Life Off the Red Carpet.

(Pitch Perfect Sandra Bullock Oscar Night 2011. But look closely at the “Vans” worn by the guy in the background… Really?)

Oscar fashion. The red carpet pix! The hits! The misses…. Apparently that all happened last night. I caught a glimpse of Kevin Spacey talking to a camera on a morning news show. He looked perfectly respectable and well-turned out. Good! Tom Hanks, comedian that he is, commented that he would just as soon be at home in sweat pants instead of at an after party. He is a riot, that guy.

It got me thinking; it should be very easy to look good on the red carpet. Designers create and/or loan gowns and suits for the stars. Jewelry is layered on like so much pirate’s booty. Of course, you have to know what looks good on you despite what the stylists might say. Which is why there are some mistakes made. I’ve just reviewed some red carpet shots. In general the women looked very good and the men didn’t look too bad. That’s about as much as anyone can hope for.

But what about those in-between times? Life off the red carpet?

I’m about to go out on a limb here. I’ve always stressed looking as good as possible. And for me, that has almost always meant wearing beautifully cut suits, sport coats and odd trousers. I’m starting to think that I may actually belong to the Pleistocene era of sartorial awareness. Outside of a major metropolitan area — those great cities of the world like New York, Paris, London, and the like — I wonder if there is any call at all to “dress up?” (A quick aside. My son accidentally turned on the today Show this weekend and I caught a glimpse of Lester Holt, who was very well dressed indeed. He was a master class in colour theory, wearing clothing so suitable to his skin tone that I couldn’t help looking at his face even while trying to study his costume.)

And that leaves me with a conundrum. How relevant is my advice, my commitment to “dress clothing”, to the world at large?

So, in an effort to modernise, I want to begin to explore “smart casual,” the way the world (hopefully) dresses off the red carpet, but still in the public eye. Think of it as the “Easy” part of the Easy and Elegant Lifestyle.

Step One: a firm grounding for your style: Shoes.

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