15 timeless guidelines for good clothes


There are enough rules in life as it is. However, some are there to help. Like the rules that govern how to dress well. Of course, any man or woman who has an opinion on such things speaks from personal experience – and no doubt what works for one doesn't always work for another. or what works for one is seen by another as too pedestrian or too avant-garde. When it comes to tightening, they must always be taken at face value. They're more solid suggestions than the last word on style.

But good advice is never to be overlooked, and as men's fashion becomes richer and more varied, more experimental and abundant, more trend-conscious in moments of confusion and self-doubt, it can be helpful to experience a valuable fall-back position that clears the clutter cuts through.

These “rules” are usually based on history – they have worked for generations and can therefore be considered good today. And they're usually based on the obvious, so obvious that they're often overlooked: preference for good fit, high quality, versatility, good value for money, lack of extremes and sobriety.

There are certainly many rules other than those presented here. You may have already discovered some of them yourself. After all, that's part of the fun of clothing that shouldn't get in the way of any rule: try new gear, see if it fits you, how you feel. However, these rules have been tried and tested and, when used together, serve as a fail-safe guide on how to dress well today.

1. Wear a suit well

The key to a good looking suit is fit. When buying off the shelf, focus on the fit over the shoulders, as it is relatively easy to change your chest and waistline, according to Davide Taub, Head of Bespoke Suits at Savile Row Tailors Gieves & Hawkes. "Be careful about wearing a period suit unless you're pursuing a contemporary look as the suit looks like a novelty on its own," he adds. Classic is the best and most useful – dark, with two buttons, single row, moderate in detail. "It's not boring. A suit is a uniform. The idea is to look at this suit as a canvas to develop different ideas of individuality. It's the way you wear it, not the label inside that impressed. "

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2. Invest in a watch wisely

“A watch is like a work of art,” argues Don Cochrane, CEO of the British watch brand Vertex. “Choose it because you love it, not because you think it could make money. Watches are personal, they mark the passage of time. But you also have to be practical. “Aesthetic, functional and robust sports models go with everything and can withstand the hard knocks of everyday life. Still, a watch has to suit you. It should feel comfortable and also be right in terms of size and depth for your wrist – 40mm is considered the "goldilocks" size.

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3. Don't be afraid of color

Whether casual or evening wear, treat yourself to a little color. "Most men are wrongly afraid of it – they let themselves be intimidated by anything that is not dark blue or gray," says Oliver Spencer, designer of men's clothing. "But color can also be timeless." A green suit, for example, can look particularly rough, while Spencer also recommends pink, green, mustard, and lighter shades of blue as particularly versatile year-round colors that add value to your entire outfit. But he adds that less is more in relation to color: "You only need a little bit of it in a garment."

4. Wear your jeans until they are yours

According to Alex Mir, co-owner of Sheffield-based label Forge Denim, the most useful cut of the world's most popular garment is “slim tapered”. "It's wider in the thigh, so it's comfortable, but narrower so it works with either fancy shoes or sneakers," he advises. "It's best all year round to wear, dress up, or disguise with anything." The wise men will also wear dark, raw denim and give those concerned a wide berth. “The whole thing about denim is that it ages with the way you wear it. Why miss this "

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5. Take care of your appearance

This is the kind of advice your mom might give, but when you have invested money and thought in your clothes, take care of it. Use wooden hangers for shirts and shoe trees for your best shoes. Have your suit dry cleaned and pressed. Wash your clothes regularly and ideally do not tumble dry them (this can damage the fabric). and polish your shoes. Likewise, it's not just the skin of your leather jacket that you need to care for, but the one that you wear every day. Establish a simple but no less solid grooming regimen, brush your hair and trim your nails. After all, the devil is in the details.

6. Keep your underwear simple

Style isn't just what everyone else can see. Two rules apply to men's underwear. First, novelty prints are not for grown men – "Your underwear is not the place to express your" personality "," says Emma Willis, shirt and underwear maker. And two heavily branded underwear lacks sophistication. "Of all the places you could be trusted not to have branding, it should be your underwear," adds Willis. The style that has stood the test of time the best is of course the short cotton boxers, probably because (like linen) they are washed repeatedly, breathe well, and are comfortable against your skin.

