This article was produced in partnership with Cole Haan.
It’s true what they say: You only get one chance to make a first impression, and that means you need to put your best foot forward—literally. While showing up with a killer look is important for just about any event on the modern man’s packed social calendar, it’s crucial for family gatherings. For those events, you need both comfort and style in equal measure.
After a reduced slate of social activities these past few years, you might feel a bit out of practice at dressing for family gatherings. On top of that, a family meetup could involve, well, just about anything. Be it a graduation celebration, a family holiday, a religious affair or—gulp—meeting your partner’s parents for the first time, you need to look good.
The perfect outfit shouldn’t be too casual nor too over-the-top, but just right—and your footwear will make or break your look. For a family gathering, step things up with a clean, comfortable, timeless-meets-modern aesthetic. That’s where the Cole Haan American Classics Ranger Moc shines.
Dressing well for a family gathering comes down to being prepared for anything, says Cassandra Sethi, an image consultant at Next Level Wardrobe in New York City. Versatility is key here, and the Ranger Moc’s rich chestnut brown leather pairs well with both laidback and more tailored looks.
To match your shoes, start things off with a crisp short-sleeve button-down shirt. It’s the sort of top you can wear on its own in the late summer heat, or you can layer it up with a marled cotton cardigan for breezy days and nights heading from summer into fall.
“This is a cool, put-together casual look as you transition into the cooler months,” Sethi tells Men’s Journal.
The look itself also gives you options, including the ability to add or remove layers as you please. (Just be sure you’ve packed the proper essentials if you’re traveling away from home.)
“If you’re wanting to make this even more casual, opt for a T-shirt underneath the cardigan and ditch the short sleeve button-down,” Sethi says. And because great style is all about the details, switching things up with your bottom half is a wise bet.
A pair of tailored stretch pants in classic navy look cleaned-up yet provide maximum comfort—much more comfortable than traditional dress pants. The pants also pair nicely with the Ranger Moc footwear.
“The shoes and the wool-blend trousers give this a slightly more formal feel,” Sethi says.
Better yet, the Ranger Moc serves up all-day comfort to go along with its premium aesthetics. The shoes are designed with a responsive, lightweight EVA footbed for a smooth ride underfoot—a welcome feature for gatherings when you’re on your feet for long periods of time. Whether you’re spending all evening at an outdoor reception or simply headed across town, your feet will thank you.
On the exterior, tasteful details make the Ranger Moc a standout. The shoe incorporates brogue detailing, refined metal eyelets, and a suiting-inspired textile design on the heel for a look that combines the best of traditional craftsmanship with a bold, modern silhouette.
Plus, the ruffed outsole tread pattern delivers outstanding traction in slick conditions. Bottom line: When you slip on the Ranger Moc, you’ll be ready for just about anything that comes your way.
Speaking of being ready for anything, Sethi also recommends loading up the Cole Haan ZERØGRAND Travel Duffle Bag if the occasion calls for packing up and hitting the road. With this bag in tow, you’ll look good even while you’re in transit.
The duffle is designed with a plethora of pockets for convenient storage, and with its neutral yet eye-catching Safari colorway, it strikes a great balance between rugged and polished (just like the go-anywhere Ranger Moc). The bag is as versatile as your footwear, Sethi says.
“You can use it as a daytime bag to go to and from work,” she says, “or if you’re traveling on the weekend.”
Versatile, eye-catching, and comfortable, this outfit is a winner from head to toe. When it comes to your style, at least, your first impression will be a good one.
[Cole Haan American Classics Ranger Moc in Chestnut-Dark Chocolate, $160; colehaan.com]Get it
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