How difficult can it be to wear clothes?
I thought that common sense would be enough to avoid obvious fashion mistakes. But I see the same poorly composed outfits over and over, and I realize I was wrong. While style is inherently a personal endeavor, there exist choices that undeniably display poor taste…
Sin #1: Jeans and running shoes
As you can hear from their name, running shoes were designed for athletic activities. (Going to work or class doesn’t count). Wearing your running shoes with jeans make you look like an old dude that gave up–unless you are Steve Jobs.
The Fix: Nice casual sneakers
Pick any from our list of 6 Baller Sneakers. If you can get hold of them, Kanye’s Yeezy Boosts look gorgeous too.
Sin #2: Blazer and Shorts
A well-fitting blazer looks great on almost all males, except for those wearing shorts. The blazer is a smart item. Shorts are not. The juxtaposition is not cute.
The Fix: Long chinos
You can wear a navy or grey blazer with almost any kind of chinos. If you want to dress down, you can pair your blazer with dark jeans too!
Sin #3: Salmon shorts / chinos
While salmon is one of the yummiest fish, the color is not at all flattering for men. I don’t quite understand how salmon shorts got so popular on the East Coast, as they look juvenile and feminine.
The Fix: Other beautiful neutral colors
Pick from other neutral colors, such as khaki, navy, stone, light brown, or olive.
Sin #4: No belt
Pants without a belt is like a fork without a knife. It can be pulled off but it mostly looks awkward. The belt’s purpose isn’t just to keep your pants up but also to add a personal touch to your style, create a clear distinction between your top and bottom half, give balance to your outfit, and so much more. (Unless you’re fancy enough to wear braces or trousers with side-adjusters.)
The Fix: Belt
Your formal belt, i.e. the leather one that you wear with your suit, should always match the color of your shoes. You want your formal belt to discreetly finish off your outfit and play a supporting role to whatever you’re wearing, but never steal the show. Your casual belt, on the other hand, can be much more playful and daring. As it doesn’t have to match anything, it’s a great accessory to express your personality.
Sin #5: Square-toed dress shoes
Square-toed dress shoes are possible the most sinful out of all sins. They are inelegant and make your feet look boxy. They should never have been invented.
The Fix: Classic round-toe dress shoes
Invest in a classic style like oxfords, bluchers, monk-straps, or wingtips. As with many leather items, you get what you pay for. A well constructed pair of dress shoes can last you more than a decade, if properly cared for. Mr Porter wrote a great article about different styles of dress shoes.
Sin #6: Solid dark color dress shirt
I frequently see people wearing bold-colored shirts, like red, deep blue, dark green, black, or brown. While the colors by themselves are gorgeous, they never work with a more formal outfit, especially with a suit. You want your formal outfit to be elegant and subtle. A dark-color dress shirt won’t create enough of a contrast with the suit jacket or tie and will vie for attention that the other pieces deserve. The result is a clumsy, gaudy outfit.
The Fix: White or light colored dress shirts
Opt for white, light-blue, or light-pink dress shirts instead. Even though your color palette is limited, the choice of fabric and pattern offers plenty of room for creativity.
Sin #7: Suit with a backpack
Backpacks are associated with students, hikers, and soldiers. As they are usually filled with more stuff than needed, they look clunky and undermine the elegance and professionalism of your suit. Besides, a heavy backpack can damage the fabric and construction of your suit.
The Fix: Briefcase or Folio
Men use briefcases. This is the adult version of a backpack. A nice leather briefcase is a beautiful accessory to any man’s professional outfit. If you are just carrying a handful of papers, a folio can be a great replacement.
Sin #8: Visible undershirt
The undershirt was invented to be worn underneath the dress shirt to protect it from your sweat and make you feel more comfortable. It is not supposed to be seen.
The Fix: No or invisible undershirt
Go undershirt-less or wear an undershirt that can’t be seen. Now some brands even sell “invisible” undershirts that match your skin tone.
Sin #9: High athletic socks with shorts
High athletic socks and shorts make your legs look shorter and boxier. Unless that’s the look you are going for, please stay away.
The Fix: Short socks or no socks
These days men like to ditch socks when wearing long pants, too. Mankles are in! Long socks are for the gym or real trousers.
Sin #10: Socks n’ sandals
The epitome of bad style. No comments needed.
The Fix: No socks
Although the there is a certain stigma attached to sandals, designers have been pushing various elegant styles on the market that will slowly make sandals a staple again. Stick to minimalist designs. Leather looks especially nice.