1. Clothes that don’t fit – Overly baggy clothes will make you look you’re wearing sloppy hand-me-downs. If your body type makes it hard to find well-fitting clothes off the rack, make your tailor your best friend.
2. Wearing a short sleeve shirt with a tie – Unless you work for a fast-food joint – where sleeves get dirty making sandwiches – avoid wearing a short sleeve shirt with a tie. They are generally perceived as lower class apparel. If you want to stay looking professional and confident, stick to long-sleeve shirts when wearing ties.
3. Dirty shoes – It’s an area that too many guys overlook in terms of cleaning and proper care. A stylish man keeps his shoes clean – free of scratches and dirt.
4. Warped shoes – Keep at least two pairs of dress shoes in the same color so you can let one pair rest for a day from sweat and stretching. Doing this prevents them from warping in unwanted ways. Place shoetrees in your shoes when you’re not wearing them to maintain their best form.
5. Improper pants length – Don’t fold up your jeans or your chinos unless it’s an intentional fashion statement that you’re making. Your pants can come down to the bottom of your shoes but make sure they come just above the floor to avoid any unwanted fraying. Also, you only need a slight break, or crease, in the pants leg. Don’t be the guy who has his feet swimming in a bunch of extra fabric. All it takes is a simple trip to the tailor to get them hemmed.
6. Wrong socks with a suit – When you’re wearing a suit, match your sock color to your pants, not your shoes (for professional and formal occasions). This is the same as mismatching your suit pants to your jacket. If you’re wearing a navy suit with black shoes, reach for navy socks. And when wearing a light suit, make sure the socks are darker than the suit but a shade or so lighter than the shoes. This rule of course can be broken if done deliberately for your style’s sake.
7. Wrong belt color – If you’re wearing dress shoes, make sure the color of your belt matches the color of your dress shoes (for professional occasions). Also, the finish of the belt and shoes need to match. In other words, if your shoes are shiny, your belt should be shiny as well. If you’re wearing casual shoes or sneakers, make sure you wear a thicker casual belt to match instead of a thin dress belt.
8. Improper tie length – A man’s tie should always end at the center of his belt buckle. A simple touch overlooked by many. Having a tie that’s too short or too long, can make a man look incompetent.
9. Forgetting the necktie dimple – It’s the telltale sign of a professional who knows how to wear a tie.
10. Being too “buttoned” up – If a jacket has two buttons, only fasten the top button. If it has three buttons, you can close the top button only, the middle button only, or both the middle and top button. The key is to always leave the bottom button undone. This is a tradition that has been used for decades, and will keep your style looking smart.
11. Socks and sandals – Have you seen anyone ever pull this off, and look sexy? Case closed.
12. Cartoon clothing – I love Disney characters, but unless you work for Disney, wearing them on your tie or shirts during the week make you look like you’re stuck in fantasy land. Oh and while we’re on the subject, stay away from those cheesy belt buckles as well. Instead, stick to the classic wardrobe pieces that will keep you looking your best for years to come.
13. Dress socks that aren’t long enough – When wearing a suit, your socks should come up to your calves, and stay there. When you cross your legs, you shouldn’t be showing any part of your legs. Isn’t it lovely when you see a man’s hairy leg peeking over his socks? But when dressed casual, it’s a great idea to go short on the socks or go completely sockless. So fully covered for professional wear, or try the sockless look if you’re out for a casual occasion.
14. Wearing the wrong colors – It’s important to match the color of your clothes to your skin tone. You want the focus to be on you, not the overwhelming color of your shirt. If you have dark skin, you can either wear dark colors or bright colors that match the strength of your skin color. If you have very fair skin, lighter colors are most flattering on you – like soft pastels or icy colors.
15. Wrinkled clothing – Unless you’re going for the “I sleep in these clothes” effect, keep all your clothes pressed and wrinkle-free. It’s a good habit to always hang up all your clothes – never throwing them on the floor of your room after use.
16. Wrong casual tie – If you’re wearing a tie as part of your casual outfit, go for a slimmer tie instead of the wider ones. Keep the wider ones for the office. You’ll look much more fashionable this way.
