Styling Tips for Men
We are starting a “Stag Style Code” Series on styling tips for the Modern Gent. Men’s Style and Fashion Tips to keep you Looking your Best. We will be posting great tips & tricks daily stay tuned. Style is a PRIVATE CODE without rules, only instinct, luck, and unconsciousness.
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The Perfect Hem
Fact: most guys wear their pants way too long. But unless you reside in Milan, or regularly make appearances on men’s style blogs, your pants should not be hemmed above the ankle. Most men look their best with a very slight break in their trousers. Avoid unsightly “pooling” of fabric around the ankles at all costs. Your tailor may push you towards a longer length—be firm! As a general rule, the narrower the leg, the shorter it should be tailored.
The Finishing Touch
Ah yes, the pocket square. That deceptively simple yet most polarizing piece of fabric. Dandies delight in the possibilities to accessorize, while more conservative types declare them foppish affectations. Our take? Dressing well is meant to be fun. No suit or sport coat look is therefore complete without one, but as with most things in life, context matters. In a more formal setting, opt for a plain, white linen or very subtle pattern, in a simple TV fold. Ideally, a 1⁄2” of fabric is visible in a straight line. For more festive events & parties, live it up a little: go colorful and fold with panache.
To cuff or not to cuff?
Another subject of eternal sartorial debate. Yes, there are a variety of rules, although some might say guidelines: no to cuffs with flat front pants, yes to cuffs with heavier, more casual fabric in fall and winter, no to cuffs with lighter weights in spring and summer (though some believe otherwise, arguing that the extra weight makes for better drape of the pant leg). Confused yet? Here’s the deal: the rules of the cuffing game have certainly changed in recent years as style has evolved, so this issue largely comes down to personal preference and the degree to which you’re comfortable being, shall we say, a little bold. In general, add cuffs to some (but not all, for variety’s sake) pants you’d wear in the fall, leave them plain-bottomed for warmer weather. If you’re going to cuff lightweight pants, make the overall length slightly shorter so they hang properly. Aim for a 1.5” cuff. And remember: never, ever, ever cuff tuxedo pants.
Button Up, Sir
Gentlemen, if you are standing, your suit jacket or sport coat should be buttoned. Plenty of rules are made to be broken; this however, is not one of them. And remember: only one button need be fastened—the middle on a 3- button model, the top on a 2-button. Never button the bottom button.
Shoes Make the Man
Here’s a secret: the first thing most stylish men notice is footwear. Do you want your first impression to involve scuffed shoes that haven’t seen polish in ages? Didn’t think so. Here’s how to get a professional mirror shine.
1. To prepare, wipe your shoes with a damp cloth to remove excess dirt and dust
2. With a small brush, apply a liberal amount of wax- based shoe polish in an even layer around the shoe, with a bit more on the toe cap.
3. Wait an hour or two. The polish needs time penetrate the leather and dry.
4. Here’s the critical part. Fill up the top of the polish tin with warm water. Dampen an old t- shirt or cloth and apply more polish. Work the polish into the leather in smooth, circular motions. Repeat this step 6 or 7 times, all around the shoe. Re-moisten if it gets dry in between coat applications. You’ll know you’re getting close when the polish starts to smudge and “stick,” becoming slightly opaque in the process. The objective is to build up as many small layers of polish as possible to protect the shoe and provide a base for the shine. At this stage the finish will still appear dull.
5. Wait, again. It takes at least 30 minutes for the leather to dry.
6. Use a soft cotton jersey or microfiber cloth to buff to a shine.
The Key To Mixing!
The key to mixing colors, patterns and textures is BALANCE.
Plain white or blue shirts? Necessary staples, but not the most sartorially adventurous. Let’s talk patterns instead. But how should you match them? While more conservative “rules” would typically dictate that one pair a solid color tie with a patterned shirt, be it Bengal stripe, gingham or glen plaid, there are, of course, exceptions. The key to pattern mixing is scale. Pair shirts with a larger pattern with ties featuring a smaller pattern and vice versa.
Dry Cleaning is a necessary evil in some cases, although generally overused. Fine tailored and lifestyle apparel is made from natural fibers, which can be broken down over time by harsh dry-cleaning chemicals. Launder your shirts, hang dry and steam iron (no starch). For suits and sport coats, clean with a quality wool brush and steam, then hang in closets with proper spacing and air circulation. If done correctly, you will significantly prolong the life of these garments.
The cooler months are undoubtedly the best time for style. With colder temperatures come more layers, and with more layers come more options for assembling a great look. Fall fabrics are all about texture and pattern—tweed, corduroy, mélange, plaid, herringbone, so do your best to incorporate several at once while still including neutral classics, such as a basic cotton twill shirt, which serves as a nice blank canvas. Take a balanced approach to choosing textures—don’t try to include everything at once, but don’t be afraid to experiment. Fortunate favors the bold.
TIPS & TRICKS
Chinos are inherently, well, boring. Wearing our Washed Twill Pants proves that chinos do not have to be just chinos.
In hot, humid weather, the unstructured sport coat is a wonderful solution. Crafted without the standard lining and padding, these coats provide an extra layer of style without adding insulation.
It is nearly always better to be over- dressed than under- dressed. Removing a jacket and/or tie is significantly easier than procuring one out of thin air.
Your pocket square should never completely match your tie. It should either highlight one of its colors, or provide a subtle pattern contrast in a complementary color.
Yes to a tie bar, but never perfectly level—slightly askew is best. Position it just under the third button from the top and make sure your tie “arches” a bit.
Most ties have dimple “memories.” Tie it correctly the first time, let it sit for a few days and you’re golden for the life of the tie.
Perfect the art of rolling up your sleeves. It can make all the difference in a casual look.
Don’t be afraid to sport some flair, but anchor your eccentricity with high- quality, understated classics.
The one pair of pants you absolutely must own for fall? Tan corduroys. The quintessential fall fabric for trousers, easily dressed up or down, day or night.
For fine leather shoes, shoe trees are a must to maintain shape and absorb moisture. Allow your shoes to dry 1-2 hours after wearing, insert trees, and enjoy your newfound shoe longevity.
This one is simple: black shoes, black belt. Brown shoes, brown belt. Unless you’re really good at breaking rules.
Have at least two watches: one to pair with more formal attire, one with casual. Unless you’re at the gym, no plastic, please.
Never, under any circumstances, should you wear a dress shirt and tie without either a suit jacket or sport coat.
How many umbrellas have you lost in your lifetime? Invest in a quality umbrella— you are much less likely to lose something you care about.
Know the rules by heart. Break them with reckless abandon. Finding a good tailor at a decent price is more valuable than gold. Treat him or her like family— and don’t forget them at holiday time.
“Style is a PRIVATE CODE without rules, only instinct, luck, and unconsciousness.” Massimo Piombo
“I like to try DIFFERENT STYLES, mixing English and Italian cultures, playing with colors.”
“Know first who you are, and then adorn yourself accordingly. -Epictetus The apparel oft proclaims the man. -Shakespeare Real style is never right or wrong. It’s a matter of being yourself – on purpose.”
G. Bruce Boyer
“Fashion changes, but style endures.
“Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.”
“One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art. -Oscar Wilde A well-tied tie is the first serious step in life.”
“A man should look as if he had bought his clothes with intelligence, put them on with care, and then forgotten all about them.”
“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.”
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