Many men struggle with fashion, they don’t know where to start and they often can’t spot what looks great and what looks terrible. For those who aren’t knowledgable it can be extremely disheartening and this causes many men to simply give up on trying to look better.
In this article we’ve listed 79 men’s fashion tips, reading through the list and cross-referencing it to your outfits will make a significant impact on your appearance. Some men might disagree with them, that’s great, we all have our individual style.
However, this post isn’t for you. It’s for guys who want a prescriptive list to start with. It’s for the man who feels confused and just wants someone to tell him what to do.
Break the rules
Our first tip is to break the rules. However, the caveat to this is that you should only break the rules if you know what you’re doing. Fashionable men like David Gandy are famous for saying that there are no rules, but for guys who know nothing about fashion, rules can be extremely useful.
We would recommend that you follow ‘rules’ and tips as closely as possible, but once you feel like you don’t need them anymore, break free and explore your own style.
Fit is always the most important thing
When you’re trying on new clothes the fit should be the most important thing. Don’t make the mistake of buying clothes because you like how they look, even if they don’t fit properly. Find the perfect fit and the clothes will look fantastic, even if they are inexpensive.
If you’re not wearing a tie, leave two buttons undone
When you’re wearing a collared shirt it’s common to wear a tie. But if you’re looking for a more casual look then leaving the top-button and the next one undone is a great way to relax your outfit. Anymore than this and you’ll begin to look bohemian.
Always wear a watch
Many of us carry phones these days and that can make watches feel redundant. It’s important to understand that a watch isn’t a utility item. It’s first and foremost about style, it’s the ultimate accessory and a throw back to ‘the good old days’.
Pick out a classic looking watch, even if it’s an inexpensive modern version, and buy a leather strap, a NATO strap and even a metal strap if it fits the face.
Shine your shoes
Obviously, this should only be done on leather shoes. It’s extremely important to not only keep your shoes clean, but to give them a slight shine. Shining your shoes should only take a couple minutes each week and it can make you standout alongside other men.
It’s safest to match your shoes to your belt
If you’re unsure about how to match your clothes, it’s a good idea to match the color of your belt to the color of your shoes, particularly if both are leather. Brown belt, brown shoes. Black belt, black shoes.
There are some fantastic examples of men throwing caution to the wind and mixing colors, but for most of us, matching colors is the best option.
Choose simple belts
When you’re looking for belts you should try and avoid anything that’s excessive, especially if you’re new to fashion. Try a solid colored leather belt in brown or black, with a timeless and discrete metal buckle. Avoid anything excessively shiny or large, the buckle shouldn’t draw attention away from your clothes.
Hide your undershirt
We’re unsure why this was ever popular, but your undershirt should never be visible. If you’re wearing your shirt with buttons undone then choose a v-neck undershirt instead of a crew neck.
Choose socks one shade darker than your pants
Socks are rarely mentioned by many mens fashion writers but they play a pivotal role in your outfit. The safest choice is to pick socks that are the same color as your pants, but slightly darker. For example; if you’re wearing blue denim then you should wear darker blue socks. With a charcoal suit, wear dark charcoal or black socks.
Wear a pocket square most of the time
If you’re wearing a suit then you should be wearing a pocket square. Period. There are only a few exceptions to this rule, but just focus on the fact that a pocket square makes you look awesome.
Match your pocket square to your shirt color
When you’re picking a pocket square it’s best to match it to the color of your shirt, not your tie. If your shirt has multiple colors i.e. it’s striped, then you should pick the dominant color in the shirt.
Buy pieces that can mix
If you’ve only recently become interested in fashion then it’s likely that you don’t have a huge amount of clothes that you love. In this case, it’s crucial that you choose pieces that can be used in many different outfits. My friend Barron Cuadro over at Effortless Gent is the king of the Lean Wardrobe. Go check him out.
Don’t wear just one color
The true ‘Queen of Fashion’, Anna Wintour has spoken, you shouldn’t be wearing just one color. We’ve all been guilty of opting for a full black out fit at one point or another, but don’t be afraid of color. Everyday isn’t a funeral, add a splash of color to your outfits.
