Fashion mistakes – we all make them. It's when mistakes turn into habits that we have a problem.
Today we're going over 20 style sins you might be carrying from the past and how to correct them.
Are you guilty? Let's find out.
Fashion Mistake 1. Buying Your Clothes In Sets
Clothing sets often come in plastic packaging one might see at a department store. You will see sets of shirts, ties, and sometimes pocket squares in one.
The first issue is the colors – box sets usually come in mismatched combinations that offer little versatility. You'll see bright blues and reds paid with similar ties. Secondly, they are almost always made with low-quality materials.
My advice, as always, is to prioritize quality and fit along with interchangeable colors. Don't fall into this trap.
Fashion Mistake 2. Letting Others Dress You
We're talking about store employees. We're talking about anybody that isn't you or your tailor.
Only you two know what looks fantastic through research. Knowledgeable as they may be, remember that salespeople are out to make a buck. Beware!
Fashion Mistake 3. Not Knowing Dress Shirts Vs. Sport Shirts
A men's dress shirt differs from a sports shirt although the differences are sometimes subtle. Dress shirts are typically styled to be simpler with more rigid collars. They are suitable for formal occasions. Sport shirts, on the other hand, can have bolder patterns as well as a wider assortment of fabrics.
Sports shirts – which are designed to be untucked – are typically 2.5 inches shorter. Can you tuck these in any way? Absolutely – just never leave dress shirts untucked or else you'll look as though you're wearing a dress.
Click here to discover how to look your best in a dress shirt.
Fashion Mistake 4. You Still Can't Tie A Tie
When it comes to fashion mistakes, this is heinous. Your very first step into becoming a well-dressed man is knowing how to tie a necktie. If you do not know, then you need to go back to basics.
Here are some quick instructions:
- Start with the wide end of the tie on the right and the small end on the left. The small end should be above your belly button and won't be moved.
- Move the wide end over the small end to the left.
- Take the wide end under the small end and to the right.
- Take it across the front and to the left again.
- Bring it up under the neck loop.
- Bring it down through the neck loop.
- Tighten the knot by tugging on the wide end and move the knot if you need to adjust.
Do you need to how to do a Full Windsor off the bat? No, but learning your basic Four-In-Hand knot is all you need. If it interests you, try moving on to more formal knots like the Windsor.
Fashion Mistake 5. Wrong Tie Length
A common (and critical) error in men's style is the length of the tie.
Let's keep it simple: A tie should always reach the middle of your belt buckle give-or-take an inch. If it's too far above or below that point, you need to retie it.
Fashion Mistake 6. Wearing Square-Toed Shoes
They're the worst, plain and simple.
It looks clunky and showy. Every man's wardrobe should be comprised of rounded or pointed-toe shoes. This is the timeless style that goes as far back as the 1700s.
Square-toed shoes look good under no circumstances.
Square-toed shoes were popular in the 90s, but they aren't popular now. Throw them away.
Fashion Mistake 7. Never Fixing Hems
Few things look as disgusting as frayed trousers. It makes you look like you don't care.
Proper trouser length is a complex topic that is often unique to each man's height. There are a few basic rules to follow.
Here are the different hems:
- No breaks: The cleanest look and good for short men.
- Quarter breaks: Still quite a clean look and a fold that is barely noticeable.
- Medium breaks: A single horizontal fold across the ankle. Comfortable and conservative.
- Full breaks: A fold that runs all the way around the leg. It's tough to pull off as it almost looks like you forgot to get your trousers hemmed. It does work well for tall men.
Fashion Mistake 8. Wasting Money On Full Retail Prices
There has never been a better time to dress well on a budget. You can find some quality stuff out there for pennies on the dollar.
We're talking Amazon, eBay, Nordstrom, Thursday Boots. Stores like Men's Wearhouse have clearance racks where some gems can be found.
Fashion Mistake 9. Not Having A Signature Scent
80% of American men do not use any fragrance. Other cultures have us beat by a mile – did you know that 75% of Latino men under 35 are considered heavy consumers of cologne?
We need to step it up.
Our problem is that we believe it's simple enough not to smell terrible… but it's not. Investing in a signature fragrance is absolutely key when it comes to making a strong impression or enhancing your style.
Click here to learn about the different cologne types and see which works best for you.
Fashion Mistake 10. No Shoe Trees
Cedar shoe trees protect our best shoes in several ways.
They absorb the moisture from our feet and the shoes, keeping them from creasing and crinkling. They keep their shape, preventing them from devolving into elf shoes. Finally, they leave shoes with a pleasant cedar scent.
Shoe trees protect and help dress shoes stay in shape.
Essential especially if you invested in higher-end dress shoes.
Fashion Mistake 11. No Shoe Polish
Another fashion mistake men make all the time is failing to polish their shoes.
I shine my shoes after every wear. If that's too extreme for you, then try once a week.
The technique is simple:
- Take off the laces.
- Wipe down the shoe.
- Apply polish – either with a towel or with a round horsehair brush. Make sure to get the welt.
- Buff the shoe.
Boom, done! Click here to see a more detailed walkthrough.
Fashion Mistake 12. Buying Cheap Shoes
You're not being clever – crappy shoes will not save you money. Oftentimes cheap shoes are made of rubber or synthetic leather, materials which are not breathable and break down fast. Cemented soles are also common, which can come off and can never be replaced.
Quality over quantity – you might spend several hundred dollars on your next pair of Oxfords, but I promise you they will last decades with proper care. Look for full-grain leather and Goodyear welt/blake stitch.
Fashion Mistake 13. No Pocket Squares
Pocket squares are a simple, effective, and inexpensive way to make you stand out from the crowd. Cotton pocket squares are affordable and you can find them in a multitude of colors and patterns.
The kind of fold you opt for can speak volumes about your style and attention to detail. Just never match it with your tie.
Fashion Mistake 14. Not Having A Signature Pen
Yes, pens. You probably use them but have you ever really delved in? Pens can be as much a signature piece as your cologne. You can find pens that range in price from kickstarters to classic designs that go for hundreds (even thousands) of dollars.
A signature pen can complement your, well, signature – which is essential.
Fashion Mistake 15. Not Wearing Watches
Smartwatches don't count. We're talking about classic men's watches.
A watch has the power to instantly make a man look powerful and polished even in casual clothes. You can also pick from a myriad of styles in order to send a message about your personality.
If you are interested in getting into this rabbit hole, then check out our articles on automatic vs. quartz watches and the different watch styles to choose from. Good luck!
Fashion Mistake 16. Oversized Logos
Unless you are promoting a brand for the money, you have no business sporting a gaudy logo. Small, subtle sigils are acceptable – especially when in some brands they're unavoidable.
Big logos disrupt the cohesion in an outfit.
Otherwise, stick to solids or classic patterns for your shirts and dress shirts. You will be classier for it.
Fashion Mistake 17. Forgetting How To Button Your Jacket
Let's go through this quickly because the rules are simple.
With a two-buttoned jacket, you should only button the top button. With a three-buttoned jacket, always button the middle button (the top is optional).
The common rule of thumb is to NEVER button the bottom button. Got it? Good.
Fashion Mistake 18. No undershirts
An easy fashion mistake to make is going without an undershirt.
Why do I love undershirts? They protect your more expensive shirts from the natural oils and sweat from your skin, making them last longer.
Unlike quality dress shirts, undershirts are easily bought in bulk.
With undershirts, your regular shirts will be good for two to three wears before you have to wash them!
Fashion Mistake 19. Not Tucking In Your Dress Shirt
Going back to dress shirts for a moment. We discussed how they are much longer than the typical sports shirts, and I just want to reiterate that you should not tuck them in.
You will seem as though you are wearing a dress. It isn't a good look.
Fashion Mistake 20. Failing To Level Up Your Uniform
As you get more and more into style, you will develop your signature look – your uniform so to speak. This is the combination of clothing that you naturally gravitate towards and wear on a regular basis.
It could be a sports jacket, jeans, and dress boots. It could be a polo, chinos, and loafers. You just need to consider how to take it to the next level.
Perhaps bring in a sports jacket that has a vibrant pattern, or a more daring pair of tassel loafers. Maybe all you need is a pocket square or a watch.
Summary – Men's Fashion Mistakes
- Buying your clothes in sets.
- Letting others dress you.
- Not knowing dress shirts vs. fashion shirts.
- Never tying a tie.
- Wrong tie length.
- Wearing square-toed shoes.
- Never fixing hems.
- Wasting money on full retail.
- Not having a signature scent.
- No shoe trees.
- No shoe polish.
- Buying cheap shoes.
- No pocket squares.
- Never using pens.
- Never wearing watches.
- Oversized logos.
- Forgetting how to button your jacket.
- No undershirts.
- Not tucking your dress shirt in.
- Failing to level up your uniform.
Start this year right, gentlemen. Avoid these common fashion mistakes and start turning heads. Good luck out there.