We are going to discuss a number of supposed style rules or pieces of advice that you may have heard before that we don’t necessarily think you need to follow all the time or in some cases at all.
Often when men are discussing these menswear traditions their conversation can come to be framed in terms of style rules that must be followed at all costs.
While we certainly do believe that there are great many pieces of advice that are rooted in sound logic and the principles of aesthetics, thinking always in terms of ironclad rules that have to be followed is simplistic and pedantic and limits your options in terms of what you can wear stylishly.
In other words you don’t have to think of some of these things as rules that have to be followed a hundred percent of the time and some of the things we’re going to mention today can just be discarded altogether.
Here are some supposed rules or pieces of advice that we think can be bent, broken or just left aside.
Advice number 1:
Just wear a suit and you’ll automatically look fantastic.
While this piece of advice does advocate for dressing up which of course we support, it’s a little bit too simplistic in nature.
Fit is the most important factor when wearing any outfit. You may have a suit that’s constructed from the most luxurious materials available but if it doesn’t fit your frame properly it’s still going to look sloppy.
Advice number 2:
- The more clothes you own the more better.
- If it’s in sale, Buy It.
Here’s the thing about these two related pieces of advice.
Ultimately, quantity does not equal quality. You don’t need to have a pair of pants in every color under the sun or a jacket for each day of the month in your closet.
There’s nothing wrong with having options, of course, but having a modestly sized closet full of garments that you wear regularly and that look good on you will ultimately serve you just as well if not better than having an excess of options.
This dovetails into another tip don’t buy something you’re not going to wear.
Even if you see a deal in a store and it’s 90% off, if you don’t think the garment in question is one that’s going to look good on you or one that won’t harmonize with other pieces in your wardrobe, don’t buy it. Save your money however small the amount may be for something that you will wear regularly.
Advice number 3:
- If something is expensive, It must be of high quality.
- Only buy name brand items.
These are sort of the reverse of the tip about items being on sale.
Just because something is very expensive or has a brand name associated with it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s high quality.
Oftentimes you’re really just going to be paying the extra money for the brand name itself.
Whenever you’re buying any garment, your primary focus should be on the quality of construction, the materials used and whether that garment in question will work well with other pieces in your wardrobe.
Advice number 4:
Follow some of the current Trends.
It’s never a bad thing of course to want to upgrade your personal style unless you’re just doing it for superficial reasons or to fish for compliments.
If you go out and buy a bunch of items of clothing that are trendy at the moment chances are that they’re probably going to be out of fashion in a year or maybe even less time.
After all trends are trends for a reason.
Instead just invest in quality garments that follow these solid principles of aesthetics: fit, function, color theory and so on.
If you do this, people’s compliments about your improving style will be genuine as will their respect.
Advice number 5:
- Everything in your outfit should match.
- Brown & Black don’t go together.
People often advocate for a monochromatic look because it’s a relatively safe way of looking put together after all you won’t have any wildly clashing colors if you’re wearing all the same color.
Similarly, people say that black and brown are two fundamentally different in terms of formality to be paired together both of these tips require a bit more nuance to be helpful however.
First of all not every article of clothing in your outfit has to match exactly.
The thing you should be shooting for is for all of your garments to harmonize in a way that’s aesthetically pleasing.
For example, you could be wearing an all-black outfit but keep in mind that there are subtle variations in shades of black between different garments of different fabrics and with different dyes and so on.
And if some of these blacks in your clothes are looking almost the same but not quite this can be jarring to the eye.
And it might have been a better decision to wear something in different colors that harmonized well.
Similarly black and brown can absolutely be worn together if the garments in question harmonize in terms of intensity and formality.
Advice number 6:
Use fit to dramatically change your frame.
The bottom line with any advice in terms of fit is this.
Properly fitted garments are ones that are proportional to your individual frame and thus that flatter you well.
As an example if a larger man is wearing slim fit clothing in order to look thinner but the garments are actually too tight on him all of the wrinkling and tugging in different places around the outfit is just going to make him look too big for his clothing.
