10 Common Men's Style Mistakes to Avoid
Posted on 03 January 2019
When you first start on your menswear journey, you inevitably make mistakes because...well, you don't know what you don't know.
We all end up learning on the journey as we educate ourselves and discover our style. If you want to leave a good impression and want to be recognized for your fashion sense, you should avoid making these mistakes. The great news is: they are easy to fix.
As psychotherapist and writer Nathan Branden once said, "The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance".
This post is meant to make you aware of these common mistakes and hopefully you will accept them and make the necessary changes ;)
1. JACKET IS TOO BIG
This is probably the most common mistake as many don't know their measurements or what to look for. The most important thing to know is how the shoulders should fit because the shoulders are difficult to tailor. If the shoulders fit right, a tailor can take care of the rest.
How should the shoulders fit?
As obvious as it may seem, they should be as wide as your shoulder width. As you can see below, the fabric should fall naturally off the shoulder.
If the shoulders on the jacket are too big, extra fabric will roll off the shoulder creating a divot. Divot = Bad.
2. WEARING MATCHING ACCESSORIES
If you're serious about menswear and how you look, you should make an effort and do the styling yourself or at least look like you did it yourself.
If you want to leave the styling to someone else you can always buy style boxes. When you buy a matching set, you are essentially telling the world you can’t do it yourself.
If you're unsure how to style your accessories, a simple tip is to wear accessories with a common theme. For example, if your tie has some red and blue, you can wear a red or blue pocket square. Alternatively, you can wear a white pocket square and dress shirt with any tie.
If you'd like more tips on how to style accessories, you may find our post on Classic Color Combinations in Menswear useful.
3. TIE IS TOO LONG OR TOO SHORT
This one is a pet peeve of mine. I don't know if it's my OCD but if the tip of the tie doesn't touch the belt, I cringe. As with any of these common mistakes, once you recognize them you start seeing them everywhere. The tip of your tie should end between the top and bottom of your belt buckle. Not higher, not lower.
4. WEARING SQUARE TOE DRESS SHOES
I have to admit, I'm guilty of this mistake. I needed dress shoes for my high school prom and somehow thought these shoes looked good. I guess they fit right in with the rest of my tacky outfit. I'm surprised I even got a prom date looking like that. But hey, it's all part of the journey.
As you learn on your menswear journey, you realize how important shoes are. They are a key component in an outfit and should not be neglected. Instead of a square toe shoe, opt for classic / timeless styles like oxfords and derbies. Keep the black oxfords handy for your formal occasions, and brown wing tips are very much suitable for a casual affair.
For more on dress shoes, we have a useful guide here.
5. TROUSERS ARE TOO LONG
You aren't doing yourself a favor when you buy off-the-rack pants that are too long and don't get them adjusted. If you buy pants that are too long, spend a little extra to get them shortened and tapered, you will look infinitely better. You'll go from sloppy to slick real quick.
As a rule of thumb, your pants should just touch the top of your shoes. Some prefer shorter or with a break and that's okay. Just avoid having extra fabric puddle over your shoes.
6. WEARING BAGGY DRESS SHIRTS
This is a rookie mistake. Similar to the pant length, many buy dress shirts off-the-rack and never get them tailored. For many of us, it can be hard to find a Ready-to-Wear (RTW) dress shirt that fits properly. Usually, the collar and the cuffs fit, but there always seems to be a little extra fabric in the midsection. A dress shirt that’s too big makes you look sloppy (the opposite of put together). So it is important to bring your RTW shirts to your tailor and get them fitted.
Nowadays, there are many companies that specialize in custom or Made-to-Measure (MTM) dress shirts. They will take your measurements and make a shirt tailored to your body. Once your measurements are in their system, all you need to do is order online and you'll get a perfect fit everytime. Oh, what a time to be alive!
7. DOING UP ALL THE BUTTONS
Someone completely new to suits will always make this mistake and I don't blame them. After all, buttons are made to be fastened, right?
Or so you would think. Nowadays suits are made with the assumption that the bottom button will remain undone. So leaving the bottom button undone will allow for better comfort and a more natural silhouette.
Rule of thumb - Never fasten the bottom button on a two or three-button suit. And the same applies to waistcoats.
8. WEARING A VISIBLE UNDERSHIRT
Showing your undershirt is like showing your underwear, not classy. If you like leaving a couple buttons undone, try an undershirt with a v-neck so it doesn't show or don't wear one at all.
9. WEARING SUSPENDERS WITH A BELT
Sometimes people do things without thinking, it happens. This is a silly mistake because suspenders and belts serve the same purpose - they keep your pants up. Are your pants so heavy that you need both? Unless you have gold bars in your pants, I don't think so!
10. TIE BAR IN THE WRONG PLACE
I see this all the time - many don't think logically about placing the tie bar. They just go with their gut and end up postioning it in an awkward looking or non-practical way.
When placed too high, the tie can still flap in wind or fall in the sink when brushing your teeth. When positioned too low, it looks awkward and the tie will balloon when you bend or sit.
So remember this: position your tie bar between the third and fourth button on your shirt. No more guessing!
There you have it. Next time you're getting dressed to go out have a quick glance at the infographic below. This way, your style will be on point everytime!
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