Being a well dressed man can feel like a daunting task if you don’t know where to start but with a little guidance, you can easily become the best dressed version of yourself. On your quest to reach your style potential, all you need to do is follow these five simple steps to improve your style, and become the man of style that all of the ladies love and all the fellas idealize.
Focus on the Fit
First and foremost, the high price tag or designer label on any article of clothes you buy will not matter if the fit is wrong and so, this is our first area of focus.
The fit is King when it comes to great style and is the most important area to get right if you want to achieve an impeccable sense of style.
Although certain trends may come into fashion that will support the wearing of baggy clothes, the truth is that these types trends always fade into oblivion and so the “new look” is always a return of the classic style of wearing clothes that actually fit properly. The question at hand that you most be wondering is, what is a proper fit?
Fit of the Jacket
In my eyes, this garment is the most important in securing the best fit as a suit jacket or blazer is the armor of the modern gentlemen. Suit jackets can be used to enhance or improve your shape by helping to achieve that ideal v-shaped torso that we all want or work hard to maintain and secretly want to show off.
To get the very best fit in your suit jacket and pants, I would suggest investing in a bespoke suit which is easier these days to get for a reasonable price but lets talk about what to look for if you are shopping off the rack.
To achieve the best fit, let’s begin with the shoulders. The shoulder of your jacket should lie flat with the seam that breaks the shoulder from the arm, stopping just at the bone structure of your shoulder. If this seam is above the tip of your shoulder blades or draping onto your biceps, the fit is off and you should put that s**t back on the rack.
Keep in mind that although your tailor can correct most loosely fitting parts of your jacket, the shoulders are the most difficult to correct so if you try on a suit jacket, blazer or sport coat and the shoulders are too large, you should just leave it behind just as you would if it’s too small since the tailor cannot add fabric to the suit.
The sleeves of your jacket should contour to the shape of your arm and should tapper at the forearm to mirror the natural shape of the human male arm. Your jacket should fit closely but not tight enough where you see visible pulling in the fabric therefore, you should be able to fit no more or less than two fingers, the index and the middle finger next to each other that is, flat against the collar fabric as any other finger combinations would be weird.
Lastly, the cuff of your jacket sleeves should end a half inch above your shirt cuffs.
Fit of the Shirt
As for your shirt, the fit should universally be trim no matter what your body type is. I know lot of older men are used to the “regular fit” but this cut does not look flattering on any body types and will added inches to your torso and make your look appear sloppy . Each body type will be well complimented in a slim fit shirt as this will offer just enough fabric to simply lay over the body without any snugness or excess in fabric which is essentially how all of your garments should fit.
Most manufacturers offer varying sizes in both sleeve and the collar sit so you should have no trouble in finding a shirt that suits your measurements well.
The collar is extra simple when it comes to proper fit because you will notice what your collar size is as soon as you fasten that top button. If it isn’t clear my advice is as follows, if you fasten the top button and you feel like the oxygen in the room is slipping away from you, the collar is too tight. In contrast, if you can comfortably fit scarf around your neck with the button fastened, the collar is too large.
Also, I want to take this time to recommend the use of collar stays, these are cool little devices, typically made of metal or plastic that slips into the hidden pockets that are behind each point of the collar of dress-shirts. Oh, and if you didn’t know there were little pocket behind your collars, SURPRISE and Happy Collar Stay Awareness Day!!! Collar stay help to avoid any folding of your collar throughout the day, keeping your collar stiff and pristine.
The sleeves of your shirt should stop just at the beginning of your thumbs, right off of the part of your wrist that merges onto your hand.
Fit of the Pants
I assume that it goes without saying that your pants should fit at the hips and not sag like a Rap Star in the early 2000’s, in fact, they’ve even grown up since then so I’ll skip to the not so obvious tips.
Aside from the different cuts of pants i.e. slim fit, boot cut etc., there are a few things that remain constant.
Any trousers, no matter what type are meant to rest on the hips just below the belly button. The best fitted trousers tapper at the calf and are larger in the thighs to mirror the natural shape of legs and it avoids that unsightly bell-bottom look that makes the hem of your pants flap like a flag on a windy day.
The bottom of the legs of your trousers should stop at the slightest touch of your shoes, enough that your ankles are covered but not enough to create a bunching and overlapping of fabric. However, if you wanted to go shorter and create that vintage Mad Men look, I would simply fold the pants upwards one to two times rather than getting a shorter cut, that way if you grow tired of the look, you can actually keep those fine quality pants that you found on clearance for 70% percent off and simply unfold the hem.
Wear Colors that Compliments your Color
Color is an easy medium to use in turning your wardrobe from drab and boring to daring and brilliant. First, it’s important to wear colors that suit you features, more specifically, the contrast between your hair, skin and eye color. We’ve all heard women calling themselves autumn, winters and so forth. Although they may sound as if they were playing a nursery game, they are on to something.
In a broad scope, we all fall into two categories of tones regardless of race and those tones are warm or cool. Warm tones are just as they sound and imply that you have an undertones of yellow or gold to your skin. Cool tones are the skin complexions that are either pale or dark in shade, these are the alabaster or my dark chocolate gentlemen.
In a more sub-scope, each of your skin tones fall into a seasonal category, Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter all determined by the tone and contrast of your skin from the colors of your hair and eyes.
If your skin is light, possible freckled and you can’t get a tan for shhhh, you are a spring. This also mean that your hair color is fair shade of blonde or you’re a red-head (or ginger if you prefer).
Colors to Add:
Your best friends on the color wheel will be pastels such as pale yellow, light blues and any colors that are clear will best suit your tone. Pale and soft in hue, these colors will best compliment your complexion and should be your go to colors when shopping for new duds, especially shirts as these are the closest to your face.
