Surefire Ways to Avoid These Common Style Pitfalls
As much as some guys are afraid to admit, we all care about fashion and our personal appearance. Whether it’s a job interview, a first date, a big night out, or game day, we always want to put our best foot forward. But it isn’t necessarily masculine to care deeply about your outfit’s silhouette or color blocking. Those details are typically reserved for the ladies. And because of this, we tend to rely on our natural fashion instincts when getting dressed instead of seeking advice when we really need it. Unfortunately, a lot of guys don’t have natural fashion instincts.
Our pride often leads us to some bad outfits. We can see the effects of bad dressing everywhere we look. There’s the guy who loves Kanye’s style but can’t really pull off the aesthetic. There’s the guy who just doesn’t care and favors Crocs and cargo shorts over good style. There’s the guy who tries too hard. And there’s always a guy who just doesn’t know his fit. When it comes to fashion mistakes, the possibilities are endless.
Luckily, considering that we men aren’t terribly complicated, it seems the vast majority of us keep making the same mistakes over and over. As tempting as it may be to point and laugh, it’s important to acknowledge that these men need some serious help. The following 10 fashion mistakes are the biggest offenses. If you’re making one or all of these missteps, the great news is there’s a way to fix them.
You just need to admit that you have a problem. Once you’ve done that, you’re on your way to great style at all times.
1. Color Coordination
In any outfit, color is important. But as streetwear has grown in popularity, guys have started to misuse color. We’ve all seen that guy who’s wearing all black and finishes off the look with a pair of neon orange sneakers. Don’t get me wrong-some guys can pull this off with ease. There’s a certain fearlessness required to do it confidently. But most guys just look silly. Before you can make an expert style move like this, you first need to understand color basics.
When you’re choosing colors for your outfits, you’re matching the separate pieces of your look as well as your skin. In order to create looks that stand out against your skin tone and have some variation, learn the difference between warm and cool colors. Cool colors are the blues, purples, and deep greens. Warm colors include yellow, orange, and red. Warm colors against other warm colors can wash out guys with light skin. And vice versa, cool on cool can do the same for dark-skinned guys. If you want your look to stand out, choose complementary shades. If you have dark skin, choose colors that are warm. Don’t choose colors that leave you in a sea of sameness. Also, consult a color wheel to discover complementary colors and understand what combinations work.
2. Poorly fitted t-shirts
Longlines, like our Oil Washed Longline T-shirt, offer an edgy take on the classic t-shirt. But far too often, guys try to achieve this look by simply sizing up. The result? Guys end up in XXXL t-shirts that hit the mark on length and little else. The over sized white t-shirt that could be purchased in a 3-pack at Wal-Mart was a popular style move in hip hop culture back in the late 90s and early aughts. But even rappers learned how to wear clothes that fit and you should too.
A great t-shirt has sleeves that hit at the top of your bicep, a fit that rests on your torso without squeezing it, and a collar that leaves you room to breathe without exposing your collarbone. Longline tees maintain these proportions while adding in some additional length. The problem with sizing up is that you gain length but end up looking like you’re in your dad’s old t-shirt. Longlines can give you some edgy style without sacrificing everything that makes t-shirts great.
3. Literal translation
One of the best parts of fashion is expressing your individuality. But when you copy a look head to toe from the runway or one of your favorite bloggers, your personality is lost. It’s important to remember that designers construct runway looks as part of a bigger statement. While the pieces are definitely showcased in a compelling presentation, they’re not necessarily meant to translate to your life the exact same way. The same goes for the looks pulled together by your favorite bloggers and Instagrammers. If you feel inspired by a look you’ve seen, that’s great. But figure out how you can do something similar while also adding in a personal touch. Change a color or fabric or style detail like cuffing to sprinkle in some pieces of you.
4. Incoherent Looks
The current mood in men’s fashion is one of experimentation. It’s hard to recall a point in recent memory where guys felt so confident about trying new things. And because of this, we’re seeing designers trying new things and guys are becoming just as adventurous as their female counterparts. The problem comes in when guys start experimenting without some type of basic fashion knowledge. If you’re planning to wear a woven dress shirt, tailored sweats, and suede Chelsea boots, kudos to you for trying something new. But this outfit is a disaster.
Chelsea boots work best when they’re partially covered by your pants. Joggers, like our Fashion Jogger Sweatpants, have a slim leg that’s designed to be stacked. Stacked pants look great with casual or athletic sneakers. And leave the dress shirts to the dressy outfits. The intent here is admirable but not all experimentation is good. Subscribe to the high-low principle. If you’re wearing a formal outfit and want to mix things up, add in one casual element. For example, layer our Tropical Floral V-Neck T-shirt under a black suit. You’ve still got the formal look of the suit-the high-combined with a small, casual touch (the low).
