My personal style has grown and matured as I’ve developed a set of style rules by which I live. Despite being a bit of a troublemaker growing up, I’ve come to thrive in my life with guidelines and structure. The worlds of men’s style and men’s fashion are no different for me. Fashion trends may come and go, but I know if I stick to my personal style rules, I will continue to dress the way I want regardless of a lot of the fashion noise out there in the “blogosphere”.
Today I wanted to take a look at some of the top rules I live by. I’m not saying anyone must follow these rules. There’s already too much “do this, don’t do that” on the internet today. These are simply some guidelines I try to follow. Hopefully they provide some inspiration for you, and you can pull an idea or two from this post.
1. No sports logos.
I try to avoid all logos if possible. However, If any clothing has a sports company logo (e.g. Under Armour) or sports team logo featured on it, it’s a definite "no" for me. I’m not looking to be a billboard for a company. Athletic brands have their place in the gym, but in my opinion that’s where they should stay. I’m fine with the idea of wearing a polo shirt with a logo, and Lacoste are my polos of choice, but that’s where I draw the line. I want my clothes to speak for me, not someone else.
2. Tan shoes with gray, not blue.
This current trend is a major pet peeve of mine. I mean, I’m really bothered by it, and I see it everywhere. It’s this idea that tan (or light brown) shoes look best with navy and other blue trousers. The blue/tan combination creates a stark contrast which is too strong for the eye. This break between the colors breaks up the flow of an outfit instead of working together like blue/brown or gray /tan. I personally choose to stick to the basic suit and shoe pairing rules:
- Navy suit with black, brown, or cordovan shoes
- Blue suit with black or brown shoes
- Gray suit with tan, cordovan, or black shoes
- Charcoal suit with black shoes
3. Never let my undershirt show.
For me, having the collar of my undershirt show under the open neck of my button up shirt is the equivalent of my boxer-briefs hanging out of my fly. I like to treat undershirts for what they are: underwear. I wouldn’t let my boxer-briefs show, so why would I do anything different with my undershirts? The key is to understand what types of undershirts work in what types of situations. Some shirts don’t need undershirts. These are typically light summer shirts like linen or polo shirts. They are both designed to let the air circulate directly on your skin. Otherwise, I recommend wearing an undershirt (I’ll develop why more in a future blog post). My undershirt rule is to wear crewnecks when I plan on buttoning my collar and wearing a tie. When I want to leave my collar unbuttoned, I’ll wear a V-neck. Yes, I own both.
4. Quality over quantity.
If I could stress one rule I follow above all others, this would be it. Of course, sometimes I get in trouble trying to analyze the best value I can afford. I end up not being able to pull the trigger on a purchase because I keep looking for something better, but I try to trust my gut. I want to accumulate a wardrobe over time, and the best way to do that is buy clothes that will last. Sure, fast fashion is cheap, but it’s also cheap. Quality costs more money, but it’s usually money well spent. Shoes are the ultimate example of this. I will always spend money on quality shoes that last decades. It is important to remember that quality requires maintenance. That means shining my shoes, brushing my tailoring, and avoiding the dryer (let those clothes hang dry if possible).
5. Classic over trendy.
Given that I’m buying clothes that last, I want them to look good for as long as I own them. Some might call classic boring, but I think of it more as always in style. If you know your clothes will always look good, then you can have more confidence spending some extra money on quality too.
Let me know what you think of my rules. I’d love to see some comments below. What are your rules you use to define your personal style? What will you always spend that extra money on?
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