Let’s be honest, most guys don’t always have the best fashion sense. Of course there are exceptions, and most guys at least know how to make themselves look pretty decent, but there are still quite a few style mistakes that, for whatever reason almost every guy makes. No matter what your personal style is, it’s important to know how dress properly, especially for formal occasions.
White socks, especially white athletic socks, are the most prevalent style mistake among men. No matter how often people preach against, some guys still always default to wearing white socks with their suits.
To be clear, there’s no problem with wearing white socks to the gym or on your day off, but wearing them to work or a formal occasion is a big no. Beyond just looking bad aesthetically, it also makes you look silly and immature, like a 13 year old at a middle school dance. Instead, opt for black, gray, or navy socks for formal events. If you want to wear socks in a pattern or color that’s fine, but make sure it is distinct enough to not be confused for your sweaty gym socks.
Like socks, men also seem to struggle often with wearing appropriate shoes. So many guys wear sneakers or other casual shoes with their suits and it just looks goofy. Just because your shoes are black doesn’t me people won’t notice that they were meant for skateboarding.
Formal dress shoes should be a staple in every guy’s wardrobe, and every guy should have at least one pair in black. A brown pair is also highly recommended to add versatility to the wardrobe. Although not necessarily a mistake, square-toed shoes are also commonly considered unfashionable and outdated. Square-toed shoes should be worn by young boys, not grown men.
Ironically, wearing a tie, an almost exclusively men’s style, is also one of the styles men mess up the most. You don’t have to know how to do any fancy kind of knot, just make sure it looks normal. Beyond tying the tie, there are so many other considerations when it comes to ties that guys also mess up with such as length, width, and color or pattern.
When tied, the tie bottom of the tie should be right at about the top of your belt. There isn’t such an easy rule when it comes to tie width, just be careful that your tie is neither too long or too short. Two to three fingers wide is usually good. Lastly, just be sure to choose a tie that is appropriate for the occasion and goes with the rest of the outfit.
Sleeve & Pant Length
The lengths of sleeves and pants, especially on suiting, are another common style mistake men make that makes them look childish an unprofessional. No one wants to look like a little kid in their dad’s nor a big boy who’s grown out of his church clothes. Sleeve and pant length are common indicators that a piece of clothing doesn’t fit properly, so getting them right will help you avoid looking like one of those unfortunate scenarios.
Getting the best fit is a bit like Goldilocks: you always want everything to be just right. Using your bones is a weirdly good rule of measure to use when checking fit. Shirts sleeves should end right about at the bump of the wrist, and jacket sleeves an inch or so below that. Suit jackets should never completely cover the cuff of the sleeve, but not expose the whole cuff either. Pants should end at about the bump of the ankle bone, and never pile up on top of the shoe. If anything, it’s better to go a little bit shorter with pants and expose a bit more of the ankle, but never too much.
Washing vs. Dry Cleaning
Style doesn’t just have to do with the way you dress and look, it also refers to how you maintain that appearance, and improper clothing care leads to many style mistakes down the line. Taking care of your clothes is important to make them lost a long time, yet most guys just throw everything in the washer altogether.
The two easy steps to improve clothing care are first, separate darks and lights. Yes, it’s annoying and old fashioned, but at least it helps avoid accidentally dying all your clothes pink. Second, just read the care instructions tag! Almost every piece of clothing comes with a tag sewn in telling you how to take care of it. Most people ignore this or don’t even know it exists, but using it to determine what washer settings to use or when to dry clean will help clothes last longer by giving them proper care.
Coordination & Matching
Color and pattern coordination is one of the classic style mistakes, and it especially plagues guys. Guys clothing almost always comes in less colors, patterns, and styles, so you would think it would be a lot easier to coordinate outfits, but unfortunately that is not the case. When putting an outfit together, the key is balance.
You should neither be too matchy-matchy nor too distinct. Picking an accent color to wear throughout an outfit is a great way to tie everything together, like matching the colors of your tie with your socks for instance. It’s okay to wear multiple colors and patterns or all just one color, but there has to be a balance of unity and distinctiveness so the outfit doesn’t look disjointed or dull.
There’s no problem with guys accessorizing a little bit, in fact, accessories are a great way to step up your style and stand out as a guy. The issue is that when guys do accessorize, they usually go way overboard and wear too much. One statement piece or a few subtle touches is all you need. Try a few bracelets, a scarf, or maybe a cool hat.
Tight or Baggy Clothes
Again, clothing fit is a common cause of style mistakes for guys, not just with length, but width as well. Clothes that are a bit tight or a bit baggy can look good when they are done properly and with intention, but most guys make these poor style choices by mistake.
The real fix to these style mistakes is just to be honest with yourself. Yes we all want to be the smallest, skinniest size or the biggest, muscular size there is, depending on your preference, but in reality, wearing clothing in the size you want is never going to look as good as wearing clothing in the size you are. Be happy with your body and embrace it by wearing clothes that show it off best!
Undershirts & Underwear
This one is a little personal, but guys make a lot of mistakes when it comes to the clothes under their clothes, in addition to the clothes people actually see. The quite literally most obvious mistake is being able to see undergarments at all. Guys sagging their pants is not really common any more, especially when discussing formal and business wear, but undershirts peeking out from under the collar of dress shirts are everywhere. To avoid style mistakes like this, make sure your undershirt is tucked in extra tight, or wear a v-neck instead of a crew neck.
When it comes to underwear, guys take shocking approaches from not replacing (or wearing) their underwear that often, to being married to a specific type (usually boxers) or silly patterns. The best advice is a little racy, but always dress like you’re going to get laid. So basically, only wear underwear you would be okay with someone else seeing. The other tip on top of cleanliness, is just to make sure your underwear outline isn’t visible through your pants, which means you boxers aren’t always best, guys.
Too Much Hair Product
This is more of a grooming mistake than any of the style mistakes, but still an important part of a man’s style. Using too much hair product is another case of men overcompensating when trying to be stylish. The effort is appreciated, but greasy, lathered up hair is not pleasing. Remember, a little bit goes a long way.