Your new style, Part I: Focus on the basics
It’s easy to overthink men’s style. Flip through a magazine and you’re often left with the impression that in order to look good, you need the latest and greatest. But it doesn’t have to be that way. To find your new style, you just need to respect a few rules of the road and keep things basic. There will be plenty of opportunity for experimentation later.
The single best thing you can do to your dress shirt is to press it.
Even if you own one of our finest bespoke shirts, if it’s full of wrinkles and looks like you just pulled it out of the wash and put it on, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Whether you send your shirts out or iron them yourself, make sure you give extra attention to the placket (that double layer of fabric that holds the buttons and buttonholes) and the collar. When these are nice and pressed your shirt is going to look great. You’ll be well on your way to honing your new style.
A well pressed collar is especially important when wearing a suit or sportcoat without a tie because the collar will need to stand up on its own. A frumpy looking collar collapsing under the weight of a suit collar is a sad thing.
Do your pants fit? They probably do in the waist, but what about in the length? Most guys today are wearing pants that are just too long. The breaks at the ankle that were popular in the 90s and early 2000s are now a very dated look. While I think a slight break is OK, and a matter of personal taste, anything more is just too much. That excessive break is going to make you look shorter than you are.
The fix is either shopping for new pants or hemming the ones you have. For the latter, find a good local tailor and, wearing the pants, fold the pant leg in on itself to the height that you want the new hem to be at. While you’re there, consider tapering the pants too for a more fitted look.
Shine your shoes
When was the last time you shined your shoes? If you don’t know when, then that’s your homework for today. You have two options. Either buy some shoe polish and find an old rag to use or head to the mall, or your otherwise closest shoe shine kiosk. Trust me, you’ll be quite pleased that you shined your shoes. There’s something that is just so satisfying about seeing the original luster in your dull leather shoes come back to life. And like bespoke clothing, having your shoes shined is just one of those traditional and romantic things to do.
Simplify your jacket and shirt combo
It’s easy to think that when you need (or want!) to wear a sportcoat that you have to match it perfectly with everything else you’re wearing. Before you know it, you’re overthinking the whole thing. “Does this check pattern match my plaid sportcoat? Can I even wear a check shirt with this?!” When you find yourself getting stuck in the weeds like this, take a step back and simplify things.
Instead of trying to get too creative, reach for a simple white dress shirt. Make sure it’s pressed and wear it open collar by unbuttoning the top two buttons. You can rest assured that your jacket matches just fine because anything goes with a white shirt. And if the shirt is well pressed and your jacket lint free, then you’re good to go.
Remember, when in doubt, check out our gallery for some inspiration.
Boosting your style doesn’t need to be complicated, nor does it need to cost a lot. Focus on the basics and do them well to hone your new style. There’s no need to worry about having the latest look that you see in the magazines. Putting your effort into a well pressed dress shirt or hemming your pants will go a long ways. Who can help you with this? Well, obviously we can! But if you’re out of state, be sure to find a reputable clothier.
There are so many great resources out there today for men who want to dress better. Want to find your new style? There really is something for everyone these days. HeSpokeStyle is a photo-centric blog by the very talented Brian Sacawa. Another great example is the blog, The Modest Man, a resource serving the shorter gentleman.