7. Spend money on shoes

“Timelessness is about simple design and above all about shoes,” argues Tim Little, owner of the traditional shoe brand Grenson. "The color, the pattern, the sole – you don't want to be fussy. Anything that is fussy may look good now, but it will look strange very quickly." Quality shoes – the gold standard are detachable examples of Goodyear welted shoes – are the kind of investment that should last 15 years or more. Go for classic styles like brogues, loafers or a simple, dark derby with five eyelets and a round bar. "It's the shape of the toe that really counts – and the round never goes out of style, "says Little." It's pointy or square toes that obviously look impractical. Nobody has such shaped feet. "

8. Keep accessories to a minimum

Accessories like ties and pocket squares add individuality to classic clothing, but be careful how you use them. "It's best to match them with what you wear by picking a color or two. Or even to place them right next to each other," says Michael Hill, creative director of the men's accessories brand Drake & # 39; p. “What you don't want is to bring them together.” If you want to curate shirt and tie combinations, wear your tie or pocket square a darker shade than your jacket. And don't overdo the accessories either – think so When in doubt, less is more and you take an item away. "You want a touch of nonchalance," adds Hill. "You just need a point of interest."

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9. Know yourself

There are few things that are less stylish than a man dressed in what he thinks he should dress instead of what he really thinks is right. That, of course, has some caveats: there are no prizes for dressing like a rodeo clown unless you are one. But whatever you wear, you have to own it. Real style icons are those who go their own way with a self-confidence that comes from the fact that their clothes are a second skin, not a costume.

10. Dress for hiring

Style isn't just about self-expression. It's also about dressing appropriately for your surroundings. Think of clothes as codes: you need the right combination to work with the environment you are in – and that is whether it is a formal dinner or a lazy Sunday in the pub. The worst style is one that is out of place. Is that some kind of conformity? No, as one of Tom Ford's well-worn fashion quotes explains, it is a token of respect for others. And to feel comfortable in you. When in doubt, dress up.

11. Don't skimp on glasses

Invest time finding the right glasses for you. “People spend an average of seven minutes choosing a pair that will define them for the next three or more years,” notes eyewear designer Tom Davies. "Bad choice and bad fit is why so many people learn to hate their glasses." Buy what you feel good about, keeping your face shape in mind, but keeping the top line of the frame's relationship to your eyebrow shape – team straight with straight, curved with curved – and your hairstyle in mind. Also, buy wisely, says Davies: There is no point in buying cheap glasses frames and selling them on expensive lenses because the glasses frames look dingy soon enough anyway.

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12. Choose versatile outerwear

The temptation to wear a classic style may be, but modern technical fabrics in darker hues and simple cuts make coats what they should be – light and breathable, but also really protective. "Changes in seasonality, climate and buying habits are making heavy woolen coats unsuitable at the moment," suggests Adam Cameron, owner of outerwear specialist The Workers' Club. "Instead, think of a coat as your final layer – one under which you can wear as much or as little as you need." A field or bomber jacket is a good all-rounder, but if you need to get dressed, go for a short Mac.

13. Buy a suit, never rent it

Occasions for the height of formal attire may be rare, but they are all the more sophisticated. While it feels like an extravaganza, after years of use it makes more sense to own a suit that fits you rather than rent one. "When hiring, there is always the risk that the wearer looks almost childlike in an oversized, box-shaped ensemble," warns Toby Lamb, design director of contemporary tailor label Richard James. Have a suit that is as classic as possible: in midnight blue, single-breasted, with satin lapels and trouser seams. And it goes without saying that you should learn how to tie a bow tie yourself.

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14. Stick to the classics with shirts

"It sounds silly," says James Cook, director of custom shirt-making at Turnbull & Asser, "but any men's shirt can look expensive when it is well pressed." Nevertheless, Cook attaches particular importance to details. Hit a center line, he recommends: Avoid bold styles unless you think you can wear them and opt for a collar that works with or without a tie and that always fits properly under a jacket, for a semi-cutaway.

15. Know when to break the rules

Know when to adhere to dress codes like black ties and when to break them. Some are there for good reason, usually because the occasion demands it or a higher authority – perhaps your boss – expects it. But just as Drakes & # 39; Hill notes, "we can get too caught up in rules and there's always a reason to tear them apart". So the style gradually advances. "Enjoy the freedom to make mistakes."


Melinda Martin