I remember a time in the mid 90’s when there was a debate around whether a man could even wear a pink shirt without looking feminine. You might remember the Friends episode where Ross insists his shirt is ‘a faded salmon color.’
Since then, vacuum-packed skinny jeans have made their way into the mainstream, men in leather skirts have graced the runway and #boysincroptops2014 has been trending since Kid Cudi revived the 80’s trend at Coachella this year.
While it’s great to have more freedom to experiment with men’s fashion, sexual ambiguity isn’t exactly what most men hope to achieve with their finished look. So how do you know how to look stylish and up-to-date without looking like you’ve been raiding your girl’s closet?
Sometimes it can be a fine line, so we’ve come up with a few guidelines to help you tread it with manly pride…
Avoid Super-Skinny Jeans
(Unless you’re a rock star…)
Let’s face it. Guys in bands can pretty much wear what they want without judgement. Do you think any woman ever decided against Mick Jagger because his jeans were too tight?
But for the average Joe, the skinnier the jean, the girlier the man. The mistake too many men make is to go to the other side of the spectrum-the bootcut – so as to avoid a jibing from their buddies or a cheeky wink from the wrong gender.
Look for a slim fit instead.
The Levi’s 511 skinnies (pictured below) are great for those looking for a segue into skinny jeans that are both masculine and stylish.
Inject Color… with Caution
A lot of men fear color. And as the suits above prove, there is an element of danger involved. But a pop of color into an otherwise neutral outfit can be worth the risk. More adventurous dressers can pull off a Crayola set of hues in one outfit without sacrificing their iron-clad masculinity.
In the Kinowear Bible we typically shoot for a maximum of 3 colors in an outfit, but as always, rules can sometimes be broken.
But this takes a self-assured sense of style and a confident attitude to pull off. For the more traditional man, head to toe color can be a few steps too far in a direction that will only make him feel uncomfortable. And that’s what it’s all about really, feeling as though your clothes are an extension of yourself, not a lingering guest on your own body.
Introducing a pop of color in the right place and in the right shade can create a classic look with a modern twist. This subtle touch will instantly elevate your style and express confidence without having to speak a word. Start with one item, such as a tie, belt, watch, socks or shoes. Simplify the rest of your outfit with classic pieces in a neutral shade.
The green knit tie by Ralph Lauren pictured here is a great example of how a small injection of color can make an outfit more fashionable without pandering to unisex trends.
Keep Jewelry To A Minimum
Stealing a pair of skinny jeans from your girlfriend is one thing, but raiding her jewelry box is quite another. This might be an extreme in unisex fashion but even ‘just for Men’ jewelry errs on the feminine side.
Some men seem to think that they can wear jewelry in a masculine way, either by layering leather cuffs, tribal and rosary beads together or wearing a triage of thick silver necklace, Celtic ring and matching bracelet.
Unless you’re advanced, don’t try it.
In the case of men’s fashion, no jewelry is always better than too much jewelry. If you’re not sure of yourself, keep it simple.
Start with a great watch…
If you can’t afford a Rolex, don’t buy a cheap imitation. Look for mid-range, good quality brands such as Michael Kors, Seiko, Casio or Marc Jacobs. Of course, a wedding band is always acceptable but other than that-unless it is an item of sentiment- focus on more important aspects of style.
If you’re still doubting your masculinity, grow a beard…
Pair with some classic Ray-bans and you’re covered in handsome from the neck up.
Just don’t undo all your hard work with this emasculating hipster trend.
Nick Wooster, the dapper older Gentleman pictured to the right, looks both modern and stylish and classically masculine.
Men dressing like men doesn’t have to mean earth tones, XL shirts, bootleg jeans, workmen’s boots and football jerseys.
But it could do without crop tops, leggings disguised as jeans and your mom’s jewelry.
It’s all about finding the balance that you feel comfortable and confident in.
How Are You Upgrading Your Style Without Looking Feminine?
Let me know what you agree, and don’t agree with.
Have any examples of some of the “no-no’s” working great? Remember, style isn’t black and white. Some rules are meant to be broken and just because in MOST cases these should help in looking better without being feminine, that doesn’t mean there are instances in which they don’t make sense.
Let me know your thoughts below!