7 Fashion Tips to Improve Your Look
Geoffrey Bruyere and his associate Benoit Wojtenka are professional fashion consultants from Paris, France. They are authors of the Style Guide for Modern Men.
There’s no gospel or permanent rule when it comes to fashion and menswear. However many people will tell you that you must do this or do that to look good and they often contradict each other. It can be a little bit frustrating. This is because fashion, as with dating advice, is about understanding the important principles of what makes people look good, and then applying them to your individual personality and body-type.
And of course, mistakes are made and you’re constantly getting feedback from your peers. Maybe you once tried color socks to see if that was ‘really’ that cool. Or you popped collar on your polo shirt to look like Will Smith in Hitch. Or girls convinced you that wearing pink was sexy and you believed it… Until you saw it in the mirror. Well. No big deal. Although you can save yourself a little time and money by avoiding fads and trends and understanding a few core principles of looking good.
Here’s some fashion principles you can apply quickly and which can lead to great results and improve your overall look.
1. Fit is King – This is easiest thing to correct, as well as the most important. The fit is wearing clothes that are the correct size and emphasize your body in a masculine way and make you look great. Most men wear clothes that are too big.
This is certainly not what our parents thought about when they bought us the same over-sized shirts you had to wear for years to save themselves the trouble to buy another one every year until you stopped growing. Also, when we’re younger we prefer comfort and ease of mobility. As a result, most boys get into the habit at a young age of wearing clothes way too big for them. This played a huge part in our habit nowadays to actually think that wearing fitted clothes is “unnatural” and uncomfortable while it’s actually the correct way to do it. Often a man’s first reaction when putting on clothes that fit for the first time is that he feels exposed, or vulnerable because they show off his body so shamelessly.
But it’s important to remember, wearing the right size doesn’t necessarily mean the clothing fits. And you don’t immediately have to downsize all your clothes and wear them tight like an episode of Jersey Shore. What’s more important than size is the cut and shape of the clothing and how it rests on your body. As you experiment, you’ll begin to find many brands (even “top” brands) are cut in ways that don’t flatter your particular shape, whereas other brands seem to fit perfectly over your body.
Let’s take a look at the cut and fit on some models:
A typical shirt:
2. Color is Overrated
You’ve probably read it in some men’s magazine, that color theory is determined by different seasons you need to match based on your complexion and personality. It all seems complicated. Allow me to tell you: there’s no need to care. Color is like a language, you want to keep the words to the minimum but express the maximum. There’s a reason why the three color rule was invented, because once you step outside the line, you’re doing a Picasso work by opposing the colors rather than harmonizing them.
See what I mean?
The only important thing is to take into account your hair color. If it’s “light” colored, it’s always nice to have at least one color in your wardrobe which can be associated to in the same tone. If it’s black, the outfit tone will simply have to be darker to match you hair.
Get maximum two colors that match well with each others when you’re wearing something on. White and black colors are “jokers” and are used to emphasize on one particular color rather than be treated as one.
The best user-friendly color is grey. Grey can go with anything and is pretty neutral while being able to associate itself to almost any colors.
Grey / blue color are just impossible to miss and always look great
Here’s a few association you can use & try yourself:
grey – blue – white (for beginners):
blue – brown
gold – black
any pastel color – beige
You can check out this site to experiment with other colors that may go together: http://www.colorblender.com/
3. Fashion isn’t Girly
Yes, fashion is a girly thing, especially when women keep stopping you to compliment you on how you look.
Clothes at the right size with minimal colors do 90% of the work
Being interested in fashion doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve automatically become a “fashion addict”. Don’t treat this like a chore, and say “oh my god, once I get into this fashion thing, my friends will make fun of me by thinking I’ve become superficial”. Fashion isn’t about owning a closet with 500 pairs of clothes. It’s about using knowledge efficiently to understand where to emphasize and gain advantages in how you look in any social context. You don’t need to change 100% how you wear your daily outfits. Just implement small changes and starts to see things differently.
Don’t get sucked in by the marketing pitches and the hype and start wearing stuff because you think it’s what makes you “fashionable” or super hip. In every brand collection, there’s rarely more than 5% worth buying. So pick and choose carefully. Seek to augment your personality rather than replace it.
The pieces which stand out are the ones based on their cut, honest price and how compatible it will be once you’re wearing it.
4. Less is More
Like the Axe advertisement says “the more you put, the better it is,” it’s a bunch of bullshit. Fashion for guys follow the principles of 80% vital items and 20% trivial items. Which means a large part from being well dressed comes from knowing your fundamentals, and going minimalistic, where only 20% flashy clothing makes you stand out more and in a better way than the guy who is dressed 80% flashy.
Less is more. Eliminate any excessive and useless fashion extras in your outfit. The peacoking concept is actually the opposite: you’re allowed to wear extravagant accessories in order to start conversation and get noticed. While it might be fun to do it in parties and during Halloween, you’re not going to be impressing any women with how well put-together you look any time soon.
Even though you’re closet may be full, you probably wear only 20% of it regularly.
Here’s a small list of what you need to have in minimum in your closet :
- a pile of well cut shirts and t-shirt
- 2-3 pair of raw/faded jeans
- 1 or 2 main piece (jacket or winter coat)
- 2 pairs of shoes (wearing the same pair daily can damage it quickly)
- 1 original sneaker (for coolness)
“Less is more” is possible when the clothes have the minimum and required quality (not meaning you need to buy expensive ones), because once your wardrobe is solid, you can wear anything without the risk of committing fashion mistakes. You can mix and match your pieces effortlessly. And you don’t get sucked into the cycle of always looking for more, more, more and risk buying crap you don’t need or that makes you look try-hard and ridiculous.