Use collar stays
If you’re wearing a collared shirt then you must wear collar stays or starch your colors. You wouldn’t leave the house in a wrinkled shirt (unless it’s the morning after!), so you shouldn’t leave with a loose collar. Stays will keep your collar sharp and perfect throughout the day.
Carry a handkerchief
Handkerchiefs seem to have fallen out of the mainstream in the past decade, but they are far superior to tissues. Whether you’re cleaning your face or dabbing away your buddies tears after watching Titanic on repeat (no judgement here), a handkerchief if a useful little accessory.
Don’t cheap out on underwear
For some reason us men seem to think that buying $1 per pair underwear is going to be a good idea. If you’re constantly having to readjust your underwear, it’s because it sucks. Don’t cheap out, if you’ve got the money you should splash on something a little nicer that will actually fit.
Underwear can last for years if you treat it well, with that in mind the cost doesn’t seem so daunting. Spending $120 on enough underwear to last you a few years isn’t all that bad.
Get your clothes tailored
If in doubt, tailor it. We’ve already mentioned just how important fit is to your appearance and if your clothes don’t fit perfectly then you should go to a local tailor and get them adjusted.
Tailoring a piece might only cost $10 and it can take your outfit from good to great. Tailoring is my #1 tip. Just don’t go telling everybody else!
Invest in quality pieces
If you’re tight for money, I get it, trust me. I’ve struggled in the past and it absolutely sucks. But if you have the money to invest in higher quality pieces then you should do so. Per wear is the metric that you should go by, how much does each wear cost you.
In most cases, the per wear cost will be far lower on more expensive pieces because they last considerably longer. A high-quality watch will last a lifetime, your suits can last decades, an overcoat will last for years and even leather shoes can be worn for countless years.
For most of us it’s best to resist the latest trends. Many of them can seem cool at the time, but they quickly go out of fashion, leaving you with money invested in clothes you’ll never wear again. Don’t be afraid to buy classic clothes, you won’t look like your grandpa, we promise.
Build up from the basics
If you’re starting fresh and looking to renew your wardrobe, start from the absolute basics and work up. Dark denim jeans, polos, white and blue shirts, oxford cloth button downs, leather shoes, a dark overcoat and a few v-neck sweaters.
Buy a lifelong leather (or faux leather) jacket
Leather can last a lifetime if you care for it. If you’re against leather then choose a faux alternative. Again, pick a classic cut and avoid anything over the top, this will ensure that you can still wear it decades from now.
Use accessories but don’t overdo it
Accessories are a must, but too many can leave you looking silly. A good rule of thumb is that every accessory should have a purpose. Your watch is for telling the time (supposedly..), your tie bar for keeping your tie neat, a ring for your marriage and a necklace for your religion.
It’s when you begin to stack the rings, throw on a few bracelets, don the earrings, add a couple more chains and another watch for good luck, that you start to look ridiculous. Use accessories sparingly.
Trust in raw denim
Raw denim is amazing. If you treat it properly you’ll have a pair of jeans that will fade to your body and can be worn for years to come. They’ll be your favorite smart dark jeans, then your favorite mid-wash denim and then your favorite light summer jean.
Raw denim is a great investment if you’re willing to care for it and put the time in to create the look that you desire.
Hang your clothes with quality hangers
There’s no point in buying nice clothes if you’re not going to care for them. By caring for your clothes you can get many months or years extra out of a single piece. Ensure that you’re using quality hangers so that your clothes retain their structure and don’t become creased.
Don’t over wash your clothes
The most important tip for maintaining your clothes is to avoid washing them too often. You don't need to wash your jeans every week. Some of us would argue that you don’t even need to wash them every few months.
Regardless, whenever you wash clothes you’re going to damage the material of your clothes. Each piece only has a certain number of washes in it before it becomes unwearable. Avoid pushing your clothes to an early grave by washing them only when you absolutely must.
Make sure the shoulder fit is good in shirts and blazers
When you’re buying shirts and blazers the most important thing to look for is a good fit across your chest and shoulders. The seam of the piece should line up perfectly with the tips of your shoulder.
