Let’s say you’ve just started to improve your style. You have read some of our articles and have finally begun to purchase clothing based on our advice . Although you look immensely better than you did before, you realize that something isn’t quite right. You look good, but not that good.
It’s not uncommon for guys who are just getting their feet wet with improving their style to become overwhelmed with all of the different rules and guidelines out there. Oftentimes guys will get the big picture but miss out on some of the more minor details or nuances of good style.
The following are 7 simple tips that will help you sort of some of those details that may be holding you back from truly elevating your style.
1. Polish your shoes
After reading our two part guide on dress shoes you decided to invest in a pair of Allen Edmonds Park Avenues (a fantastic shoe btw). Now that you finally have a pair of quality dress shoes you feel that you are set and that your job is done.
I can’t tell you how many guys I see walking around with poorly maintained dress shoes. They are scuffed, dirty, and just plain grungy looking. Set yourself apart by taking care of your shoes. Polish them regularly and make sure to condition and protect the leather. There’s absolutely no sense in buying a pair of expensive shoes and treating them like garbage. Your shoes are one of the first things that people notice (especially women) so be sure to take care of them. Nothing ruins a look more than a pair otherwise good shoes that have lost their luster due to neglect. Treat your shoes like you would treat your imaginary sports car. Always have them show room ready.
2. Wear a pocket square
I work in an environment where men don’t often wear suits. However, on the occasion I do see a suit I almost never see a pocket square. Pocket squares have become somewhat of an endangered species. That’s why I recommend you do your part to keep them alive by wearing a pocket square any time you wear a suit, blazer, or sport coat.
The purpose of the pocket square is to add both visual balance and interest to your ensemble. The most important thing to remember is to make sure that you do not match your pocket square with your tie (if you are wearing one). That is the mark of an amateur. When in doubt, go with a simple white linen or cotton pocket square utilizing a TV fold. It’s simple, timeless, and just plain classy.
3. Match your shoes with your belt
Repeat after me: “A brown belt goes with brown shoes. A black belt goes with black shoes.”
Although the shade doesn’t have to be an exact match, it should at least be in the ballpark. A guy who is wearing a belt that is matching his shoes instantly tells me that he has at least a modicum of style sense and understands the importance of details. It is these details that can make all the difference.
4. Wear collar stays
Although we are big advocates of the concept of artful dishevelment, sometimes the occasion calls for you to look more exacting and polished. So what do you do in those times when your shirt collar just doesn’t want to behave? Tape them to your shirt? Close, but not quite.
Enter the magnetic collar stay.
These ingenious little things are perfect for taming your unruly shirt collars. Although metal collar stays have been around for quite some time, magnetic collar stays are something of a more recent phenomenon and are perfect for helping you maintain a tall, crisp looking collar underneath your suit jacket or blazer.
5. Ditch the undershirt
This next tip is a bit more contentious, but we are of the opinion that you should NEVER be showing a visible undershirt underneath your button up shirts (god forbid you wear one underneath a polo). It looks dorky. In the event that you are still going to wear an undershirt, make it a v-neck or wife-beater/tank top.
Our good friend Tanner over at Masculine Style has touched on this issue as well and we completely agree with him when he says that one of the most simplest upgrades a man can make is to show a little more chest.
The rule of thumb is to undo the top two buttons if your shirt. Although we generally recommend this, sometimes it really depends on the button stance of your shirt. In any case, just don’t be afraid to show a little skin.
6. Ensure that your tie has a dimple
One of the trends that I’ve been noticing in men’s style over the past several years is the loosely knotted tie. Just take a look at any recent GQ magazine cover. You’ll see dozens of famous actors and celebrities donning the look.
Although we fully endorse the idea that style should have an element of nonchalance to it, there are occasions when you want to look a little bit more exacting or precise. It is during those times that we recommend you ensure that your tie has a dimple in the knot.
A tie without an accompanying dimple looks limp and lifeless. A correctly dimpled tie, on the other hand, instantly bestows upon its wearer a sense of class and sophistication. It’s neither too playful nor too serious. It’s a small detail that can set you apart.
7. Leave the bottom button of your suit jacket undone
The next time you are at a wedding or formal event, check to see how many guys are wearing their suits completely buttoned up. It’s a fun little game to play to pass the time, but also a friendly reminder to always leave the bottom button undone.
The reason for this is largely tradition. According to menswear lore, in the early part of the 20th century King Edward VII was responsible for starting the trend. Apparently he had grown so rotund that he simple could not fasten the bottom button of his jacket! To not offend the king, those around him quickly followed suit. It was not long before this quirk became a cemented tradition in menswear style.
Nowadays, most suits are designed in such a manner that the only way they can drape correctly is if the bottom button of the jacket is left unfastened, with a one button suit (tuxedo style) being the exception. In the case you are wearing a one button suit, always fasten the button. If you are wearing a two button suit, only fasten the top button. With a three button suit you have a little bit more leeway; you can either fasten the top two buttons or just the middle button. It’s a simple move that will make you look like you know what you’re doing.
There you have it, 7 simple style tips that will keeping you looking sharp. These little tips may seem insignificant to you, but let me remind you that when it comes to style, the devil is often in the details. Once you get the big pieces in place (fit, fabric, and colour), these little tips are what will help you polish and refine your overall look.
As always gentlemen, stay fit and look sharp!