men have kind of lost the drive or tenacity in terms of looking after their health and wellness,” he said. “Part of mental health specifically is about how you show up. What do you want to say about yourself through that style and the effort you put into it?”
Finding that style, he added, “Comes down to what impact you want to leave on your clients, stakeholders and team members. Think about how you want to be seen and what you want to portray. It’s not about the suit and tie, but that personal message you want to convey.”
In the world of menswear, Salman said “quiet luxury” is the current buzzword, influenced by popular TV series such as “Succession.”
For example, in place of a suit, many men are opting for the structure of a well-tailored jacket mixed with the comfort of a high-quality sweater. Salman said pieces tend to be versatile and earth tones have dominated the market. There’s also a move away from any visible branding or anything overtly flashy.
But Salman doesn’t suggest dressing based solely on trends.
“Ultimately, I really encourage men to find their own style and build on that,” he said. “Trends come and go, so you have to find your signature. For example, I work with a tailor based in downtown Ottawa and the gentleman still wears ascots. That’s his signature.”
Anmar Salman’s Top Five Style Tips for the Professional Man
1. Get tailored and made-to-measure clothing
“I can’t emphasize enough how important that is. Especially when you don’t have that off-the-rack size. Getting tailored and measured adds a bonus. Making sure your shirt and suit fit well is really important.
2. Spend time developing your signature style.
“I use Pinterest boards to inspire me on what the looks are, from Europe and elsewhere, to really develop that style.
3. Dress for the job you want
“If you’re looking to make it up that corporate ladder, look at a role model, someone who is higher than you, and dress for that job that you want.”
4. Find a stylist to work with
“Whenever I’m going to a new store, I research who works there, what their style is, and try to find someone that I can work with.”
5. Ask for advice from others
“Don’t fear asking other men. We are always happy to help each other and support each other. If you see a man with good style, or a good made-to-measure suit, go and ask them about it. We’re always happy to share.”