The rest of the fit isn’t quite as important. With a great shoulder fit you can have the rest tailored, but it’s difficult to have a shirt tailored to have a superior fit across your chest.
Cut out the bootcut
Bootcut jeans have never been cool, unless you’re ranching cattle. In the large majority of cases they aren’t the best fit, opt for a straight or tapered cut that will give you a flattering silhouette and will sit better on your shoes.
Button the middle and optionally the top button on a three-button suit
Believe it or not, the tradition started because king Edward VII wore his suits unbuttoned at the top and bottom because of his weight and to pay homage to the traditional riding jacket.
This is completely true and the tradition has stuck ever since. So, pay respect to the king and leave that bottom button undone.
Only button the top button on a two-button suit
When lounge suits or two-button suits became popular this tradition carried on and only the top-button was left fastened. If you’re wearing a two-button suit the cardinal sin is to button the bottom button.
Don’t wear button-down collars with ties
Again, this is another rule that many men have successfully broken, but in the majority of cases it’s going to look silly. If you’re wearing a button-down collar you should wear the top-button unbuttoned and therefore you should avoid a tie.
Keep dress shirts tucked at all times
When you’re wearing a dress shirt it should be tucked in at all times. No exceptions. It’s irrelevant if you’re going out with Bob and Sally after work. Take off your tie instead, but leave the shirt tucked in.
Don’t tuck t-shirts 99% of the time
On the other hand, t-shirts should almost never be tucked. You’ll see old photos of fashion legends like James Dean wearing his t-shirts tucked, but neither of us are James Dean unfortunately. Leave them untucked.
Resist muscle fitting clothes
It can be extremely tempting to opt for that tighter fitting 10% lycra or spandex t-shirt that’s going to make your arms look ripped. However, unless your entire outfit is equally tight it’s going to stand out.
In fact, it can even make it look like you’re trying a bit hard. Instead, choose a well-fitted and tapered cut that can accentuate your chest, shoulders and arms, but leave you looking presentable.
Roll your shirt sleeves properly
When you’re rolling your shirt sleeves there are countless different techniques to use, some far better than others. My friend Antonio Centeno over at Real Men Real Style made a great instructional video showing you hold to roll your sleeves, check it out here:
Your shirt cuffs should stick out only a small amount past your blazer
When you’re wearing a shirt and blazer you can easily tell if the fit on both is good by looking at the amount of your shirt cuff that is visible past the blazer cuff. Ideally, 1/4inch to 1/2 inch of visible sleeve cuff is great.
Facial hair is men’s version of makeup
If you don’t like the way that your face looks, try growing facial hair. Facial hair is often described as makeup for men because it can have such a huge impact on the way that you look.
You’ll often find that men with softer jawlines can benefit most from a well defined stubble or short beard, whereas men with strong jawlines might suit a longer beard.
Get a haircut at least once per month
If you’re anything like me then getting your haircut is a chore. Unfortunately, you really should be going once per month. Your hair will have an enormous impact on the way that you look and therefore you should be putting the time and money into caring for it.
To maintain your current style you’ll need to get it cut at least once per month. Even if you’re growing your hair out you can work with your hairdresser to cut strategically to keep your hair stylish while still letting it grow in the areas where you want more length.
Clean your shoes
Dirty shoes are a huge turnoff. We always get told that shoes are one of the first things that women look at and yet so many men walk around in dirty sneakers and boots. Take a few moments to clean your shoes up before you go out.
Your first suit should be a basic grey or navy
If you’re looking to buy your first suit, or just a new suit to replace an old one, choose a conservative suit that will fit many occasions. Grey, charcoal and navy are all great choices because they are versatile and can be worn with different leathers and at different events.
Black is also a classic suit color but it’s too formal for many situations and therefore doesn’t offer the same versatility as the colors that we recommend.
Gym clothes are only for the gym
Of course, gym clothes can be super comfortable and that can convince plenty of guys to wear them everywhere they go. Unfortunately, you’re not going to look great in gym clothes. Reserve them for working out and dress up properly for any other activity.