Bright and sunny is the name of the game so any colors that also mirror the colors associated with spring such as bright yellows, turquoise and sky blue will bring out your complexion. As an added tip, wearing colors that complement your eyes will make you look ravishing.
Colors to Run From:
Men of spring should stay away from muted tones as these will make you look washed out and I would also avoid wearing a black and white combination as this will present too much of a contrast for your shade.
The men of summer can best be decided as cool and muted in tone. Your skin will have a pinkish hue with a pale tone that will have no trouble tanning unlike their spring cousins. The hair color associated with season are the lighter shades of blonde or brown with lighter colored eyes.
Colors to Add:
The colors that suit you best are shades that are muted, pastels, or neutrals. Colors such as red, pink, tan, and light blue are just a few example of colors to add to your arsenal
Colors to Run From:
Colors in vivid shades and intense hues will fade out your complexion so you should avoid colors such as black, dark brown and darker shades of blue.
A warm or golden tone with darker hair places you in the autumn category with yours truly. These are also my medium brown guys or fellas with a dark golden tan complexion. The hair color of these men will be on the darker side such as golden blonde, grown, or even black.
Colors to Add
As with the other seasons, the colors that best suit us autumns are earth tones meaning the colors that you would find in the forest in October. It just so happens that these are my favorite colors possibly due to the fact that we naturally notice which colors look best on us without the knowledge of your seasonal tone. These colors include forest green, olive, teal, burnt orange, and camel.
Colors to run from:
Any shades that are clear and bright will fade your appearance. The colors of spring and summer should be avoided such as bright red, pale grey, pink, and black and white.
Winter is the area of cool colors with a stark contrast between hair, eye and skin. Winter men have skin that is pale, olive for my Asian and Mediterranean fellas or dark brown like my fellow black men and your hair would be black
Colors to Add:
White and black brings out the party in your features as does any color with blue undertones as well as jewel tones such as royal blue, ruby red and emerald. Winters have a high contrast between their skin and hair which allows them to perfectly wear colors with high contrast.
Color to Run From:
Essentially, any autumn color should be avoided, especially brown. These colors will blend in with your skin which is not a good thing as your skin tone thrives on contrasting colors. Also, colors such as navy blue and black that make up most formal wear will wash out your skin tone so these should be pair with a bolder color when worn.
Add Pattern to Your Wardrobe
Your tried and true solids are great foundation for your wardrobe but adding pattern is an easy way to make your wardrobe visually appealing and fun. If you learn how to execute patterns into your wardrobe to fit your personality and body type, these ornament of style can bring out the best in your look and lead you to a more well rounded man of style.
In regards to your personality, I say that your choice of pattern will easily mirror your inner self and lead you to the types of pattern that you will feel most attractive in. What I mean, is that you should pick pattern sizes that mirror who you are. If you are a more laid back, your style will be the same so I would say go with a pattern that is small in size in a color that matches with your tone as I discussed above. Glen paid pants are understated and sophisticated and can add a bit of spice to your work wear or maybe a gingham sport shirt on the weekend. Other example of understated patterns would be checkers, small florals and pinstriped.
In contrast, if your a bold and adventurous guy (or think you are), why not show that in your style and throw in some bold patterns into your clothing collection. Extra wide strips look great on polo’s and jumpers as does wide windowpane patterns. Bold pattern are simple the same patterns that you would typically find in menswear but bigger. Think plaid but stretched out to form wider geometric squares and the same can go for wide windowpane patterns. If your really brave, you can go for the types of florals I discussed for spring/summer 2015.
Patterned suits have been introduced to us from style icons of royalty and is kept alive by the sprezzatura held by the stylish men of Italy and you can introduce that same level of cool elegance into your work wear. Whether you have a relaxed dress code or are expected to dress in a suit for work, you can add pattern to keep your look professional but far from drab.
For a guide of great suit and shirt patterns, check out this infographic from my friend Antonio at RealMenRealStyle.com
Cover your Basics
In my first ever post on The Gentlemen’s Ledger, I wrote about the basic necessities every man needs in his wardrobe. There are certain items that are essential to a man’s wardrobe such as a white oxford shirt as it can be incorporated into a huge range of looks in every season.
Another essential piece each man should have at his disposal is a pair of dark denim. Just as a white oxford, jeans in a deep blue has a versatility so wide that you can pair with almost any other piece in your closet. You can wear jeans with a blazer (in a pattern) and your white shirt or with a tees shirt and a leather jacket.
For a more detailed description of the basics you need to be your most stylish self, check out the post that began The Gentlemen’s Ledger, Modern Gentlemen’s Wardrobe Essentials.
Love Your Body
Your style means nothing if you don’t completely adore that guy underneath. Aside from style, we all have insecurities about things that most other people would disagree with but we are all our own worst enemies at times. There are some things you may not like about yourself that you cannot change but there are areas that you can improve on.
Large, medium or small, none of these sizes are right or wrong, they are what you make of it and if you aren’t happy with your size, you owe it to yourself to shape your body into the image that you desire but if your happy and you think your society approves, remember how jacked up your society probably is and this will be a reminder that you should trust your point of view above anyone else’s.
Most of all, it’s best to realize that realize that we all have imperfection but your sense of style does not have to be one of them. So take my advice and turn your look from a work in progress to an ever growing masterpiece and just remember, all of that can be achieved in five simple steps.
Please leave a comment and let me know which tips will help you the most and what area you think you have down packed. I cant wait to hear the awesome that spills from through your finger tips!