The world doesn’t mind if you love certain cartoon characters but does that mean you should wear images of them to board meetings? And that shirt with the ‘zany’ pattern that you’ve been saving for the party season: will people honestly think ‘he’s good fun’ or will they think ‘I wonder if that man’s color blind?’
The clothes you wear cannot, and should not, be a substitute for personality. If a man feels that he must advertise his sense of humour then he is really advertising his need to be liked. Stylish men do not have such needs. Keep it simple and let your clothes say ‘I have a lot of self respect’ rather than ‘please like me’.
2: Dress From The Ground Up
It is a stone cold fact that nothing spoils a stylish outfit like a pair of shoes that are dirty, past their prime or simply in need of a good polish. To prove it, look towards the floor on your next morning commute and pick out some noticeable offenders. Business suits are particularly vulnerable to the negative effect achieved by footwear neglect but you can apply the same rule to any ensemble you care to mention.
Elevate your visual impact with a disciplined shoe care routine and you will stay a cut above the lazy bunch. Coordinate your choices by figuring out what goes best with the shoes you intend to wear, and if there’s a look that you’re having trouble achieving then treat yourself to a new pair and give yourself a fresh starting point.
3: Learn To Let Go
If there is one sartorial sin that can be described as particularly ‘male’, it is the sin of holding on to old clothes long after they have lost their appeal.
The problem is that some men simply don’t think of renewing their wardrobe as being high on their list of priorities. But it should be. Be honest next time pay day comes around: do you really need another stack of DVDs? Do you really need another gadget, or might you be better off replacing those faded clothing items that have begun to develop unsightly holes? Be honest and do the right thing.
4: Get Yourself An Idol
‘Get That Look’ or ‘Steal That Style’ sections of ladies’ publications are very good at helping women to recreate a celebrity’s latest outfit or analysing their overall philosophy on style and there’s no reason why guys can’t do something similar.
Celebrities have teams of stylists who are paid vast amounts of cash to ensure that their clients never look anything less than the bee’s knees. So, by pointing your finger at the TV and saying ‘I like the way that guy dresses’ what you’re doing is examining the work of these unseen professionals and stealing their ideas for free.
Make a ‘best-dressed’ list in your head and think about how you can interpret what you see in a fresh and personal way.
5: Let Details Speak For Themselves
Nothing spoils an elegant ensemble like getting the details wrong and that usually means taking things too far. Cuff links are chic when they match your suit sleeves but not when they’re a novelty shape. Pocket squares become more elegant with a simpler fold. Even socks have the potential to ruin your look if they bring attention to themselves. However, when details and accessories are well matched it can elevate your style to a level most men simply don’t reach.
1: There Is No Such Thing As A Comedy Tie
Finishing touches need to be seen as part of your whole look, rather than being mere adornments. Treat them as seriously as everything else. This doesn’t mean you can’t have fun, but it may take a little extra thought to get it right.
6: Real Men Are Not Billboards
Lose the logos. In our society there is already more advertising than we can process and if you let that world invade your wardrobe it can have an adverse effect on the way people perceive you.
It makes it easier for people to make quick, lazy judgments about you because they think they know what kind of man you are by the products you use and the companies or organizations that you affiliate yourself with. What’s even more annoying is that these assumptions can often be wrong.
Leave your labels on the inside and let people discover you from your conversation rather than your cola preference or favourite sports team.
7: The Clue Is In The Name
It’s a sad fact that some people still confuse sportswear with casual wear and the problem stems from our terminology. We use the words ‘business’ and ‘casual’ and sometimes even ‘business-casual’ (whatever that means), so we tend to think of any items we haven’t put aside for the office as being okay for relaxing in. This is not true and, more importantly, not stylish.
The two categories we should be thinking about are ‘personal wear’ and ‘utility wear’. If the item has a job or activity in its name i.e. ‘carpenter pants’ or ‘skate shorts’, it is a utility item and should be reserved for that activity alone. All other items, whether at work or at home are personal items and can be used for self expression, even if you are simply expressing how much you like lying on the couch.
8: Put Yourself First
The most rewarding thing you can do to make your wardrobe reach its potential is ensuring that there is a happy, healthy, well-rounded person to hang it on. After all, your clothes are not supposed to draw attention to themselves, but to subtly guide other people’s attention to what a great, unique and interesting guy you are.
Give your clothes a helping hand. Keep your alcohol intake to within recommended limits. Get regular exercise and back it up with a healthy sleep pattern. Drink enough water. Watch your language and always sit or stand up straight. Not only will everything you wear look better through association, but the confidence you’ll gain will give you an energy that screams ‘class’. Remember: true style comes from within.
Photo by Attempts at Photography