Never wear non-leather shoes with a suit
This seems to have been a trend in the past decade and it’s one that can’t die soon enough. Wearing non-leather shoes with a suit looks bad 100% of the time. Especially if you’re wearing sneakers.
Stop. If you want something more casual than a shoe, purchase leather loafers and wear pants that aren’t as long and are tapered tightly to your ankle.
Sunglasses can make you look much better
Just like facial hair, sunglasses are an under appreciated style choice that can make you look much more attractive. Pick a classic style in a discrete color and wear them with a variety of different outfits.
You can wear them all year, there’s still sun in the winter and they help to protect your eyes.
Avoid similar sized patterns
When you’re matching patterns you need to be careful to avoid similar sized patterns, this generally looks bad because the eye can get confused between the two.
Instead, wear different pattern sizes i.e. a thinly striped shirt with a large patterned crest tie. The important thing is not the size of the pattern, so much as the distance between each element of the pattern.
Exfoliate once per week
Taking care of your skin is one of the easiest ways to improve the way that you look. Exfoliating will remove the top layer of dead skin cells on your face, revealing the younger and fresher cells underneath.
This can help your to skin to look younger, softer and more attractive. Exfoliating once per week is the perfect amount to keep your skin looking fresh.
Only use a couple sprays of your cologne
Cologne is a must. Smell is such an incredibly strong sense and it can make you instantly more attractive. However, many men really overdo their fragrance to the point where it can become offensive.
Using just one or two sprays on your neck will allow you to smell great without having an ultra strong scent that makes others around you uncomfortable.
Keep your nails clean and trimmed
Don’t forget about your nails. It’s never nice to shake the hand of somebody who has chipped nails that they’ve clearly been biting. You don’t have to start getting manicures and painting your nails, but cleaning them and trimming them regularly will make you appear cleaner and more attractive.
If you un-button your shirt, remove your tie
You see men doing this all the time after work, they loosen their tie and undo their top button. It’s not a great look, you seem tired and unprofessional. If you’re going to un-button your shirt then it’s best to remove your tie and keep it in your blazer.
White socks are only for sport
This is particularly annoying if you’re wearing a suit or professional attire. We’ve already mentioned that your socks should be darker than your pants so wearing white socks flies in the face of that rule.
White socks should be reserved for sport, if at all, because they make you look young and immature.
Your tie should reach your belt
When you’re wearing a tie it’s important that you have the proper length. In high school it might have been cool to have a short tie, but if you want to look good then the tip of your tie should sit just above your belt, no longer, no shorter.
Don’t wear sandals or flip-flops unless you’re on the beach
Listen to the great Tom Ford, flip-flops and sandals should be reserved for the beach. If you want a summer shoe that’s comfortable and can be worn without socks, pick up a pair of loafers or boat shoes instead. They are much more stylish and fill the same purpose.
Avoid filling your pockets
The quickest way to ruin a great outfit is to fill your pockets so that you’re bulging out in peculiar spots. If you look at any photo of a man looking great you’ll never see full pockets. Of course, you have to carry things but avoid filling your pockets.
Buying a slim wallet and not carrying excessive amounts of change can help, as can storing your items in a variety of different pockets.
Vertical stripes make you look taller, horizontal stripes make you look wider
Women have known this for decades but it seems that men haven’t got the memo yet. Vertical stripes can help to make you look a little taller, whereas horizontal stripes can make you look wider.
This might seem like ‘fake news’ but it’s scientifically backed by research studies.
Leave print t-shirts for the teenagers
If you’re going to wear t-shirts then they should be plain, basic options that are versatile. Print t-shirts don’t really look great on anyone and they can make you look immature.
If you still want to wear t-shirts then we would recommend that you stick to neutral dark colors like blues and then have a selection of black and white options too.
Use a little hairspray for extra hold
News flash, there’s nothing wrong with using a little hairspray guys. It’s how movie stars and models keep their hair looking so perfect throughout the day.
