I long for a day when men take a little more pride in their appearance, and I apologize in advance for the coming rant, but I just can't take it any more. Guys, you're better than this. I know you are. Every day I walk around the city, I see so many offenders of the list below, and most of these things could be fixed easily and cheaply. Please, men, for your own sake, take a look at the list below and think about how quickly you could look better on a daily basis.
1. Stop wearing colored undershirts.
This isn't 1993. You aren't Zack Morris. Zack Morris wouldn't even dress like this today. It wasn't even cool when Zack did it. Personally, I am in favor of never letting your undershirt show (with the exception of under a V-neck sweater). When I do wear an undershirt, I wear a crewneck under a shirt buttoned up with a tie, and a V-neck when I plan on unbuttoning the top button or two. I tend to think of undershirts as underwear, which in reality they are. So if you wouldn't show your boxers or briefs, then don't show your undershirts either.
2. Stop clipping your phone to your waist.
If you aren't Zack Morris, then you certainly aren't Batman. You don't need an utility belt. Clipping your phone onto your waist won't save you any more time versus pulling your phone out of your pocket. You aren't that important that you can't ever miss a call. Even the President keeps his Blackberry in his pocket. All you are doing is adding extra weight to your pants, pulling one side down slightly. This keeps the look of your pants uneven, and throws off your entire outfit. Additionally, this look screams "worker drone". Is that who you want to be? Another invisible member of society? There is nothing gained with this getup, only dignity lost.
3. Stop wearing too much cologne.
This morning, on the train, a man sat down two seats away from me, and his cologne burnt my eyes. We all know this guy. Unfortunately, we've all had him sit too close. Don't be this guy. As is true with most things in life, but especially with cologne, less is more. The purpose of cologne is not to let everyone in a room know how you would like to smell, but to let someone who gets close to you think you smell good. I typically never spray my cologne more than twice, and sometimes only once if I know the cologne is strong. Brian Sacawa from He Spoke Style recently posted a great video showing one of his favorite techniques for applying cologne. Start smelling awesome, not offensive.
4. Stop using a backpack for work.
Oh, that's nice. Did your mommy pack a lunch with a note for you too? If you want to dress like a child, expect to be treated like a child...even in the workplace. I'm not saying that you have to carry a leather briefcase complete with locks and a monogram, but don't carry something that you could hike the Appalachian trail with either. I've used a Jack Spade canvas bag for years. It's very simple, and perfect for what I need. I also like the "Estate" messenger bag from Fossil if you're looking for something leather.
5. Stop letting your pants bunch up around your ankle.
This is simply a case of buying the wrong sized clothes or not having your clothes altered. I wrote a blog post a few months ago making the case for asking for help at stores when it came to sizing. Clothes will look better when they are the right size. It's important to be honest with yourself about your sizes. You should never wear the wrong size because that's the size you want to be. If you want to be a smaller or larger size, then do the things you need to do to be that size like exercising or lifting, etc.
It's also incredibly important to have clothes altered that need to be altered. No two men are exactly the same size, and so no clothes will fit two men exactly the same. If you are buying pants that are unfinished (meaning they haven't been hemmed) or if you are buying pants with only the waist size listed, you will need to take them to a tailor. You can even have jeans altered. Just make sure you go to a reputable tailor. Not only will this make your pants look better, but they will also last longer because you won't continually be stepping on the backs of your pants with your heels.
6. Stop forgetting your belt.
This is a very simple rule. If your pants have belt loops, wear a belt. It's that easy. Typically a custom or bespoke suit will not have belt loops because the suite was specifically made for a single person, and therefore, a belt is not needed to hold the pants up. Aside from custom clothes, most dress and casual pants have belt loops. If they do, wear a belt. And yes, this includes jeans too.
7. Stop wearing sneakers.
With a few exceptions, sneakers are for athletics. I know Jerry Seinfeld does it, and when you are an eccentric multi-millionaire you can do it too. But for now, might I suggest a pair of suede loafers or boat shoes. And if you really, absolutely need to wear sneakers, just stuck with these classic white Jack Purcell's.
Thank you for hearing me out. I hope you can see through my rant and take some of these tips to step your style up. Just a few changes here can really help you to stand out from the crowd and start developing your own personal style.