Men like sports, and sports have rules. And that goes for men’s fashion as well. While there’s a lot of leeway when it comes to personal preference and outfits should conform to specific body types, some rules apply to everyone—without exception.
So to cut through all the confusing tips regarding how men can look good and avoid looking terrible, here are some hard and fast rules that you’d do well to follow religiously:
- For typical casual wear, a T-shirt, jeans, and sneakers are fine. You can also substitute a polo shirt or khaki pants. Don’t try to be different by wearing T-shirts with offensive graphics or messages.
- For office wear, don’t forget to iron your shirts and trousers even if you’re going for a “business casual” look. Avoid jeans and go for khakis instead.
- When you need to wear a suit for the office, you need to look professional. That means sticking to the tried and tested colors such as brown, gray, black, or navy blue. Don’t forget the tie.
- For a “smart casual” look, combine the comfort of casual with the neatness of business casual attire. That means you can wear jeans, but these should have no holes and other signs of wear.
- For semi-formal attire, a dark suit should work. For formal affairs, a tux with all the usual trimmings may be necessary. One good rule to remember is that the more formal the affair, the safer you need to dress yourself. That means you need to be conservative and conventional—you can leave the daring stuff to the ladies.
- If you have to wear a tie, wear one that’s darker than your shirt, and which has a color in its pattern that’s similar to the color of your shirt. The tip of the tie should just reach the belt buckle or the waistband of your trousers.
- Never, ever, wear a clip-on tie.
- When you wear a tie, your shirt must be buttoned all the way up. You should be able to fit at least one finger comfortably between your neck and the collar so you’re not being strangled. If you can fit more than two fingers, then the shirt is definitely too big.
- Make sure your suit fits you properly. The suit should stay flush even when you shake hands, and it should remain comfy when you hug someone.
- Your best bet for a suit that fits you is to find a tailor who knows what they’re doing.
- If your suit features 3 buttons, always button the middle one. Never button the bottom one. The top button may or may not be open, depending on your preference.
- Don’t wear trousers with pleats.
- If you need a belt to keep your pants on your hips, then the waistline of your pants is too big.
- Don’t forget to wear nice shoes. Scuffed or cheap shoes will totally ruin the look of your great suit.
There’s plenty of room for individuality in men’s fashion. But with these rules, you stand a better chance of looking fashionable instead of looking like a fashion victim.