Your essential guide to style
By MH Staff - Posted on 6th February 2012
Your essential guide to style
1 Wear a tie when asking for money
In the days of Mad Men's Don Draper, business attire was simple: suit, tie, hat and a pair of polished shoes. No wonder that generation was able to invent such marvels as space travel and the automatic coffee maker - people weren't distracted by trying to figure out what to wear each morning. Nowadays there are so many options. Hence the ongoing confusion: should I wear tie to this meeting? The answer to that question is simple: wear a tie whenever you're trying to make money gravitate from another person's pocket into your own.
2 Invest in great luggage
Your luggage is heading to Mumbai. Which is a bummer because you're flying to Miami. Matching luggage is a waste, especially since the airline loses half of it anyway. But invest in one great looking carry-on: a nice leather bag will scratch, burnish and age as you travel about. It will look great today; it will look better in five years time. Carry in it at least one full change of clothes that can go anywhere. Like, oh, a blazer, a white shirt and some dark jeans...
3 Thin with thin, thick with thick
Narrow lapel? Narrow tie. Thick lapel? Thick tie. The width complements each other perfectly and you'll end up looking like the better dressed man.
4 A broguester, not a road loafer
A good pair of brown leather brogues is timeless. Nowadays the style options are so versatile, it makes it easier to wear with a serious business look or say a crisp white shirt and a pair of straight cut or slim-fit jeans.
5 Square-toed shoes are just that
Perhaps you believe in always being prepared to kick a 50-metre penalty, no matter what the circumstances. In that case, opt for dress shoes with square toes. But assuming that you are not, in fact, Morne Steyn, the shoes that will last the longest and never go out of style should be a bit more rounded at the tip. Get the point?
6 Never match blazers with dress pants
In a blazer, white shirt and dark jeans, you can go anywhere. You can push your kid on a swing. You can take a girl on a date. You can go to a job interview. You can drink at the Mount Nelson or do shots at a dive bar. You can even attend a wedding. A blazer always works hand in hand with dark jeans or chinos. But do not wear it with dress pants in a similar colour (unless it’s a full suit); you’ll look like you dressed in the dark.
7 Dress up to go shopping
And when you go, shop for a suit. This may sound silly, but trust us – what you wear while you shop impacts what you’ll look like after you’ve shopped. It’s impossible to tell what a suit really looks like when you’re trying it on over your T-shirt. Similarly, it’s impossible to tell how well an overcoat fits unless you’re trying it on over a sport jacket. Wear a jacket, a white shirt and a pair of formal shoes. Your tailor will thank you
8 Ties run button to button
A tie should cover your collar button and most of your top trouser button. Anything shorter makes you look like a high school kid again and anything longer makes you look like an older businessman who hasn’t updated his suit. PS. Don't buy an overcoat that falls below the knee. It's not a gown.
9 Don't be a tucker
You could say there are two types of men, Tuckers and Untuckers. It’s okay to be a Tucker on occasion, but tuck lightly – too many men shove their T-shirt into their pants in the hope that it will obscure their paunch. But such measures only accentuate one’s Galifianakis-like girth. True style falls loosely at the waist, showing a bit of belt.
10 Tailor your shoulders like a soldier
Soldiers, sailors and air force pilots wear clothes that square off their shoulders, not round them out. There’s no excess material to snag on some errant razor wire. That’s you, chief. This goes double when choosing a leather jacket, because you can’t change your mind and have it retailored. The jacket’s shoulders should sit squarely on yours, and not droop over onto your arms. Make sure the sleeves aren’t too long and that the bottom of the jacket hits just below your waistband.
11 Ties are for dressing up
Wearing a tie with an untucked shirt makes you look confused. Wearing a tucked shirt with a slightly loosened tie makes you look unstudied. And that's a good thing.
12 Your glasses should contrast with your face
The defining characteristic of "handsome" is symmetry: the better things seem to fit together, the better your chances of fitting together with someone else. Select eyewear that balances out the shape of your face. You'll eliminate a visual echo and bring your mug closer to the golden mean.
13 Make a mark with your own pen
Having an elegant pen at the ready makes you look sophisticated and prepared. But it does something else that we love - it cuts down on the germs you casually pick up from those skuzzy ballpoints the waitress gives you to sign the check. (By the way, it's better to risk over tipping than spend time doing division in your head. So round up.) Impressing your companions and preventing the flu at the same time? Works for us.
14 Match your belt to your belt loops
The guys who made your pants had a pretty good idea of what kind of belt would go well with them. If you wear a thin dress belt with pants that have big, airy loops, you will create an unfortunate sexual metaphor. So don’t do that.
15 Don't saw yourself in half
If you're wearing light pants and a light shirt, find a light belt. Your tie, though, doesn't have to match. A patterned tie will break the muted tones and it won't look like you're wearing a twin set.
16 Shawl collar
Buy one awesome shawl collar knit this season. It's a great addition to your existing wardrobe and the cool button detailing adds class. Wear it under a blazer or Harrington jacket to a meeting or a lunch date.
17 Neither a sausage nor a sailboat be
When it comes to weekend wear, men tend to fall into one of two categories – the sausages and the sailboats. A sausage guy wears everything tight, so everything’s bulging – his belly, his bits, whatever. A sailboat wears everything loose, so every time the breeze blows he looks about to take off. Avoid both problems by mixing tight and loose – baggy jeans with a fitted T-shirt or slimmer pants or jeans with an unstructured jacket.