Unless you’re using huge amounts of pomade or gel you’re likely going to find your hair sagging towards the end of the day. To prevent this you can spray a little hairspray before you leave the house and then blow-dry it on a low power with a cold setting.
Avoid square toed shoes
In general, anything but a rounded toe isn’t a good option. Square shoes became popular a couple decades back and they’re dying a painfully slow death. If you’re finding that you don’t look as good as you’d like at work, swap those square toed leather shoes out for a cleaner brogue.
Most people don’t suit short-sleeve shirts
This might polarize our audience, but short-sleeved shirts should be avoided at all costs. It’s really rare that they good on anybody because they have a immature connotation and aren’t as common as long sleeved shirts.
If it’s hot out you could wear a linen shirt instead and roll the sleeves up. Not only is this going to look a thousand times better, it’s also going to keep you just as cool. You don’t have to boil in your shirts, avoid cotton in the summer.
Swap your t-shirts for polos
For those guys who are looking for a more mature look, especially if you’re graduating high-school or college, swap your t-shirts out for polos. You don’t have to wear shirts all the time but t-shirts might not give you the look that you’re after.
Polos are a great alternative, they are still very casual for they give you a more refined look and can be extremely comfortable. My friend Aaron Marino made a fantastic video about polos and damn does he look good in them.
Moisturize every morning
As well as exfoliating your skin, you need to ensure that you’re using a quality moisturizer every morning. Moisturizer will keep your skin hydrated and prevents it from drying out in the day.
Using a lotion is an important preventative step that will slow down the effects of aging and will keep your face looking fresh and youthful.
Stay at a healthy weight
The absolute number one tip for looking better, in my opinion, is to keep your weight in a healthy range. BMI isn’t a perfect indicator of health, I agree, but it does have a strong correlation to your attractiveness.
Studies from the University of Toronto have proven that for both men and women, the most attractive people are within the ‘healthy’ BMI range. Not only will keeping a healthy BMI make you look better in clothes, it’s also going to make your face look healthy and more defined.
Get some sun
First, let’s clarify by ‘some’, we mean a healthy amount that doesn’t cause any skin damage. Getting into the sun will give you a healthier look and will produce vitamin D which will improve your mood as well as your general wellbeing.
Eat carrots for a glow
If you’re looking for a tan because you think it will make you even sexier, don’t worry, research has shown that eating carrots will give you a glow that is more attractive than a tan.
So, if you want a healthy snack that is tasty and will help you to look great, eat a couple carrots each day.
Iron your clothes
Is there anything worse than a guy in wrinkled clothes? Spending a few moments each morning to iron your clothes will make you look more presentable, it shows that you care about your appearance and it’s going to make you feel great about the way you look.
Choose a stylish bag over a backpack
Backpacks are super useful and there’s no need to throw them away, they have a time and a place. But you shouldn’t be wearing them around the city or to work, unless you really have to.
Instead, look for a stylish leather (or faux) messenger bag that gives you plenty of storage room but will look much more stylish on your shoulder. After going to the effort of wearing a dapper suit to your new job, don’t ruin it with a backpack that you wore in college.
Belts or suspenders, pick one
It’s never a good look to wear a belt and suspenders together, pick one and make it look great. If you’re wearing a belt then you can match it to your shoes, but if you pick the fabric suspenders then it’s a great look if you match it to the color of your pants. However, leather suspenders are perfectly fine to match with your leather shoes.
Always style your hair
It’s rare that you’ll see male celebrities and style icons outside of their homes with rough hair. That’s because they know that image is everything, at all times of day and in every location.
With that said, you don’t need to go to the same lengths for the gym as you would for a meeting, but doing something is better than nothing. Throw a little product into your hair and push it into position, even if it’s not perfect.
Pick a signature cologne
With cologne it’s a great idea to pick out one that you really love and make that your signature scent. Not only will people begin to associate that smell with you, it’s something recognizable and can help to define your own personal style.
Wear leather gloves in the winter
If you live in a cold city like me then you’ll need to wrap up warm for winter. Winter isn’t exactly conducive to style and you’ll find many men throwing caution to the wind as soon as the temperature drops.
