stylish man requires tremendous effort. We must keep an eye to the fashion
runways in Italy, to the ready-to-wear shows, to Fashion Week in New York in
order to appear as if we care what we look like.
Hogwash. The truth is there are dozens of quicker and easier ways to look
better, more with it, more stylish – all with a minimum of effort. We tapped
designers Billy Reid and John Varvatos, as well as stylist-to-the-stars Joey
Tierney, to offer their input on these 25 simple, ready-to-impress tips for
instantly upping your style quotient.
1. Loosen your tie
It doesn't get much simpler than this, says Joey
Tierney, stylist to the stars. "[If you opt for a necktie,]
always keep the second-to-top button unfastened," she says. "And never, ever
button anything but the top button of your blazer or suit coat."
2. Shine your shoes
"They may not be the first thing you think about," Reid says, "but a fresh
shine makes all the difference." Not only does it look snappier, but your kicks
will live longer, too."
3. Match your accessories
"This may sound overly simple," says designer John
Varvatos, "but for God's sake, remember to match your belt with
4. Simplify your belt
Designer Billy Reid's take on belts is easy and instructive: "Personally, I own
very few belts, but the ones I have are made of high-quality leather. I like
simple belts with brass buckles that go with both jeans and suits."
5. Change the basics
Take a long look at the staples in your wardrobe, like the simple white
oxford. Then flip the script subtly. "Use a spread collar as an alternative to a
button-down," says Reid. "Or try a denim shirt with snaps instead of
6. Toss the T-shirt
Many men think wearing a white tee beneath a collared dress shirt is a must.
To the contrary, it's a fusty relic of the 1950s – and not the stylish part of
the decade. Unless your shirt is see-through, consider going
7. Rotate your belts
Laziness is the main culprit in a man's tendency to use the same one or two
belts. If you grow your belt collection by two, you've made an easy stride to a
better, simpler waistline look.
8. Socks matter
The simplest rule of thumb when selecting socks is that their color should
never match the shoe. Choose a single element of your getup – the tie, the
shirt, the blazer – and match that.
9. Tone down your tie
When you think of an event that requires a tie – say, your day job or a date
with an heiress – you might think the tie needs to have a perfect face. The
truth is, sometimes a tie needs a casual touch to look just right. So add a
dimple. (And consider these knot options, too.)
10. Add a little bit of color
The simplest, most timeless and most effective splash of color you can
incorporate into your daily routine is the casual, well-worn pink oxford.
11. Lock down your collar
Nothing ruins a suit set-up faster than collar points that fly away. The
simple addition of a five cent collar stay is the easiest and cheapest way to
keep it together.
12. Carry a silk handkerchief
Few items are as versatile, or as effortlessly stylish, as an actual
handkerchief. It's a subtle and simple touch, and it can be used for your
schnoz, for dabbing away someone's tears, for mopping your brow, or for wiping
up the sweat rings left on your desk by that afternoon scotch on the
13. Befriend a tailor
Don't tinker with your tailor.
Use him. A tailor can often alter ill-fitting items that you love, bringing new
life to items you'd otherwise chuck.
14. Always choose quality fabric
As important as a tailor is the grade of fabric, so bury the instinct to
skimp on lesser items that won't last – they'll look like it. "Quality work is
key," says Reid. "Also, knowing how you prefer your personal fit will help your
tailor achieve the results you want."
15. Try an ankle boot
For once, just try an ankle boot. "Go out and get one of Jimmy Choo's new
men's ankle boots," suggests stylist Joey Tierney, when asked how to get in the midst in the trend stream. "They are sophisticated and unfussy."
16. Try something trendy
It's wise to have a sturdy, easily maintained wardrobe of timeless items. But
it's not that hard to find a single item that is entirely au courant and also
works with your look. This year, Tierney says, the easiest thing to go for is a
blazer with a peaked lapel. "They are really, really happening right now," says
17. Adopt this season's color
No need to follow the Twitter feeds from the men's shows in Milan to know
what color is inspiring designers. According to superb stylist Joey
Tierney, the dominant color of the 2013-2014 season is one
normally associated with shoes. "This year, it's the apparel color," says
Tierney, "and it is most definitely oxblood."
18. Invest in a leather jacket
Almost every outfit can be upgraded easily with the addition of a
well-fitted black leather jacket. "As in a moto jacket," says Tierney. "But even a leather
blazer can be nice." And unlike many items, a leather jacket almost always
improves with age.
19. Match your body type to a label
Finding a clothing label that works for your body type will simplify your
shopping considerably, says Tierney. Are you tall and slender? "Go with Varvatos,
whose collection is now large enough to accommodate your wardrobe,"
she says. More broad of shoulder? Think Hugo Boss for a more generous cut.
20. Rediscover watches
In an age when phones keep us on track, a watch's primary duty is as an
accessory. And it's a simple and often inexpensive way to up your style game.
Billy Reid suggests a clean, classic look over chunky modern
metal pieces. "I love old watches with leather or alligator bands," he says.
21. Pick practical accessories
"Less is more with accessories, and I like them to have a purpose," says
Reid. That means opting for items that are functional rather than just
ornamental. "A tie bar to hold a tie in place, a knit cap to keep warm. These
types of things make sense to me," he says.
22. Buy next year's denim
There is one simple rule to finding the perfect denim, says Reid: "Look
beyond the finish and think what it will look like with a year of wear. I
prefer selvedge and a rigid finish that will break in over time."
23. Don't overthink hats
"Hats are always cool and always in style," says Tierney. "You can go with a
felt fedora, and – depending on how old you are – if you're in the right baseball
cap, you're always kinda cool."
24. Always go for comfort
The trick is to feel comfortable, says Reid: "Sometimes you may want a shirt
to be trim and other times you may want loose. Fabric that drapes might be
better in fuller cuts. Fabrics with more structure might be best more fitted.
You want to avoid sloppy bottoms on pant openings by making sure the width and
length of the bottom looks right on your body. Trimmer pants are usually
flattering on most body types. That's simple, right?"
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