17. Wearing too many colors – Limit each of your outfits to a maximum of three colors or shades to maintain a coordinated look. If in doubt find a color wheel online and use it to help you choose your colors. Colors opposite each other on the wheel are “complementary colors.” Colors adjacent to each other are called “analogous colors.” When putting together an outfit, stick to complementary and analogous colors and remember that less is more.
18. Wearing a backpack with a suit – Whenever I’m walking around the city, I see a lot of professional people wearing nice suits – but carrying backpacks! Okay, a backpack may be easier to carry over your shoulders than a briefcase in your hand, but you can also get a comfortable messenger bag that hangs across your chest to maintain a more professional look.
19. Unflattering hairstyles – Hair is one area of your image that you can constantly experiment with and upgrade without paying more than you normally do. Look around and see which hairstyles look flattering to you, and try something new this season.
20. Excess cologne – If a woman can smell your cologne only when she’s close, great! She’ll have more reason to stay close. If a woman can smell you from across the room, does she need to come any closer? Depending on the strength of your cologne, use with caution. If your cologne loses it’s scent later in the day, simply reapply. A good rule of thumb is to limit it to two sprays – once on your neck and wrists.
21. Too much jewelry – All the jewelry a man needs are watches that will match different outfits, and a wedding ring if he’s married. If you’re young and you like necklaces, go for it. But unless you’re a rock star, don’t go around wearing three rings, bracelets, and a bunch of necklaces at the same time. It looks tacky. Try and limit yourself to no more than three pieces of jewelry.
22. Comb-overs – Your not fooling anyone by covering up your bald spot – you’ll look so much better if you keep it short and neat. (See Bruce Willis or Tom Ford). It makes you look a lot more sharp and healthy.
23. Sweatpants in public– Unless you’re going to the gym, avoid wearing sweats out in public. You’re not wearing them to look your best, you’re wearing them because you’re lazy.
24. Oversized branding – Avoid clothes that make you look like a walking advertisement. The advertisers would love this, but why wear a huge logo or brand name on your shirt unless you’re getting paid to?
25. Tucking T-shirts in – Tucking in polo shirts is acceptable, but t-shirts should be kept casual. If your t-shirt is too long then it’s probably too big on you.
26. Wearing a crew neck tee under a dress shirt – Pick up a v-neck undershirt and you’ll look much more laid-back showing some skin underneath.
27. Clipping your cell phone to your belt – This is as attractive as using a Bluetooth headset as a fashion accessory. Keep your cellphone in your pocket.
28. Clunky square toe shoes – Popular in the 1990s, fashion has now strayed far away from this non-classic look. They’ll probably never come back into fashion so lose them and get some slimmer and much more attractive shoes.
29. Too many prints – Whether with casual clothes or dressy, avoid mixing too many patterns or prints together. If you’re wearing a suit, a good rule of thumb is to keep it to a max of two patterns. In other words, if you’re wearing a patterned suit, wear a solid shirt and a patterned tie, or if you’re wearing a solid suit, you can wear a patterned shirt and a patterned tie. But having a patterned tie, a patterned shirt, and a patterned suit can make you look too busy.
30. Mismatching styles – Don’t wear your sporty Oakley sunglasses with a blazer, or a pair of cargo pants with the dress shirt you wear to the office. Keep your outfits coherent and matching in style.
31. Bulky pockets – I see a lot of guys walking around with bulging pockets. If it’s your wallet that’s creating that bulge, spend some time taking out all those old receipts or business cards. If you need to hold on to them, keep them in a safe place and take them out when you need them. Get a slimmer wallet or a money clip to save space.
32. Dirty nails – Some men just don’t take proper care of their hands. Sometimes it’s cracked cuticles and other times it’s just dirty fingernails. If you work outdoors or lift weights, wear gloves, and use lotion on your hand whenever you can. Keep your fingernails trim, and free of hangnails, cracked cuticles, and dirt.
33. Keep your facial hair well groomed – The hair on your face should be orderly. Your face is the first thing noticed, and so maintaining your facial hair is important if you want to look sharp. Either keep a cleanly shaved face, or keep your beard trim. There should absolutely be no hair underneath your chin on your neck area.
