Matching colors or prints across an outfit looks too contrived and precise. This applies to accessories and shoes more than anything; a pop of red on your footwear doesn’t have to be followed up by a corresponding splash of the same scarlet hue on your belt, hat and bag. Such a crime has accelerated of late as modern men begin to take a bolder approach to their personal style, with the industry continuing to push bright colors and vivid prints.
The fix? Consider your overall aesthetic, rather than individual items, and look to utilize complementary colors or tonal shades.
The same goes for colorful accents – exercise some restraint. A flash of color in one spot (a pair of shoes, a belt or watch) is more striking than looking like a walking bag of Skittles.
If you stick to the rule of two out of three, you will never go wrong: anchor any printed/colored piece with two plain/neutral pieces. And no more than two colored or patterned pieces per outfit.
Slim, streamlined silhouettes have become famous in menswear over recent years, what with tailoring experiencing a renaissance and guys generally adopting a more refined approach to dressing.
And despite the industry trying to push us back down a more relaxed path, clothes that fit you perfectly and are cut close to the body will instantly upgrade any individual’s look.
Sadly, this advice is often taken the wrong way as many men mistakenly size down in search of a slimmer fit. It’s important to point out that taking the wrong size simply because your usual one is a little roomy isn’t how to achieve that tailored style where the garment pulls or a flash of stomach hair every time you move your arms is just as bad, if not worse, than a slightly too big t-shirt or blazer. There are no compromises with fit: beyond the sweet spot everything else just doesn’t measure up. Literally.
Off the rack clothing is made in a selection of ‘average’ sizes, therefore it cannot possibly fit every single body type and shape perfectly. Not only that, each and every company uses different measurements based on their perceived clientele, meaning you’ll quickly find that certain brands will fit you well, while the same size from another may be slightly too big or small.
Never size down incorrectly to achieve a slimmer cut if the piece doesn’t fit you well in other areas. Either let it go and move on, or take your correct size and ask a local tailor to make some minor adjustments for you.
Too Long Trousers
A huge and repeat offender when it comes to style mistakes, trouser length is something men continue to get terribly wrong. Potentially in an effort to avoid ‘ankle-swingers’, or maybe overcompensating for other areas of their life/body, far too many gents wear trousers that are too long for them, much to the detriment of their overall appearance.
Pooling around your feet and ankles looks sloppy and will quickly kill any look, no matter how great your outfit is otherwise. If you’re new to the menswear game and looking for an instant style fix, this is the place to start.
Quite simply, take your trousers to a tailor and get them hemmed with a small break. Ideally, the front of your trousers should end where your laces start and the back run about half way down your heel. They should certainly not have more than one crease (i.e. a ‘break’) in the material above your laces.
Make this alteration and any look will be instantly elevated. Ensure everything from denim to suit trousers fits exactly the same way; even sweatpants are getting the same treatment by brands and designers these days! The only exception to this rule would be a pair of selvage jeans that you intend to only wear with a generous turn-up in order to show off that desirable internal selvage edge.
These finer details are often the difference between a good look and a great look – but they can also be the difference between an OK look and an overworked, terrible look.
Utilizing too many accessories can quickly turn your outfit into a costume. In many cases it borders on comical and yet it’s a mistake that’s so easily made. Effortless, considered style often boils down to knowing when to exercise restraint, subtlety and good taste – over-accessorizing goes against all of these concepts.
Your outfit should never be adorned with every embellishment you can possibly fit on your person. Instead, look to utilize just a few choice pieces that will add a final flourish which elevates an ensemble, whether smart or casual.
As a rule of thumb, stick to no more than three separate accessories. For example, if you’ve already got a colored tie, printed pocket square and lapel pin reinforcing your blazer, a tie/collar bar would just detract from the ensemble. The same goes for a bold colored belt, wallet chain, pocket watch or any other statement-making accessory worn further down.
Overloading your look with accessories often has the opposite effect that you are going for; a cluttered approach means the eye is drawn away from individual items, minimizing their effect and potentially taking your outfit down a notch in the process.
Blindly Following Trends
Style always trumps fashion. Yet fashion trends are what will keep your style fresh from season to season. Used in combination with a solid capsule wardrobe foundation, one or two trend-led additions can help add character, individuality and personality to your look.
However, the majority of men continue to neglect their basics and, in an effort to appear informed or ahead of the game, will go out and purchase all the latest must-have pieces displayed in the shop window of their favorite high street retailer, with no regard of how they are going to wear said items or integrate them into their own look.