Fashion certainly has rules, especially when it comes to menswear. While they can be broken, it’s not a good look. The majority of menswear rules that exist these days aren’t solely because of tradition, it’s often because clothes are cut in a specific way so as to look best when they are worn in the standard way.
Mens fashion mistakes are plentiful, head to your nearest nightclub sober and take a look around, even the most stylish man will be shocked at how poorly many men dress. Dressing well isn't difficult, but it does take some effort and part of that effort is understanding convention so that you can pick clothes that are universally appreciated and then wear them correctly.
Do You Wear a Belt with Suspenders? Never.
Of all of the men's style faux pas that are committed on a regular basis, this might just be the most frustrating. Suspenders and belts both fulfill the same purpose, they exist to hold your pants up. Therefore, why would you ever need both?
Most of the other style mistakes that men make are understandable, they come from a lack of knowledge, but wearing suspenders and belts together is completely illogical.
In general, a belt should be worn with more casual pants like jeans and chinos because belts are relatively informal. A suit should fit well enough to stay up by itself. The belt cuts across your midsection, destroying the clean line of a neatly tucked shirt, making them less than ideal for wearing with formal clothes.
Instead, if your pants are slightly large on you, try wearing a pair of suspenders. They will be hidden by your blazer, making it look like your suit fits you naturally. Do you wear a belt with suspenders? Never. There is no situation where that will look good. Period.
Failing to Match Socks with Your Trousers
There’s a reason why you never seen stylish men wearing white socks with their freshly pressed suit, it’s reminiscent of a schoolboy who didn’t change after a sports session.
Matching your socks with your trousers is critical and it’s also easy to do. In general, the easiest way to match your socks and trousers is to pick a pair of socks that are in the same color, but one shade darker.
A navy suit should be worn with dark navy socks, a grey suit should be worn with dark grey socks and a black suit should be worn with dark black socks.
This rule breaks slightly when it comes to casual outfits like jeans and sweatpants, where you can get away with different colors, shades and patterns of socks. However, even with jeans it’s best to choose a sock that is similar, dark blue jeans are going to contrast too heavily to white socks, but they will look fine with navy, black and even patterned socks.
Given that most mens pants are dark, the majority of your socks should be either a dark navy or black.
Not only does this prevent you from any fashion faux pas, it’s also incredibly practical because you have to spend far less time matching socks.
Buttoning Your Suit Incorrectly
Men who don’t wear suits regularly are notorious for buttoning their jackets incorrectly, it’s not their fault, they just don’t wear them regularly enough to recognize their mistake. Fortunately, the rules are simple, especially since most men only wear single breasted suits.
Here we go.
One-button, do it up. Two-button, fasten only the top button. Three-button, always fasten the middle button and optionally the top, never the bottom. Double-breasted, fasten all buttons or only the top central button.
This style seemed to become popular in the early 2000’s and has since become less common, although you’re still likely to see it if you head towards the beach. Popping your collar looks bad because you’re forcing the material to move against its natural cut.
It’s best to accept that your clothes are cut the way they are because that’s the way that they look best.
Your collar should point downwards at all times, hence the points on the collar which point at the ground. Generally, choosing a single collared garment is best, mixing multiple collars is often a recipe for disaster.
Should you be wearing a jacket over your shirt you should be careful to ensure that your collar stays flat against your shirt rather than letting it creep over your lapel. The best way to achieve this is to use collar stays which will keep you collar tight. Otherwise, iron your collar and use starch to keep it stiff.
Leather or faux-leather has been around for generations and it’s unlikely that it will ever go entirely out of fashion. We wear leather in our jackets, shoes, belts and mistakenly even as pants.
If you’re wearing leather you need to be careful to ensure that you don’t mix leathers.
This most common mixing mistake that men make is wearing brown leather shoes with black leather belts, or vice versa. Your goal should be for each piece of clothing to complement and work with the others, not to contrast against them heavily. Instead, pick either black or brown and wear exclusively that color of leather at any given time.
This rule also extends to leather watches (i.e. field watches) and bracelets, both of which can still be incredibly noticeable, especially if the rest of your outfit is a dark color.