Wedding season is in full swing which means that, along with you ladies, your men are in need of the right dress clothes. To help us out, Arnie patiently [although reluctantly] allowed me to take a few photos of his look for one of this weekend’s weddings (yes, as in multiple weddings in one weekend).
It just so happened that, this past week at work–with those who shall remain nameless (mostly because I don’t want to get fired)–men’s attire was a major topic of discussion. That conversation, along with the fact that I wanted to practice men’s posing techniques (which Arnie nailed…not that I’m at all biased), made this topic perfect for today’s post.
Now, while I usually like to take [all of the] credit for Arnie’s looks, I had nothing to do with putting this outfit together. The truth is he’s got a really great sense of style without needing any help from me. (Though I am still holding to the idea that his wardrobe wasn’t what it is today before we started dating, but I know he disagrees.)
Admittedly, a lot of what I know about men’s style I learned from my Dad. He is also a great dresser, and always looks so sharp in his clothes. Between the two of them, I’ve learned a few very simple tricks to aid in shopping for men’s dress clothes (now pay attention, JJG).
First things first, let’s talk patterns.
Patterns are great, and I love the look of mixing prints with men’s shirts and ties, but it’s easy for print-mixing to go terribly wrong if you’re not careful.
Tip #1 for successful pattern mixing:
Pair a micro print with a macro print.
In Arnie’s look above, he’s wearing a larger plaid printed shirt with a micro plaid pocket square. The colors in the pocket square pull from those in the shirt to create a cohesive look–which also applies to mixing ties. In his look, the color palette is one of cool tones, with added warmth in the belt and shoes.
If you’re unsure, try one of these no-fail combinations for mixing shirts and ties:
Solid Shirt + Printed Tie (or Solid Tie + Printed Shirt)
Striped or Plaid Shirt + Dotted/Floral/Paisley Tie
Dotted Shirt with Striped/Plaid/Floral Tie Tie
The moral of the store here is to create balance. To have two large, bold prints can come off looking clownish, just as two micro prints can look like an optical illusion.
Tip #2 for successful pattern mixing:
Consider the “whites” and “darks”.
Keeping with the concept of balance, with any patterned shirt or tie, you’ll noticed that it either “plays like” a white or a dark, based on the background color on the print. When you mix your prints, your best option is to place a “dark” next to a “light.”
Let’s look at Arnie’s outfit below…
He chose a navy blue suit, which is obviously a dark solid color. To balance the darker color of the suit, he places it next to a plaid shirt that plays like a white. Placing the light colored shirt next to the dark suit creates an overall balanced look. The same idea works when pairing shirts and ties (examples here and here).
For even more on print mixing, check out Mixing Prints 101.
More ways to take your look to the next level…
Tip #3: Add a Pocket Square
Pocket squares are great accessories, and instantly add that something extra to the outfit. For one of this weekend’s weddings, the atmosphere was casual so, instead of a tie, Arnie opted for a simple pocket square. He still looks dressed up, but not so formal as he would in a shirt and tie.
Tip #4: Match Your Shoes and Belt
This partly feels like common sense and could probably go without saying. Come on, guys, you gotta match your belt and shoes. And speaking of, owning both in this cognac color is a great idea. It looks sharp with black, navy, and grey suits…a highly versatile color to have in your wardrobe.
Tip #5: Get Your Suit Tailored
Seriously, guys, this one is so, so important and will make the biggest difference in your whole look. The suit that Arnie is wearing here was one he wore as a groomsmen. It was by no means an expensive suit (he couldn’t remember for sure, but thinks it was under $100), but the tailoring makes it look expensive. Suits are designed to make a man appear thinner, and each part of the suit is intentional. The lapels, tailored waist, and broad shoulders are all part of a suit design that is meant to create a masculine silhouette. Having your suit tailored to your figure will enable it to flatter you in exactly the way it’s meant to.
Tip #6: Buttoning Your Jacket
You guys know the rule: always, sometimes, never. When it comes to buttoning your suit, the middle button should always be buttoned, the top can be buttoned, and the bottom button should never be buttoned. And in general, if you’re sitting down, be sure to unbutton your jacket.
Tip #7: Remove Your Jacket During Travel
I say this because Arnie, who wears suits to work all the time, used to ride in the car with his jacket on. By the time he got where he was going, his jacket was all wrinkled. Lesson learned: remove the jacket during car trips to ensure it looks pristine when you arrive at your destination.
Tip #8: Tuck in Your Shirt (duh.)
Here’s another one that goes without saying, but this means all the way around, guys. I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve seen men at a wedding or at work with shirts untucked in the back. It looks sloppy, guys, and this is such an easy fix. Keep that shirt tucked in all the way around.
That might sound like a lot, but most of the above is common sense. Keep those simple ideas in mind, and you’ll look like a stud for work, weddings or whatever special occasions you’re attending.
SHOP MEN’S PICKS: