Fashion & Style

Men's fashion tips

By Ryan Walters
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man's suit and tie
Very few men (if any) can wear a suit directly off the rack.
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What you need to know about men’s fashion

GQ Magazine offers several style tips that will help you earn the "best dressed" status symbol. There are some of the "commandments" they list for men's fashion to achieve this look:

1. Honor thy tailor. According to GQ, even the best suits need altering. In men's fashion this is probably the most important detail that is not always adhered to. Pants need to be shortened, jackets need to be brought in, sleeves need to be narrowed (yes, you can ask your tailor to slim down your sleeves), and buttons need to be realigned with buttonholes (most guys' shoulders aren't entirely even, meaning your jacket often sits a bit askew).

If you're going to buy off the rack, you should always buy your correct size, then have a tailor customize it to your body. GQ says that the chances are you're wearing your suit a size too large. Its shoulders should hug your shoulders (not jut out past them). Also, have your tailor size the sleeves so they stop at the hinge of your wrist (not halfway down your thumb) and to size the pants so they break once (not gather in a baggy mess at your heels). Having your tailor properly fit your suit is the difference between being appropriately dressed and being stylishly dressed.

Custom tailored suits and even dress shirts are another option. Custom tailoring means that everything will fit right - and if you need to have a lot of alterations done on ready-made clothes, it may be an economical alternative.

2. Thou shalt learn when to cuff 'em. If you're wearing a trim, modern suit with flat-front pants—the kind often shown in men's fashion magazines—you should not cuff your pants. However, if you're a guy who likes a classic suit with a single pleat, go for a cuff—but not more than one and a half inches deep.

3. Thou shalt match your socks with your suit. Another must in men's fashion. When choosing socks, the basic rule is to consider the suit instead of the shoe—in other words, 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.

4. Thou shalt not wear a tie that is too slim. Unless you're a hard-core men's fashion guy who favors a superskinny tie, stick with one that measures about three inches at its widest point. It will be narrower than traditional ties, but not by too much. Tie one on and you'll look modern and sophisticated. We assume that's the look you want to achieve!

5. Remember thy undershirt. This one's an interesting and tricky men's fashion tip. If you're wearing a conventional white broadcloth dress shirt (which means it's fairly see-through), you have two options: Skip the undershirt and you'll look clean and stylish. Or, if you're a hairy guy who perspires a lot and you feel safer in an undershirt, wear a crewneck. The lines of a V-neck or tank top will be visible beneath your shirt and tie and you'll look cheesy. GQ suggest that if you prefer a V-neck or tank top, you might consider other dress shirts. Go for ones with checks or stripes, which make an undershirt less visible. Or opt for hardier fabrics, like an oxford cloth, which make undershirts all but invisible.

6. Thou shalt put your wallet on a diet. Your wallet should not be as fat as a burrito. In fact, GQ says that you should get rid of your wallet and you should trash all the receipts, video cards, that's stuffed into it. Buy an elegant, slim leather credit card holder and stock it with your essential cards. Then, fold your cash in a money clip. All that other nonsense can go in your desk drawer. You don't need it.

7. Thou shalt wear brown shoes—with nearly everything. Black dress shoes are easy—they're understated and tasteful. In men's fashion, the GQ experts say that brown dress shoes up the style factor. People notice them. They go best with gray, khaki, or navy. Dark brown shoes are easier to pull off than light brown ones.

Other men's fashion tips worth noting are: • Buy a two-button suit. It will give you a slimmer, more streamlined look, and it will better show off your shirt and tie. According to the fashion experts, the days of three-button dominance are over.

• Put toe taps on your leather-soled dress shoes. They will significantly increase the shoes' life span.

• If you're going to own one sweater, make it a charcoal gray v-neck. It goes perfectly with a dark suit in fall or winter and with jeans or cords in spring.

• A black J.M. Weston belt works with khakis, jeans, suits, everything. It is the one belt every man should own.

• A dark, slim tie will instantly give any ensemble a younger, cooler feel. And unlike wider ties, it looks as good with a jean jacket as with a suit jacket.

• Update your eyeglasses and sunglasses

• And, the last men's fashion tip is: Invest in a classic one- or two-button tuxedo with peak or notch lapels. It makes no sense (stylistically or fiscally) to rent a tuxedo each time you attend a black-tie event.

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