5. Not Understanding Body Type
Your body type plays a crucial role in how you dress. Based on your size and shape, you’ll have a unique set of goals when selecting a look. As much as the fashion landscape skews skinny, that fit won’t work for every guy.
There are three main body types. The ectomorph is a skinny guy, the mesomorph is lean and athletic, and the endomorph is a stocky guy. There isn’t one universal fit that works for all three of these guys. The ectomorph should avoid making himself look skinnier than he already is, the mesomorph has to worry more about proportion, and the endomorph needs pieces with a slimming effect. Know which category you fall into and which looks will work in your favor.
6. Cargo Shorts
2016 marked a milestone for cargo shorts. It’s the first year in more than a decade in which sales of the abysmal shorts have declined. It seems guys are finally figuring out how bad these shorts really are. At first, cargos gained popularity because of their functionality. But their oversized pockets became catchalls for miscellaneous junk and made even the fittest guys look bulky. If you’re still wearing these, toss them immediately in favor of some slimmer shorts like our Biker Denim Shorts or Basic Drop Crotch Jogger Shorts. These shorts are cut more like your favorite work pants but still offer you the comfort and function of your beloved cargos.
7. Shoes Don’t Have to Match Your Shirt
This common belief is just a silly one. Remember the earlier advice about color coordination and our guy in the bright orange kicks? When you try to match your shirt to your shoes, you end up in scary territory. In this age of bold, graphic tees and pop colors, your shoes would almost always have to skew toward neon and bright colors. You’d spend more time looking like a clown than a fashion-forward style student. Your belt matters more in terms of shoe color choice. But even more important is just ensuring that your shoe color is cohesive with the rest of your outfit’s color scheme.
8. Things Are Too Tight
Despite the fact that different fits and styles look better on certain body types, that doesn’t stop men everywhere from squeezing into skintight shirts and pants. Some guys are doing this with the hope of hiding some unwanted weight around the middle. I hate to break it you guys, but wearing tight shirts doesn’t camouflage your weight gain; it accentuates it. And even for guys who are in great shape, an unnecessarily tight shirt can still be unflattering. As mentioned earlier, it’s so important to understand your body type and what looks good. You don’t need to showcase every muscle and vein to look attractive. T-shirts shouldn’t hug your torso; they should rest atop it. When you’re in the right fit, you’ll look good no matter what. When you skew too tight, it makes you look desperate to follow trend and can leave you showing off a lot more than you intended.
9. Wrinkled clothing
I know what you’re thinking. The current aesthetic in men’s fashion is heavily focused on grunge and deconstruction. The more relaxed the look, the better. But that doesn’t mean you should literally roll out of bed. No matter what style you’re trying to pull off, wrinkled clothes just look bad.
For one, if you’re rocking a bold pattern or print, excessive wrinkling obscures it. People will notice that you didn’t take care of your shirt before they notice how cool it is. Also, wrinkled fabric bunches together and fits your body awkwardly. And most important, it sends a message to the world that you just don’t care about your appearance. Based on the fact that you’ve invested in quality pieces and pulled together a strong look, it’s hard to believe that’s the case. When you think skipping that ironing session in the morning doesn’t matter, think again. Even in streetwear, wrinkles are your worst enemy.
For guys who think it’s okay to splash some water on their face and head out for the day, they are sadly mistaken. Men often forget that your personal grooming is a big part of your look. A head full of dandruff, peeling skin, or a scraggly beard can easily distract from a killer outfit.
For your hair, you have to shampoo and condition on a regular basis. Based on how oily your hair is, you’ll have to adjust the frequency. If you have a beard, regular trims are a must, and you should moisturize with a premium beard oil every single day. Also, you should cleanse and moisturize your face twice daily. Improving your look also means taking care of your head and shoulders.
Fashion is subjective, so what’s considered good is often left open to interpretation. But regardless of what you think is great, there are some foundational rules about what works and what doesn’t. A bad fit, an uninspired duplicated look, and wrinkled clothes will always fall flat regardless of how skilled you think you are. The changing men’s fashion landscape is ushering in a bold, new type of man, but that doesn’t mean any of us are immune to some big mistakes.
From understanding basics like color and body type to advanced steps like color coordination and cohesiveness, knowledge is still required. It’s not about mimicking others or completely freestyling. It’s about creating a strong foundation, mastering the first steps, and then building from there. Whether you need to toss out those cargo shorts, retire those orange sneakers, or break out the steamer more often, don’t be afraid to make necessary adjustments to achieve your best looks.
Some small fashion mistakes could be completely ruining your style in ways you could never imagine. With these steps, you can start turning things around today.