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Just Don't: How Not to Dress Yourself

6/19/2015

Just Don't: How Not to Dress Yourself

The things we don't do are often as important as the things we do, even if they don't get the same recognition. For example, have you ever been ticketed for public urination? No? Great job! Fashion no-noes aren't always so obvious... but sometimes they are. Either way, I'll give you a little of both.

1. Show some subtlety.

Sure, a brightly colored tie is fun—and even fitting—for certain occasions. But a neon pink tie with a turquoise shirt and a gingham checked blazer just looks like you looted the circus clown supply store. There’s no single color that is off limits, but if you’ve chosen a brightly colored garment, the rest of your outfit needs to complement it. Example: plaids tend to compete with each other, rather than compliment. If you’re wearing one plaid garment, the rest of your outfit should be solid.

2. Choose your shoes wisely.

Everyone knows that cheap shoes can ruin the most tasteful, expensive Brioni suit. Furthermore, no matter how tasteful and expensive any given pair of shoes may be, it doesn’t mean that they can be worn with just anything. Don’t ever wear square-end shoes with a suit. It’s tacky, and square-end loafers are distinctive enough that they’ll draw the eye away from the better parts of your gettup. So even if you think that no one will notice, uh… They will.

Even casual outfits demand good shoes, though.  At a cookout or casual party, you still want to look sharp. A nice pair of jeans paired with some leather sneakers tend to make just the right impression.

Oh, and while we’re on the subject, never wear flip flops. If anyone can see you, never wear flip flops. Unless you’re doing a keg-stand in your frat house with a guy who just put a squirrel down his pants on a dare… NEVER. WEAR. FLIP FLOPS.

Where were we? Oh, right....

3. Get your pants hemmed.

Remember when we were talking about subtlety? Most people can’t pick this mistake out, but it makes the same impression as the smell in a geriatric ward: certainly unpleasant, but nobody knows why. Trousers that are too long are just… irksome.

They don’t fit, and that’s annoying, but what’s more annoying is that it’s such an easily resolved problem. Take your pants to the tailor and have them hemmed so that they don’t wrinkle and bunch around your ankles, draping over your shoes.

4. Pick up a pair of smart, simple sunglasses.

The right sunglasses can be worn with anything from a suit to a pair of shorts. Here’s the thing though: don’t get crazy with them. Brown, black, and tortoise shell are perfectly acceptable choices. When you start venturing into the flashy and neon colors, you face the danger of looking like Kanye West. And nobody wants that.

5. Combine your shirts & ties the right way.

Here’s a common infraction, but also a pro tip: your tie should not share any colors with your shirt. Everyone knows not to completely match the color of the tie with the shirt, but most men don’t know to keep them mutually exclusive. That is, if you’re wearing a multi-colored tie, none of those colors should be exactly the same as your shirt.

6. Don't let your socks ruin it.

This one separates the boys from the men. Last time you wore a suit, what color were your socks?

If you answered anything other than “white,” congratulations, sir!

That’s right, it doesn’t matter what color or pattern your socks are, so long as they’re not comparable to the ones you wear to the gym. If you want to be safe, grab some black, brown, or navy socks. But don’t be afraid to spice things up—a pair of argyle or polka dotted socks is one of the ways you can add a little distinctive flair.

7. Check the fit.

Your wife or girlfriend has told you this, but I’m telling you again: that doesn’t fit, go change. No matter how much you like it, no matter how much of a rush you’re in--if it doesn’t fit, you’re going to look like an amateur. Let me really drive this point home…

Men under 30: If it’s too small, you look like you’re taking fashion tips from Justin Bieber. If it’s too big, it looks like you’re borrowing from your dad.  

Men over 30: If it’s too small, it looks like you’re delusional for thinking you still fit into your old clothes. If it’s too big, it looks like you’re delusional for thinking you fit into your old clothes.

Ask anyone. Google it now. Just measure yourself, and wear clothes that fit.

8. Buck up

Most importantly: whatever you’re wearing, wear it with confidence. When you feel good, you look good. Frank Sinatra was swingin’ in his tuxedo. Steve McQueen sauntered in his boots. Hell, Ziggy Stardust rocked his sparkles. All of them did it with the utmost confidence, and all of them are fashion icons. Don’t fuss with your buttons, or keep looking down at your shoes--just wear it. Wear it like you own the place.

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