You’ve all met this guy. He owns two pair of pants, they’re both blue jeans and neither of them fit well. If he owns a blazer, he leaves on the little white thread on the vent in the back. He wears tees from an event that happened ten years ago, baseball caps he got at a beer festival, and the only collared shirt he owns is flannel and comes from the Tractor Supply Store. You get the idea. We are surrounded by fifty-year-old men who dress like they’re 13.
It doesn’t have to be this way. I asked two prominent men’s fashion consultants about the worst they’ve seen, and what can be done about some of those fashion disasters.
Patrick Morrison, fashion blogger and founder of luxury British accessories brand Furious Goose, what some of the biggest fashion faux pas are that he’s seen, and how to easily overcome them. One of Patrick’s personal bug bears is when guys match their pocket squares and ties with identical fabrics. “Although using the same fabric for your pocket square and tie might seem like a good idea, matchey-matchey just doesn’t work, chaps. OK, it’s fine with your socks, we don’t want odd socks…but not your other accessories. At best you will look like you completed your outfit in a panic on the way to your event and at worst, you’ll look like one of the waiters or a hired magician.”
Morrison offers up three tips to avoid those faux pas:
Pair don’t match – Have a look at the accessories and pair them by just one of their qualities. This could be by color but not pattern… or pattern but not color, or just pair them by texture or fabric type. In the following example we are pairing using the color navy blue. A wool tie in navy, paired with a paisley patterned, navy blue, silk pocket square will definitely speak to each other but provide tons of visual interest and make you look like a master of tone, color and texture.
Contrast is cool – Although the natural feeling is that color or pattern clashes are a bad idea, a carefully considered clash can be very effective. A turquoise tie with a burnt orange pocket square would be bold but sophisticated.
Less is more – sometimes it’s acceptable to eschew the tie for an event in which case you can go for your life with your pocket square choice. Just consider the color of your suit and make sure the silk really pops.
Patrick Kenger at PIVOT Men’s Image Consulting knows all about improving your personal image, and in his career he’s seen it all, and fixed the problems. Some of the biggest faux-pas he has encountered:
Buttoning your jacket or waistcoat all the way down. The last button on both is always supposed to be left unbuttoned. A lot of men know to do this on a suit, but usually button all the way down on a vest.
Leaving the labels on anything. I see this a lot with the tags left on the outside sleeve of a suit (pictured). Some men don’t know that this should be removed since it’s lightly stitched in. Leaving tags or stickers on your clothing either means that you are trying to let people know the brand you’re wearing, or that you have a lack of style education.
Wearing clothing that is incorrectly sized. It’s not just older guys that wear items that are too big and baggy. Younger men default to super skinny clothing. For some reason, it’s stylish to suffocate in your clothing. Younger men really need to relax their fits.
Dan Blacharski is editor-in-chief of TheVivant.com.