34. Hair in the back of their neck – Hair on the back of your neck needs to be managed well. If you don’t get haircuts too often, use a small mirror to check the back of your neck against another mirror, and use a razor to shave any hair that’s growing on the back of your neck. This will keep you looking sharp and well-groomed.
35. Using excessive amounts of hair product– Be aware that looking like you have a bottle of hair product on your head never looks good. Your girlfriends wants to be able to run her fingers through your hair, not hurt herself doing it. Use a smaller amount than you think you need.
36. Wearing sandals outside of the beach or pool – Keep the flip-flops for the pool, and opt for a casual pair of driving moccasins this summer. Driving moccasins are usually made of leather, but really easy to slip into and have flexible rubber soles, which make them the rich man’s slipper. A pair of dark brown ones will work perfectly with almost anything. Wear them without socks and a pair of cotton shorts for a classically stylish appeal. And if you do wear sandals to the beach or the pool, make sure your toenails are trim and healthy looking.
37. Not tucking in dress shirts – If your dress shirt is long enough to cover your butt, it’s meant to be tucked in. The shirt is made longer so that when you sit down, with your shirt under your butt, your shirt doesn’t annoyingly lift out of your pants. If you’re someone who hates tucking in at casual settings, than make sure the dress shirts you wear are tailored shorter to come just above the halfway point of your gluteus maximus.
38. An undershirt is just that – an undershirt – An undershirt’s purpose is to absorb the sweat, dirt, and body oils that we all inevitably secrete, and prevent stains on your dress shirts. The name explains their purpose. It’s not meant to be worn as an actual shirt by itself, so avoid this fashion mistake and call your buddies out on it when you can.
39. Not taking care of that unibrow – Keeping your eyebrows groomed is just as important as the hair on top of your head. Use a tweezer and pluck any hair above the nose.
40. Wearing athletic socks, for non athletic occasions – Keep the white athletic socks for the gym or when you’re out playing sports and stick to navy or black casual socks instead. They always look more stylish than white.
Protect yourself from making these fashion blunders, and keep looking your best!
Nice article. But (rookie q) what is the difference between a solid-colour t-shirt and an undershirt?
Amazing article. I’ve learned quite a few faux pas from this article and is great to come back to when I have doubts about my combination.
Great article Jae, I love these little tips that I can keep in mind when shopping.
Great article Jae,
I, myself, am familiar with most of the faux-pas but I do plead guilty for doing the following:-
– Wearing sandals outside of the beach or pool (I do this when just heading to the local shops or even when wearing combat/board shorts in the Summer)
– Wearing pseudo dress shoes with a suit (I prefer minimising my wardrobe so I wearing prefer’work-to-smart casual’ shoes i.e. from Clarks, Rockport or Kenneth Cole).
– An undershirt is just that – an undershirt (I’m sure nearly all guys are guilty of this! As long a you use a good stain remover like Vanish, I’m sure none of you guys would care)
Keep those articles coming
The only “fashion mistake” I make according to this list is the “too many jewelry” one; I wear a big chunky brown leather bracelet un one hand and 2 rings, and 2 small leather bracelets on the other one and 2 rings, and also 2 necklaces (sometimes 3).
I don`t think is a “mistake” because it goes well with my look that is very rocker, I get complimented all the time for them, people recognize me for the accesories, they see them as part of me and something characteristic of me, it looks a little bit strange but that`s exactly the point! I love that weird look of having too much stuff in your wrists, kinda like johnny depp.
I am printing this out for the edification of by just graduated, out-to-get-a-job son. I’ve been trying to tell him that what was acceptable, and probably chic on campus, won’t cut it in the office.
Thanks, very useful tips.
Looks like I have quite a few things to learn. Success is in the details, they say. Thanks for the post and the blog in general.
very informative and detailed.
never knew briefs (undershirt) are nvr meant to be worn as actual shirts.
as well as the proper tie length being at belt buckle.
dude – those are all spot on.
All the points are valid and all men should follow what has been written. What colognes are in now? Curve has worked well with ladies for me in past but what about married men?
Wow. ive done one of these things. i didnt think id be that bad. now i realize it is……..OMG
“Unless you’re a rock star, don’t go around wearing five rings and a bunch of necklaces at the same time.”
“Either keep a cleanly shaved face, or keep your beard trim.”
