13 Rules To Acquaint You With The Menswear Game
In times of heated academic research, Styleternity turns to a little bit of a study break, by giving you the skinny on those critical menswear tropes (if you’ll pardon the term) that the lads of the world should never forget.
Sure there’s plenty of ways to express your brand of personal style (flip-flops and sockwear is not one of them) but there are a couple of immutable rules that a man should always have in mind in order to get the most steez out of his style game.
- Find a good tailor- in the land of menswear, fit is king, and by establishing an excellent relationship with a tailor you ensure the most boring clothing are revitalized by the most flattering of cuts.
- Button up (or not)- the bottom button of one’s jacket should forever remain undone. The result of an unhappy old world English accident, the bottom button is entirely for maintenance and not for show. In a land filled with men who boast of their knowledge of ‘clothes and shit’ this fundamental piece of knowledge separates those who care from those who pretend.
- The width of your tie should match the width of your lapels- its a simple concept; if going for a skinny tie go for a thinner lapel, if going for a traditional peak lapel go for the appropriately wider tie. Its not microdynamic theory but you’d be surprised how many men fail to pay attention and end up looking like The Thin White Duke aften an evening with A Flock of Seagulls.
- No puddles- ‘puddling’ is a term that the menswear community affectionately uses when referring to the excess material that pools at the top of a man’s shoe. It results from ill-fitting pants and is upfront unpleasant to look at, never mind all this menswear jibber jabber. Have a tailor address it if its a problem tout suite.
- Learn to tie a bow tie- there’s nothing worse than being mistaken for Peewee Herman’s doppleganger, and with a stiff jilted pre-tie bowtie, its merely a matter of ‘when’ before this fate befalls you. Not only are self tie bow ties pleasantly assymetrical but as the night wears on (when the occasion calls for it) one can simply wear it long around his collar in a dégagé fashion.
- Tie a four-in-hand-the go to knot of Patrick Grant of E.Tautz, the four-in-hand gives a rakish shape to one’s tie without providing a hilariously tiny knot. In an age of slim ties, this is a happy compromise that won’t reduce you to part of the Bon Iver cursing, slim tie and skinnies pack.
- Do not buy square toed shoes-the square toe has NEVER been ‘fashionable’: it is a boxy and pudding faced shape that will do nothing but draw attention to one’s feet, which are admittedly not the most attractive part of the human anatomy anyway. Go classic with a round toed Oxford or if you’re feeling adventurous for a pointed derby.
- Know your shirt collars- there’s more than one? The type of collar that adorns a shirt says more about it than you’d initially assume- a button down collar tends to fall into a more casual sphere, the point represents the brave American style school, and a semi-spread will give you more gauge for your tie. The ‘point’ (chuckle) being: learn the difference.
- Always keep your jacket buttoned, it will improve your silhouette-Tom Ford advice, need I say more?
- Upgrade your suit game- no you don’t have to go to Zegna every time you want to improve your suiting options. Simply dive back into your wardrobe, pull out something that can be re-cut in a more flattering fit. Switch out cheap buttons for those made of pearl or horn, or indulge your English heritage by having your tailor sew a ticket pocket into it. Its an upgrade not an overhaul.
- Black on Black-the black tie formula is not something to be trifled with. The only time a man should be wearing a black suit is at the appropriate night time formal gathering. Are you a member of the Secret Service? A city traveling coroner? Will Smith’s body double? If any of these questions you answer resoundingly with no then remember: the BLACK suit should only be deployed during a BLACK tie event (see what happened there?).
- Personal maintenance- there is nothing more hilarious yet somehow distressing than a man who has no idea how to iron a shirt; polish his brogues; sew on a button et cetera. One of the foremost qualities of a stylish man (and a good man) is that he understands some basic life skills and if you don’t know all or any of the 3 above, you can now utilize Youtube for something other than hilarious cat videos.
- Stay the course- puns are despicable, but they serve a purpose here. Collar stays are tiny pieces of either fabric or solid material in the shape of arrows that are inserted into the underside of the shirt collar points (left and right). They help a collar maintain their shape and will assist in assuring your collar does not prevent your tie from sitting right. Most shirts from department stores tend to come standard with a pitiful temporary pair, but you can remedy this by purchasing a pair of your own.