Gone are the 80s, those glorious Yuppie-fied days where everyone walked around with shoulder pads out to here and slicked-back hair. These days we spend our time trying to look like we haven’t spent any time on our look at all. Sounds tricky, doesn’t it? With this list of ten essential items for laid-back style, you’ll be cool and casual and totally insouciant in no time at all.
1. Striped square scarf
This is the ultimate unisex accessory for cool weather or overzealous summer air conditioning. The best scarves are soft, washed cotton in a natural shade. Look for stripes in faded colors like stormy ocean gray or pine forest green. Stark white is for tablecloths.
2. Messenger bag
The more beat up, the better. You can drop a month’s paycheck on a hand-stitched and distressed Italian leather bag, or you can raid your local flea market for an authentic Soviet-era Eastern European military bag for the price of a latte.
3. A smile.
Looking bored is so 90s. Yeah, you’ll be cool, but you’ll also be completely unapproachable, and if you don’t want to be approached, why the heck are you dressing up to go out in the first place? You don’t have to actually laugh. Just stop rolling your eyes.
4. Ray-Ban Wayfarers
These ultra-classic, ultra-cool lenses have donned the faces of pretty much every rock star still alive (and plenty who aren’t). They’re not aerodynamic or made of featherweight polycarbonate. They’re just sunglasses, and they’re awesome.
5. Comfortable shoes
Ugly is great. Ugly says, “Yeah, I’m comfortable, so what?” As long as the rest of your get-up is reasonably stylish, your ugly shoes will just be apathetic icing on a totally nonchalant cake.
These can be tricky. Personal voice is good, but annoying is bad. “Stick that in your pipe and smoke it” is very, very cool twice a month. More than that, and you might as well write “HIPSTER” across your forehead. Download a copy of Ron Hogan’s Tao Te Ching for inspiration.
7. Canvas belt
Not only is it animal friendly, it’s an excellent way to keep your pants up and add a flash of super-casual detail without breaking the bank. Plain black is good with skinny jeans, but there are also plenty of canvas belts with heaps o’ style.
8. An old cell phone
Don’t use your phone to visit Facebook. Stop checking in everywhere. All those techno-toys make you seem like you’re anxious to be somewhere else, or that you’re desperate for someone else to want you there. Put them away and be here now.
9. A great vintage lighter
Spend the money. You won’t be disappointed. Even if you don’t smoke, there’s nothing cooler than watching someone pat himself down looking for a lighter till you saunter up with a wordless light. Girls, don’t be afraid to get in on this action too.
Never rush. Never scurry. Never be late, but never run around like a headless chicken trying to get there on time. You’re street smart, and you know that life goes fast enough without us trying to hurry it on all the time. Be the chill that everyone else wants to be.
There you go – easy, effortless style in ten simple steps. Of course, for truly laid-back style, you won’t listen to what anyone else says… but if you’re not sure where to begin, this is a great start.