From frayed jeans to too-tight-tees, never be ‘that guy’ again with Esquire‘s definitive guide to where most men go wrong in the fashion stakes.
Believing that tight clothes will suck everything in
If you’re a man over a certain age, the likelihood is that you’ve got a few wobbly bits starting to appear in unwanted places. The way to tackle this is not to treat your new shirt in the same way that women treat Spanx – you’ll end up looking like an un-pricked Richmond sausage. Rather, invest in properly tailored pieces that will make the best of your assets.
Buying shoes designed for elves, not humans
An epidemic, this. Cheap shoes with plastic soles and pointy toes that turn up at the end do not look stylish. They don’t even look marginally acceptable. So awful are these shoes that even their ubiquity hasn’t diluted their utter ridiculousness. One, they won’t last longer than a few weeks before the soles burn through (keep a nostril out for the smell of burning rubber, if you don’t feel the crunch of tarmac on your feet first). Two, they make their wearers look like medieval peasants. Or elves. Three, no one will respect you if you wear these shoes. Not even other people that wear them. No one.
Mistaking pleather for leather
Pleather is a cheap substitute for leather, most commonly made from polyurethane. Unless you’re allergic to the real thing or are a vegan, you should not be wearing pleather. The most common things to be made from this fabric are knock-off man bags and the shoes from point one. Aside from anything else, they’re extremely flammable, which should put you off, if being a style pariah doesn’t..
Confusing the wearing of an ill-fitting suit with “power dressing”
If the pads of your jacket hang over the brink of your shoulders and the body has the shape of a muumuu, don’t fool yourself into thinking you look like Patrick Bateman. On the contrary, you look like Rosanne Barr. Get a tailor, or a better suit.
Ignoring the importance of quality fabrics
Cheap materials can be spotted a mile off. Avoid synthetics at all cost, as they’ll bring a sheen to the surface of the fabric over time, or anything uncomfortable against the skin – because you just won’t want to wear it.
We’re sorry to say it, we know they’re expensive, but they make you look like Fritzl.
Wearing black shirts
Black cotton mix shirts, as a rule, must never be worn, primarily because they discolour incredibly quickly around the collar and cuffs. Equally, don’t be fooled into thinking you look like John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever: you’re more likely to be accused of nicking Wayne Rooney’s “pulling shirt”.
Not paying attention to accessories
Steve McQueen had his Persols, Keith Richards has his scarves and Bryan Ferry has his bow tie. Clever accessorising is key to the success of any outfit. A beautiful suit is all well and good, but wear it with the wrong shoes, tie or pocket square and you’ll ruin it irreparably.
Thinking that no one will ever see your underwear
Just because your pants (on the whole) remain hidden under your clothes, does not give you free reign to don the saggy boxer shorts you got in your stocking back in 1992. Two rules. One, always assume that you’re going to get lucky (even if you definitely won’t). Two, treat your underwear as you would the rest of your wardrobe – you wouldn’t wear a worn out, discoloured, slightly smelly shirt into the office now would you?
Mistaking a piece of string for a tie
We truly miss the days of oversized Windsor knot ties. The reign of skinny, flappy, pointless bits of neck string which look more like Scout toggles than anything an adult should be wearing are well and truly over. Want to look like a pre-pubescent Pete Doherty? No? Then throw yours in the bin. Now.
The deep V
Because A, you’re not a member of The Wanted, and B, no one wants to see the gaping expanse of your newly waxed chest.
Ostentatiously branded T-Shirts
Unless you’re under 13 years of age….and even then.
Unless you’re Louie Spence…and even then.
Wearing anything designed for an actual sporting activity in public
Functional trainers, nylon tracksuit bottoms, indecently tight lycra t-shirts in lurid colours – unacceptable attire unless you’re on a bike, in the gym or carrying a white stick.
Doing up too many buttons
There are three simple rules when it comes to fastening up your suit. Two buttons? Only ever do up the top one. Three buttons? Get a new suit. Four buttons? Give Barry Gibb his jacket back.
Not doing up enough buttons
Remember what we said about the gaping expanse of your newly waxed chest?
Anything shiny (other than patent shoes)
Black patent lace-ups with a tux? Fine. A bit of shiny metal hardwear on your loafers? Absolutely. Even the slightest hint of a sheen anywhere else (especially on your suit)? Criminal.
The most heinous of all style crimes, this. Wearing overly long, flappy jeans which have hems that get caught under your heels will not only make you look like Avril Lavigne circa 2002, but wearing these jeans will also result in the hems becoming frayed and giant patches of empty space where denim should be. Slovenly, ugly and downright delinquent.