Fashion is not particularly a complex subject, but it can be confusing at times, especially for some of us men. It’s maybe because we don’t pay attention as much as we should, or we are just preoccupied with other seemingly more important matters so we just go with whatever has always worked for us. However, we all have our styles, even though it’s not intentional or conscious. If you are one of those men who need a little help, here are some basics to build your wardrobe foundation.
Make Sure They Fit
This may seem obvious but always make sure that your clothes fit you nicely. Recognize your body type and look for attire that’s more compatible with it. As a rule of thumb, men’s clothing is usually designed to broaden the shoulders and narrow the waist. For example, if you have a triangular body shape (wider around the hips than the shoulders), you can pick a jacket with structured shoulders to balance your frame out. If you have an oval body shape, single-breasted jackets are a better option as double-breasted jackets tend to accentuate the stomach.
Contrast Creates Interest
Our eyes have evolved to detect contrast as a survival mechanism. Contrast steals the attention and creates visual interest. While men sometimes feel safer with monochromatic and all-neutral color schemes, it’s a good idea to spice it up by adding a bit of contrast in color and shade to the pieces you wear. A slight color difference between the top and bottom goes a long way. Also, do not be intimidated by adding colors to your style as it can lift your entire look. Just don’t go overboard with it.
Dress for the Occasion
It’s not all about self-expression. We dress for conformity more than we are comfortable to admit. There are other times that your clothes need to be more functional than fashionable, yet, it doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t be stylish. Casualwear does not have a set definition, and personal interpretations vary, but there is a balance you need to find to avoid appearing underdressed. There are a few timeless pieces of attire that you can’t go wrong with. A pair of high-quality denim jeans will never go out of style as they haven’t for decades. Crew-neck T-shirts are suitable for a more laid-back look while long sleeve casual shirts are usually opted to look sharper. Chinos and an Aloha Tshirt are also a good mix closer to the more formal end of the casualwear. Whatever you go with, keep the occasion in mind, make sure you dress accordingly and you’ll be fine.
Accessories and Accents
Accessories are meant for small yet impactful touches to elevate your style and add points of interest. Overdoing it defeats the whole purpose. The basic options are watches, sunglasses, belts, hats, ties and bow ties, clips and cufflinks, pocket squares, scarves, rings, and bracelets. Try to pick up to three and not go beyond that. The combination depends on your style and the occasion you are preparing for. Many men are not comfortable with wearing jewelry such as bracelets, necklaces, and rings (apart from wedding bands), but this is gradually changing and nowadays there are a lot of options for different tastes. On the other hand, men are no stranger to watches, belts, and ties. These classics are better suited for a more formal approach. While there should be harmony in your overall outfit, you don’t need to match things up. Instead, try different shades to add variety. If you wear glasses, take the necessary time to explore various frames to find the one that suits your face structure the most. People spend way too little time picking eyewear that they are going to wear regularly for a couple of years. Again, remember that when it comes to accessories, less is unequivocally more.
Shoes & Footwear
A good outfit is not complete without a good pair of shoes, and no shoe type fits every occasion. For classic dress shoes and highly formal occasions, Oxfords are the way to go. They feature a closed lacing system and are perfectly paired with tuxedos and suits. Derby shoes are next in the formal hierarchy and they are more versatile for different situations like meetings and dinners. For more casual occasions you can opt for monks, loafers, chukka boots, and sneakers. If you are unsure about the color, know that you can’t go wrong with black shoes. Darker shades of brown are versatile as well and can be easily paired with different styles. And remember, simplicity begets elegance. The less decorative elements they have, the classier you’ll look.
On a final note, keep in mind that fashion is more of a journey and you should keep exploring, learning, and adjusting to develop a style that best reflects you. Don’t be afraid to be bold sometimes to push yourself out of your comfort zone, and always be open to the feedback of the ones whose opinions you value.