On the other hand a big man who has too much fabric on his frame is just going to look like a tent.
Any well fitting article of clothing on you should be just loose enough to be comfortable and let you be mobile but still fitted enough so that it’s not billowing, sagging, dragging, or so on.
Advice number 7:
Old chestnuts about what not to wear.
All of these supposed rules are entirely antiquated today.
They got their start in the 19th century as a way for the old money aristocracy to easily socially separate themselves from the new money or nouveau riche as well as the lower classes.
These old sayings are just rooted in classism and social stratification and as such they really don’t have any place in the 21st century.
While it is true that some informally styled brown suits or other brown ensembles aren’t totally appropriate for traditional white-collar business settings even this is starting to change to some extent. In the broad-strokes for all of these tips however just remember that if it looks good on you can wear it at any time.
Advice number 8:
Trousers with belt loops always need a belt.
This tip comes from the fact that above all most men’s clothing really is rooted in purpose and utility.
Belt loops are another similarly utilitarian feature.
After all belts are designed to hold up your trousers but they were also historically used to carry things for men who were working.
Because this use for belts is really only confined to a few industries or applications these days, you won’t see belts in as many situations.
And think of it this way, if your trousers are really fitting properly you won’t absolutely have to have a belt to hold them up.
As such you’ve got a variety of options for how to keep your trousers up whether or not they have belt loops.
1. You could wear suspenders if your trousers also have suspender buttons.
2. You could use side adjusters if your trousers have both loops and adjusters.
3. You could use an old tie as a belt if you wanted to go for an especially casual look or yes you could go beltless.
Ultimately here you just have to keep in mind the level of formality of the outfit you’re trying to assemble.
Advice number 9:
Match the leathers and the metals in your outfits.
This guideline is designed to help men who are just starting out with the principles of classic style to assemble outfits that are more harmonious.
And while it’s never going to look bad if you match the metals or the leathers in your outfit you can also be tasteful about bending this rule.
For example you could be wearing gold cufflinks and a watch with a subtle and tasteful silver case or you could be wearing a darker brown belt with slightly lighter brown shoes.
The key with pairing any articles of clothing is to make sure that no single element of your outfit is overpowering.
As long as everything is working in harmony together and your elements are tasteful, you can go ahead and wear slightly different metals or leathers in the same outfit.
Advice number 10:
Always match your socks to your pants or shoes.
This one has its roots and aesthetics basically the thinking is that if you match the colour of your socks to the colour of your shoes, your leg line is going to be broken up when you sit down or when your socks are otherwise exposed.
Similarly if you match the colour of your socks to that of your pants, your leg line is always going to look longer.
And while these two fundamental rules are true and sound, that doesn’t mean that you always have to feel like your socks should match your pants directly.
After all there’s been an ongoing trend over the last few decades for more crazy and colourful socks.
And while we don’t necessarily advocate for socks that are really out there, you can feel free to wear them if you think they work with your casual outfit.
Otherwise for a slightly more formal outfit feel free to match your socks to your shirt, your tie, or some other element of your outfit.
It’s always going to be safest and most conservative if you match your socks to your pants but you don’t have to do so 100% of the time.
Advice number 11:
Follow everything your favourite style site says.
we’re providing the best advice possible to all men who are looking to upgrade their style.
we do hope that you’ll follow the guidelines we put out. But, Keep in mind that they are just that, guidelines.
But, Keep in mind that they are just that, guidelines.
If you want to experiment to some extent to find your own personal style and expression, go ahead and do so!
After all at the end of the day you are you and you can express your individuality however you so choose.
In conclusion then it’s most helpful to think of the principles of classic menswear more as guidelines and guardrails than hard and fast rules.
Some of these can be bent, some of them can be broken from time to time, and some of them can be discarded completely.
If you’re just starting out on your menswear journey it can be helpful to follow some of these pieces of advice more closely so that you won’t be making grave mistakes.
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