5. Black is not a Universal Color
Yes, this is the most common misconception which needs a little explanation. Black is not a zero risk color, and is rather difficult to match in reality. Here’s why :
- Black doesn’t work with cheap clothes. It emphasizes bad cuts on cheap garments. And if you wear poor denim with anything black, it makes the denim look even cheaper!
- Black is difficult to match with other garments, as well as with your skin and hair tone. It adds too much contrast within an outfit.
- Black makes you look tired and pale, as opposed to other colors which flatter your face. This is why I advise most of my clients against black. Strangely, I’ve never heard these commonsense facts anywhere else.
Every garment needs to be harmonized. Black is often used in minimalistic cuts, to underline the designers tailoring
To be more specific, there are 3 types of clothes which a beginner in the style arena should not wear in black:
- Black shirts that have been washed too many times. I see these constantly, and they look terrible. Especially with bad cuts and faded colors due to washing machines which makes it the insignificant garment “par excellence.” Moreover, outfits generally look better when the trousers are darker than the top. To be honest, it’s not impossible to look good with a black shirt, but it would involve a huge amount of work playing around with fabrics. For the time being, keep it easy and choose white, grey, and blue shirts.
- Cheap black jeans. Same problem here: they are hard to match with other clothes and they age very badly. Indigo raw denim is the perfect substitute to replace overrated black denim.
- Badly-cut black coats. It’s difficult to avoid black coats, as mass retailers flood the market with them. And with reason: black coats are very impactful masculine clothes. Still, even if you find one with a good cut and in quality fabric, the fact remains that it’s hard to match with any outfit. Plus, black coats are quite common and hence can be pretty dull. For all these reasons, I warmly encourage you to aim for something easier and more fun to wear, such as a grey or navy blue coat.
6. A Great Outfit is Always about Balance
What is “cheap?” Well, the most obvious answer is poor quality clothes and only renewing your wardrobe less than once a year. But to be more specific, it’s when you pair your best jean, or jacket, with it an average random piece of clothe and thus, the contrast makes a weak piece of clothing appear even worse. Every piece of clothing you’ll be wearing must have at least a minimum required quality for you to look good. It’s better to have a bunch of solid pieces together, rather than one amazing piece of clothing and a bunch of average ones. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
You can add balance via small touch in colors.
This is why I talked about basics in the first article. Basics are the neutral/safe garment piece which support your overall look and increase details in your look like a foundation. I will say that every outfit has at least 2-3 basics to support one main garment. If you have a stylish leather bomber jacket for example, you should add a neutral white or grey shirt + a great blue raw jean, which is in most case simply enough.
You can balance your outfit via proportions and length, either having a very long upper side (coat / trench) or a longer downside (shorter jacket / longer jeans)
Your look is also linked to your personality. And the balance philosophy is moreover based on this contrast: the more personality you already convey, the more neutral your clothes needs to be in order to express it. This is opposite of what most men assume.
One perfect example would be Tom Cruise in Top Gun wearing one white t-shirt and a pair of blue jeans with his Raybans. Or why Johnny Depp can wear almost anything he wants, and still at the end, looking great.
7. Do not Overlook Shoes
Shoes are always the first thing a girl will notice in a guy’s outfit. The reason is because shoes are the main indicator of the quality of your clothes and the hardest garnment to choose among all. It distinguishes the most amount of subtly and nuance in a man’s taste as well as how conscious he is of how he presents himself. It’s not necessarily about having shiny and polished shoes, but rather taking into account that having a bad pair of shoes can be a huge detriment to your outfit.
Perfect casual look by Beckham. Usher’s got a bit work to do.
Think about it. If you have a rock and roller attitude, combat boots are perfect for it. Trying to be more classy? Derby will give you this little touch in elegance. Looking for a more casual look? Go for the desert boot. Want to feel great and comfortable? Have a pair of killer kicks.
Here’s a few designers name which make decent shoes, and get ideas from when you can start looking:
Combat boot :
- Rick Owens
- Beau Coops
- Costume national
Desert boot :
- Opening Ceremony
- Red wings
- Any Nike Dunk (mid or high top)
- Common Projects
- National Standard
Shoes are the only garments you cannot cheat on. It’s one of the few golden rules. If you’re looking for cheap ones, well… They’ll fit poorly and deteriorate very quickly after many wear. The reason is because the quality leather is impossible to copy. Try to compare designer shoes with a pair from Walmart. You’ll quickly find out why.
The designs, fabrics, and even use warranty are clearly opposite.
Therefore, simply remember to put some money in nice shoes. Even if you have to wait for sales and discount to afford it, because at the end, you know why.
Conclusion: So there are seven tips you can use immediately to start dressing better. Fit is king. Colors are overrated. Fashion isn’t girly. Less is more. Black is not universal. Great outfit = great balance between flashy and normal. And don’t skimp on the shoes.
Become an expert on fashion by reading The Style Guide for Modern Men. It’s a guide specifically designed to help men understand the fundamentals of dressing well and fill out their wardrobe with clothes that make them look amazing. Includes hundreds of photo examples. Check it out here.
Learn how to look better and notice how differently people treat you. The Style Guide for Modern Men is a guide to how to dress well for men.
It’s loaded with hundreds of pictures and will show you everything you need to know to be a well-dressed man. Get noticed.