However, try swapping those woolen mittens out and grab a pair of stylish leather (or faux) gloves instead. Many of them will come with a wool liner which will keep you warm and stylish at the same time. Matching the leather of your gloves to your belt and shoes is a nice touch.
Generally, avoid mixing metals
Again, this tip isn’t always going to be appropriate, but it’s safest if you avoid mixing metals. This means that if your watch is silver, you should stick to silver rings and necklaces, rather than having gold as well as silver jewelry.
It’s better to be overdressed than underdressed
If in doubt, overdress, that’s a rule that most stylish men follow. It’s actually very difficult to overdress because you’ll find that by dressing up you make everyone else look underdressed, rather than the other way around.
Of course, make sure that what you’re wearing is appropriate for the setting, but if everyone else is wearing jeans and a t-shirt, don’t be afraid to throw on a pastel OCBD and leather shoes.
Keep your jacket buttoned unless you’re sitting
Not only is this considered polite, it also helps to protect your jacket from stretching and damaging the buttons and the fabric. Whenever you go to sit down you should unbutton your jacket and then you should button it again once you stand.
Choose a wool overcoat rather than an ugly winter coat
As well as upgrading your gloves, try and pick out a stylish winter jacket rather than a huge puffy coat that ruins your silhouette. A classic peacoat or wool overcoat is a great alternative that will suit almost every man and can last for decades if cared for properly.
If you read the last tip and laughed, don’t worry, I know that an overcoat or peacoat might not be enough to keep you warm. In this case, embrace the layers. Layers are far more effective at keeping your warm than just one large jacket and they can look awesome.
Instead of just wearing your shirt and then a huge jacket, throw on a cardigan or v-necked sweater and then your overcoat. Add an undershirt if you’re still feeling the cold.
Loafers make a great smart summer shoe
Summer can be difficult to deal with, especially if it’s unexpected and your wardrobe is designed for colder climates. In this case, loafers are an affordable and stylish shoe that will keep you looking and feeling cool.
Suede loafers look awesome, but as with all suede they are a pain to maintain, leather alternatives are just as attractive but they might be too hot in extreme temperatures.
Use lip balm to prevent cracking and unsightly lips
We’ve covered how to care for your skin, hair and nails, but we must not forget about your lips. If you want anyone to get anywhere near to kissing them, you need to make sure they look good!
Using a small amount of lip balm periodically throughout the day will prevent your lips from cracking and will make them luscious and kissable.
Choose stylish sleepwear
Style isn’t just for outside, you probably want to look great in bed too, especially if you’re bring that special someone back to your house. Silk is a lovely fabric for nightwear and it doesn’t need to make your look like a 70’s adult star.
Choose something that has a low shine but it still comfortable to wear and soft to touch. The key to sleepwear is to pick a light material that isn’t going to make you overheat in the summer but will still provide some warmth in the winter.
Try a henley shirt if you’re bored of polos and t-shirts
If you’ve read this far and just aren’t feeling t-shirts or polos, the henley shirt might be your savior. The corner piece of male movies stars all over Hollywood, it’s time to reclaim this awesome shirt.
Henley shirts can be worn in the same way as a t-shirt, paired perfectly with a pair of denim and dark boots.
Avoid brash phone cases
Welcome to the 21st century, where a phone is considered part of your outfit. Many of us have mobile phones and those that do often keep them on their person at all times. It’s a little embarrassing to get your phone out with that squishy cartoon case or a “I <3 Boobies” cover.
If you need a phone case then you should pick a discrete case that doesn’t contrast too heavily to the color of your mobile.
Keep your wallet slim and clean
As well as keeping your pockets light and your phone case presentable, it’s never a good look to pull out an old and disheveled wallet. If it’s beginning to tear and strain, it’s time for you to make the change.
Shave the hair below your Adam’s apple
Finally, if you’re rocking facial hair then you need to ensure that you’re keeping it in check. If your hair is creeping below your Adam’s apple then you’ve got a problem amigo. Get that trimmer out and shave off everything on and below your Adam’s apple.