The sartorial world seems dense and oddly complicated, considering all you’re doing is putting some sackcloth over your naked body so that no one arrests you. There’s rules about how to wear your dress shoes with jeans, when it’s ok to don boat shoes for business meetings, and how to button a double-breasted suit. That’s too much information for a guy on the go who just wants to look good and keep his family jewels on lock. But knowing these rules is how you go from being dressed to truly wearing your clothes, before they end up wearing you.
The trick to fashion is the same as sports. You have to know the rules so that you can learn which ones you can bend, which ones you can break, and which ones you need before you go into that job interview, high-powered client meeting, or out with that fine filly (or fella) you wish to impress. To cut through the noise, we’ve found the 21 most common fashion mistakes guys make and tell you why they exist and how to avoid making them. It’s how to make your Style-Fu strong like bear.
Wearing Suspenders With a Belt
Suspenders are a rare sight these days, which is probably why few guys know how to wear them. They were made to perform the same basic function as a belt, which is to keep your pants where they belong. While it’s nice that you care enough about holding your trousers up that you double down on items to do it, it’s completely unnecessary and looks like you don’t know how clothes work. Never do this.
If you want to put on a few rings, a chain, a set of tea shades, and maybe a bro-celet, we’re not going to stop you, but when you adorn yourself with loads of puka shell and bead necklaces, a hat, a man bun, beard bling, and gloves with rings over them, it’s a cry for attention and a cry for help.
This ain’t the 90’s when JNCO jeans were en vogue, and frankly no one looked good in those back then, either. Even if you’re ashamed of your body and trying to hide it, baggy clothes aren’t the answer. They make you look like you’re in your daddy’s suit or trying to take over for the Talking Heads.
The Wrong Socks
Socks are mostly supposed to go unnoticed as part of your wardrobe, unless you’re a stylish samurai who wants to draw attention to his ankle outfit. They should mostly match your pants, or at least be a basic black. If you’re wearing shorts, get some ankle socks and leave the white tube socks for when…you need something to burn.
Wrong Tie Length
A tie should land right at your belt buckle or the waist of your pants. There’s no excuse for failing to do this. Take the time to learn how to tie your neckwear properly and buy ties that are the right length. Going without a tie is better than looking like you can’t master a basic Windsor knot.
You don’t need to be a dab hand with an iron, just put your stuff into the bathroom while you run a hot shower to steam out the wrinkles. If your clothes look like they came off the floor, everyone will assume you have a bed propped up on milk crates.
Live by the rule of 3. Any outfit should have no more than three colors and three patterns. If you’re using more, you’re an eyesore. Being too drab is a sin as well, but it’s far more forgivable than turning into light pollution all on your own.
Socks With Sandals
You aren’t Slash or Kanye, and it’s a pathetic attempt at hipness when they do it.
Short Sleeve Shirt With Tie
If you’re putting on business attire, it should never have short sleeves. Those are associated with lower class wear and shouldn’t have a tie with them. Find a shirt lightweight enough that you can get long sleeves and still be cool and comfortable in hot weather.
Untucked Dress Shirt
This isn’t casual, it’s sloppy. Get a polo shirt or a mock turtleneck or anything that is meant to be casual wear. Leaving your shirt tails out says you don’t know how your clothes work.
Too Buttoned Up
Suit jackets can have a confusing number of buttons, but before you put one on, you should know how many to have done up. The simple rule is the bottom button on a jacket should never be buttoned unless that is the only button it has. If you’re buttoning every single one, you look stiff and confused about how the coat is supposed to hang.
As with rumpled clothes, having dirt on your attire – including your shoes – is a failure. If you’re wrenching on your car, then sure, grease happens, but you should be cleaning that up for anything more than a run to the part store.
Too Tight Tees
Guys make this mistake all the time, and the only people it impresses are other trashy bros. A jacked body is great, but a tailored look improves upon it while showing every peak and valley screams vanity of Jersey Shore proportions.
You aren’t in a 70’s porn film which means your chest hair should be covered up. Collars should not go below the dimple in your throat.
Seth Green might be forgiven for this, but anything from a “comical” tee-shirt to a bowling shirt with a false name on it aren’t anything other than bad hipster chic.
You can get any number of loose, breezy pants that look great. There’s no excuse for this unless you are literally going to the gym.
Your feet are not square at the end, nor are clunky shoes professional. They should have a slight taper so they don’t look like a set of institutional jack boots.
The style of pants is currently slim and reaching to the tops of your shoes, but it’s such a fine line to walk that if you try it, assume you’re doing it wrong.
An Unclean Shave
We’re not talking about stubble – though if you aren’t cleaning up the wayward hairs you’re failing at that, too – but rather missing a spot when you shave. Go back and clean it up or you look incompetent with a razor.
Get a nail brush and keep it on your bathroom sink, or use the grooming gear on your keychain tools so you don’t look like you were just digging for varmints in the field.