Or, unless you want to look like a rock star. It’s something I aim for in my look, so I wear multiple necklaces often. Same with facial hair, if you know how to do it stubble can look awesome.
“Keep the flip-flops for the pool, and opt for a casual pair of driving moccasins this summer.”
I’m not sure if this is something different in the States, but in Australia I saw a lot of guys looking really cool last summer wearing Havaianas, cool shorts, and t-shirts, with big sunglasses.
As a fellow AICI member and image consultant, I highly appreciate this blog post on common men’s mistakes. You have such great information here!
thats great…I dont do anything at the list…except by wearing sweats(when Im at the skatepark or some ill spot..so..I dont care at all) Thanks for all the articles
I have to agree with almost all of these. Number 1 especially! Ill fitting clothes are one of my pet peeves. I think the vast majority of men wear clothes far too big for them. Having the right fit makes all the difference!
As always, superb article. I’m guilty of wearing crew neck tees under dress shirts on casual occasions however, when I think a certain colour particularly complements the dress shirt. A V-neck would go unnoticed. Please some feedback – is this really an invariable faux-pas?
Thanks!! Love this site.
lol damn i just bought a clip for my blackberry for my belt
oh well 1/40 isn’t bad haha
Everything here is great advice except the tie and the short sleeve dress shirt. It’s hard, but you can work it with the right combo, or more importantly the right pants.
its awesome tips jae. i agree at point “Keep your facial hair well groomed”
Great article once again! I sent this to many of my colleagues in the office. If only all men took the time and effort to dress well and put the effort into their appearance. Looks aren’t everything but it says a lot about you if you take time and effort on the little things.
Great article with lots of good advice. For me the first point is the most important. Wearing well fitted clothing can transform how someone looks, especially if you are of a slim build like myself.
You’ve also just reminded me to buy some longer dress socks, I have been guilty of showing a bit of leg!
I gotta say that was really good.
I really agree with everything on there, and I realized that the only thing I wrong is not always shave my whole face everyday, because I like the scruff look for a day.
But that was amazing, and now I have proof to rip on my friends who wear …. socks & sandles
I’m very conscious when it comes to my appearance. I was was just online looking for size 14 dress shoes when I ran into your Website by mistake. I have to say it was a great article. I matched almost everything you said, except that every once in a while I wear my black lace up dress shoes with a black jeans and short sleeve casual dress shirt, in the summer. I believe i still look good because of my physical appearance. However I wont do it again after reading your article. I will now wear my slip on shoes.
Thank for looking out for guy like myself who always want to look great, weather casual or dress.
excellent article. succinct with basics to follow and remember.
hah yeah guilty of the belt clip. I used to make fun of people too until i realize i dont want to lose my phone that i paid a pretty penny for.
Very great and informative article. I know I made a couple of these fashion mistakes before. Got some good advice about colors, patterns, and how to properly wear a suit here. I will use this and I know I’ll look good on job interviews.
i liked the article, but i also have to ask what the difference is between a plain solid t-shirt and an undershirt. also, being a college student in 100 degree florida summers…flip flops may be the way to go as everyone wears them.
Dirty shoes thats one that slips me up – unforgivable!
nice article, learned a lesson…;-)
Keep your nails clean, it’s true, but if you’re going to wear gloves to the gym, make sure they match your purse (as the great Mark Rippetoe puts it). Having tough hands is part of being a man, and if you’re getting unbearable calluses lifting weights, you’re not holding the bar correctly. In my experience, when women see that a man has tough looking hands, it tells them that man can get things done by means other than just telephone and credit card.
Praise Hallelujah! I loved the point you make with wearing your cell phone – it looks so funny, and silly – if you are not actively driving and riding in your car or multitasking – you need not wear it on your head…
and with the smaller sized and lowering prices of phones today, you really can get a smaller sized phone that fits easily into one’s pocket!
thank you thank you thank you – now I will promote your article for men to read! – and for their partners to help them out as well!
Great article. A lot of men out there need to read this.
I enjoy how many of the comments are justifying why the look is ok because they participate in it.