18 A good suit can be dressed down
A suit’s job is to make you look slimmer, fitter, stronger and taller – that’s the magic of the matching jacket and pants. If you have that going for you, who cares if you throw a casual shirt under the suit and wear it with some cool sneakers? Just avoid logos, numbers, ribbed tees or anything you’d wear to bed.
19 Wear flip-flops only at home
What makes a man a man? He is strong. He is certain. He is prepared at any moment to meet a manly challenge with courage and fortitude. When a child wanders off the curb into traffic, when a date is hassled by a guy on the street, when a fire breaks out and someone needs rescuing, a man is there, fast and ready. He is not skipping cloppity clop-clop down the street, squeezing his toes together so his flip-flops don’t fall off.
20 When in doubt wear pink
Beige, yellow and light-grey shirts should come with a warning label: not for use by men lighter than Dwayne Johnson. Pale folks need to be careful because muted colours can make them look ashen or sickly. If you have a healthy tan, then by all means wear what you want. A great go-to colour? Pink. Yes, we know: in high school, some kids made fun of you for wearing a pink shirt and now you’re all scarred and emasculated over it. Grow up. Pink does exactly the opposite of beige: it makes a lighter-skinned guy take on a healthy glow, and it attracts women because it shows confidence.
21 Your pants are too short if you can see your socks as you walk
Trousers should meet the top of your shoes with just a little break at your ankles. The exception: denim. Roll up the legs of your jeans if you want to - but only a couple of times, unless you want ankles that look like they have halos. And don't be too neat about it. A bit of dishevelment makes it look as though you've been around.
22 Play up your shoulders
Throw on a knit that has shoulder details. If you're not blessed with Vin Diesel's delts, a little pattern at the base of your wings can give the illusion of extra width.
23 Scarves should be tied
If you think scarves are little more than decoration – something Steven Tyler wears to cover up his turkey neck – then you probably don’t know the power of their insulating effect. Fold the scarf in half so the two loose ends meet, forming a loop. Drape the scarf around your neck. Now pull the two ends through the loop and tighten. Onward.
24 Dark skies? Dark Clothes.
Dark clothes hide raindrops and splashes well. But your best defence against bad weather is a fresh set of clothes kept in your car or office, just in case. Like, maybe, I don’t know – dark jeans, a white shirt and a blue blazer? An extra pair of shoes and socks wouldn’t hurt either. A good soaking can ruin your look – and your day.
25 Dress in one colour
A neutral hue, such as grey, black, olive, navy or even white, will create a seamless line from head to toe, slimming you and making you look taller. Fuchsia, not so much.
26 Vertical stripes make you look thinner
So guess how horizontal stripes make you look?
27 Pose in clothes that match your mug
If you know you're having your picture taken, plan ahead. Darker guys look best in whites and creams. People with olive skin look best in dark blue, dark green, black and yellow. If your eyes are blue or green, wear a shirt that matches them. Brown eyes? Go with a colour that compliments your skin tone.
28 Keep your t-shirt simple
A basic T-shirt is either white, black or grey, and can be a V-neck or a crew neck. Why? Because men look good in simple, form fitting T-shirts. If you are wearing a logo, you’d better own the company or someone should be paying you to wear it. Dig?
29 By the time you realise you need a haircut, everyone else has, too
Figure out how long you should go between haircuts. Schedule them in advance every six weeks or so, or whatever works for your hair. If you wait until you need one, then you're walking around looking like you need one. And masculine style is about looking like you don't need anything.
30 Black is boring
If you're wearing black, then by all means wear black shoes. But if you're wearing grey, blue, tan or a combination thereof, browns shoes will almost always look more sophisticated. Theres simply more range, from caramel to chestnut to chocolate. If you wear a belt, it should match to a degree.
31 Try before you buy
The smell of a cologne when you first put it on is actually very different from what it will smell like an hour later. Most scents are divided into three notes, each a blend of oils and essences that react to your body's chemistry. The top note is first, fleeting part of the fragrance. It comes and goes in 15 minutes. The middles note lastes about an hour and the base note reamins for the rest of the day. it's important to test the fragrance on your own skin. Don't try too many at once. Instead, hit the fragrance counter first, sniff a few bottles fo find a scent you like and give it a squirt on your wrist. Do the rest of your shopping while your sample has time to evolve and save your final decision until you're ready to leave the shop.
32 Don't lace your wingtips like a sneaker
Invest in a good pair of leather wingtip brogues. They’re versatile and very easy to wear with a suit or your favourite pair of jeans. Remember the criss-cross lacing style you learned as a kid is fine for your canvas trainers, but not for a good pair of leather brogues. Try the more refined straight-bar lacing instead. 1: Thread the lace down through the pair of holes closest to the toe, making sure you have equal lengths of lace on each side. 2: Thread one end out through the next hole on the same side. Then string it across so it looks like a horizontal bar and thread it in through the top of the opposite-side hole. 3: Lace it upward again, skipping one hole, and then pull the lace straight across. Continue this process, skipping one hole, all the way to the top. 4: Take the other end of the lace and repeat – thread it through the inside of the first free hole on the same side of the shoe. Continue all the way to the top.