Through the mistakes only, we can learn more. I hope that I can learn more things from this blogs. Thanks
Well, normally, I dislike these kinds of articles, because they always tend to be what the author thinks a man should look like, rather than fair enough societal rules. However, you hit this spot on and I don’t disagree with anything. Thanks for the tips – I’ll be needing them soon when I start looking for professional jobs.
Also, I don’t think anybody – including rock stars – should look “like rock stars.” It’s not a good look unless you want everybody to think you have syphilis and haven’t washed your hair in five days. Just saying.
It is crazy how many of these you see around. Many are obvious but I have done a couple on that list myself.
Wish this was more common knowledge but I guess that’s what sets us apart. Only two points to make:
1.While I do agree with most of these points as being timeless classics, classic is not always the way to go, specifically with the socks. Pants matching socks is fine for the office, but aren’t we past this now outside of work? I am.
2.Considering my ‘classic’ reference above, it would be great to have the expanded edition of your article that includes today’s fashionable exceptions to the classic rules. There are always exceptions that work outside of work, and just imagine, you can offer new content year after year!
Thanks for doing your part in advancing today’s man!
All of those are spot on. I see things on this list at least once a day, if only they had read this. It just goes to show, most of the mistakes are with how the clothes fit or are taken care of, not the clothes themselves.
I think I might wear too much jewelry… I wear in total 4 big gold rings and 2 silver ones, a big rolex watch, a heavy gold bracelet, a big platinum bracelet, a thick platinum chain with a gold medallion and a gold heavy necklace.
Very useful info , thank’s for posting this
i hardly go out… but when i do… i’m sorry but i marinate in my cologne lols!!! i often use an androgynous scent so it won’t be too floral nor too woody and good enough for the scent to be emphasized…D&G light blue is a favorite and so as bvlgari… so i after a bath i spray them all over my skin and pulse points then spray them to my shirt as well… i didn’t get a negative feedback so far (not unless maybe if i opt to wear an old fashion perfume lols!!!) and i don’t agree on the jewelry as well.. i wear them layered… one 3 bracelets (not those extremely chunky ones), two figaro type necklaces of different designs and one with a pendant, two rings for both the left and the right finger, one stud earring and a watch… i don’t find it excessive… but i would admit there are those who wear them and really look trashy… why limit the flaunting to girls???
Wow, men’s fashion really sucks. We need to change it.
Yeah. The bottum line is you can’t wear anything unless you bought it 5 minutes ago. The idea, of course, is to keep you buying, buying, buying. The average overweight American fights a constant battle with clothes not fitting as his or her weight slides up and down the scale, for example, but OMG!!! Not clothes that aren’t prefectly fitted all the time??? What are you, some sort of fashion Creten? 😉 If you work for a living or even mow your fricken lawn you might occasionally be seen in dirty shoes. Etc. etc. etc. Fashion is just a big bunch of BS for selling stuff. It really only matters if you are single and even then it’s often the rougher looking guys who bag the babes.
What I mean is that the gymn is the single best fashion investment.
These are great insights! May I just add one – Wearing pleated dress pants. Actually pleated dress pants for men is appropriate only to certain body structures. If you have slim lower body, it is best for you to wear slacks with flat front. Pleated ones are best worn by those who are quite heavy on that area.
The majority of this list is spot on, and for most guys trying to find a sense of style you can’t go wrong with anything on this list. However, some of these suggestions stray to the conservative. In today’s fashion world the mixing of patterns is commonplace. It takes confidence and a sense of style to pull it off, but the results can be stunning. Same thing with playing with the length of the pant leg (slightly shorter is in when paired with a stylish sock/shoe combo and when worn in the appropriate setting).
one of the most important fashion rules that I’m surprised you left off was when wearing a 3 piece suit, tux, or any kind of vest, always leave the bottom button of the vest undone, similar to the coat button rule
The fashion mistake i only done, base on this article is wearing white socks.
Its amazing. If followed these styles will really keep men fit a d fine. Thanks a lot.
I agree, with an exception on #1 “no short sleeves with ties. A casual non-silk tie can go great with a patterned short sleeve dress shirt. summer’s get hot and sometimes sleeves are just unreasonable.
Short sleeve dress shirts are a better alternative to sweatstained ‘pits.
on a three button suit, NEVER only button the top. go for the center or the top two, and on a skinnier guy, have your taylor make it a little tighter around the center.
These are hidden mistakes from which a man fails to understand sometimes. If we keep in mind about such mistakes we can become utterly perfect in appearance.
Which are the one you recenlty get rid off ?
Using excessive amount of Hair Product
Indeed ! Elvis Presley’s hair pomade is out fashion nowadays.
Finally someone has pulled together all of the ideas that should not be out there! My pet peeve is an ugly boot, there are stylish work boots out there that are functional but don’t put you on the farm.
If you think it, it’s most like correct when in doubt do with out… Mixing metals ??? If you have a yellow gold and white gold watch pick just one of those colors for the rest of your jewelry. I put my Jewelery on then I always remove one piece a ring maybe 2 max and a watch , add a bracelet maybe. 1 necklace always at most. I love Jewelery. yet I don’t want to look like a pimp… lol
I agree , The young guys were xxxlg lol I never wear anything tight near my belly. I think of my Dad buttons that look like they will pop and put eyes out . Now the well fitted look is the right look…
Sorry I live where its hot . I have good quality flip flops in basic timeless colors & styles on a 99 degree day they match my outfits. I get pedicures and wash the flip flops weekly. these are are $50 FLIP FLOPS WITH SUPPORT AND COMFORT…. LOL Shopping at the grocer & discount stores , where people have PJ ‘s on lol so I’m ok . Still better dressed than most….
Hey Rick, is your last name Ross ?
Exactly ! Moderation is key.
Thanks Kevin for your comment.
Fit is king !
I see almost 70% of people wearing these in the center of the city when it’s 36 C degrees temperature. Only pool and beach? Are you sure?
40 contradicts 6. If socks are always navy and black, what do I wear with light-grey and light-brown pants?
I think you may have read 6 wrong. It’s not saying “only wear navy blue or black”. It was just two examples. The main point is matching the socks to the pants, not the shoes. So to answer your question – either light grey or light brown socks 😉
Hope that clears it up!
Some helpful suggestions here, thank you author. It’s easy to laps into stating opinions as though they were facts when discussing fashion, but you communicated these points civilly by pointing out their merits. Very good form.
I like how they assume that all teenage boys are doing is trying to impress women..Believeit or not gay/bi guys exist and they are probsbly much more likely to be reading an article like this (since most straight teenage boys don’t care about impressing through clothes)
Great Tips.. Thank you for sharing..
You’re welcome, Aaryan. 🙂
Thanks for a helpful article. Just FYI,
There should absolutely should be no hair underneath your chin on your neck area.
There should absolutely be no hair underneath your chin on your neck area.
Thanks for the feedback, G B! Fixed it now. 🙂
Good for you, Alexander. 🙂
Black or white are more flexible colors.
Natives are as efw
How does one keep from having pocket bulk though? I have a front pocket wallet, a keyring with mine and my girlfriend’s car keys on it (the main culprit), a cellphone and a pocket knife I like to have with me and it always looks like I’m smuggling a baseball and Pez dispensers.
Haha! Well, you might want to minimize the number of things you put in your pockets… 🙂
“Never wear just an undershirt”.
Yeah if you’re out of shape or not interested in sex 🙂 The undershirt is appropriate on occasion. It has been popularized for decades in movies and by celebrities. The look was used as far back as black and white TV.
Face it, you’re an actual man and often prepared for things that will make a carpet dwelling fashion victim cry his little eyes out.
Your pocket bulk is a badge of honor.
There are 2 that contradict themselves on me during week days in the summer. That is always put the phone in your pocket and don’t have bulging pockets. In a world of giant smartphones, business casual summer attire guarantees bulging pockets. Especially for those of us that have a work and personal phone. If you follow the rules, then your pants fit properly, so it becomes impossible to avoid bulging pockets with a phone, especially when it’s 90 degrees, and a jacket/sport coat is out of the question.
Yes, I know what you mean. 🙂 This article from Alpha M. should be helpful:
Great list, although i have to ask….are sandals EVER acceptable for a man?
Thanks, John! Yes, could be 🙂
Most of these should be know already. Good list
All points are superb and helpful. One of my friends who works at a restaurant, wears tie with half sleeved shirt that looks awkward. I have bookmarked this post, and would be sharing it with