Men’s Style Guide: 12 Tips to Take it to The Ultimate Level
Men’s Style Guide: 12 Tips to Take it to The Ultimate Level
Whether you want to stand out from the crowd or fit in with it, choosing the right clothing is important. For some men, putting a bit of extra thought into how they dress and look may seem as enjoyable as a root canal, but it doesn’t have to be such a pain.
We’re here with this basic men’s style guide to help you look your best whether you’re dressing for work or casual occasions. We’ll cover everything from different styles—such as business casual—to hair and beard styles, and diet and nutrition.
So, let’s dig in and see if we can help you take your style and appearance to the next level.What is Style?
What constitutes “style” often varies widely from person to person, but that’s the point. Style is individual to you, your friends, your office colleagues, your siblings, etc. Your style should be personal, an extension of you and who you are.
We’re all unique in different ways—there’s no person out there who’s exactly like you. Your style should express your individuality whether you like to take a bold or subtle approach. Your clothing, your hairstyle, your beard, can all communicate volumes about you, and communication through personal style is often very powerful.
You probably want your style to fit appropriately with the situations you encounter throughout the day. An interchangeable wardrobe with pieces that are capable of creating multiple looks will always serve you well.
Although we live in a world in which things change quickly, a timeless style can be beneficial. Wardrobe items that last at least two to five years without looking dated will be much easier on the wallet. Invest in clothes you’ll want to wear for years to come. Your wardrobe can evolve to remain current, but don’t feel like you have to make drastic changes frequently. Try to leave out the quick trends that burn out, unless it’s something you just have to try.
As our man Eric Bandholz points out in this video, stick with the basics if you’re baffled about creating a personal style. If it fits well, your body looks good, and you have a well-groomed beard and hairstyle, you’re on the right track. Go with basics, like solid colors (such as black or neutrals), for your wardrobe. Once you master solids, move on to other patterns if you want to add another dimension to rotate into your outfits.
The good news is that you have simple choices for your style, for the most part. A collection of nice pants, shirts, t-shirts, shoes, socks, and jackets are all you really need; there’s no reason you have to have a closet stuffed to the gills with an overabundance of choices.
Of course, style is about much more than clothes because it encompasses everything, including your hair and beard. A bad or mismatched haircut and beard that doesn’t fit your face shape will create a disjointed feeling in an otherwise well-balanced look.
You’ve probably heard the acronym KISS, which means “Keep It Simple, Stupid.” It’s something to keep in mind as you choose the clothes, beard style, and hairstyle that help create your look. One way to kill an outfit is to overdo it with too many elements, but by sticking with basic, interchangeable details that look good on you, you’ll have no issues with rocking your style.
In short, you want to focus on how you present yourself to the world. It all begins with what inspires you, and then making the investment in yourself to look and feel good.
Below, you’ll hear about how to build a good foundation for your style:
1. Find the Right Fit
One of the most important fundamentals for maintaining a kick-ass style is wearing clothing that fits. It sounds obvious, yes, but making the mistake of wearing clothes that don’t have the right fit can ruin your style every time, and no fashion guide is complete without mentioning it.
The fact is, fit may be the most important element to maintaining a great style. Whether you’re dressing up or down, wearing clothes that fit can resolve many style issues. There’s an endless number of videos by fashion experts who will tell you how to achieve a personal style, but the bottom line is that clothes that fit properly will make a huge difference in your appearance.
A man wearing a simple T-shirt and jeans that fit will look way better than a man in an expensive suit that’s a size or more too large. You could have one of the most fashionable pieces ever made in your wardrobe, but if you didn’t get it in the right size or it isn’t tailored right for your body shape, it’s just not going to look good.
Here’s a look at some tips that will help you make sure you’re getting the best fit every time
A loose fit isn’t better
Many men wear clothes that are too big because they think it’ll feel more comfortable or because they don’t understand exactly what constitutes a good fit. In actuality, clothes that fit properly provide the most comfort. You want a fit that looks stylish and tailored, as if you put it together effortlessly.
Also, clothes with excess fabric, besides looking sloppy, can also make you appear heavier and shorter than you are—that’s probably not the look you want.
How casual clothes should fit
T-shirts and jeans are common elements of casual men’s style and almost always look good, especially when they fit and are worn properly.The way your jeans should fit
Skinny jeans are still fairly popular today and many men look good in them, as long as they aren’t worn too tight. They may not be your style either way, but make sure you don’t go too far in the other direction and wear jeans that are too big. If there’s an excess of fabric in the legs, then the jeans are too wide.
Look for a nice tapered leg fit instead, that’ll look tailored and fit your body without being as tight as a skinny jean. A jean that has no taper from the knee down will make your legs seem out of proportion to the rest of your body.
If you need to wear a belt with your jeans it may mean that the waist size is too big. And the hem of your jeans should be just above your shoes or, better yet, graze the tops of them.The way your T-shirts should fit
Getting the right fit for your T-shirt is similarly important and perhaps not as simple as you’d think. A T-shirt that’s too long may feel comfortable, but it doesn’t look the best, while one that’s too short can expose your belly, and that’s probably a look you want to avoid.
The proper length is usually when the bottom hem of the shirt rests just below the beltline to mid-crotch. The key is to find a fit that’s long enough so your stomach isn’t exposed when you’re reaching up for things. You can do a quick test by raising your arms above your head while looking in a mirror.
A crew neck is the standard T-shirt look and its fit shouldn’t be too tight or too loose around the neck. A loose collar looks stretched out and may reveal some of your shoulders. Too tight of a collar is going to be uncomfortable, so you’ll know after putting it on if you need to size up.
One of the most important things to consider when wearing a V-neck is that it doesn’t hang so low that cleavage, or too much of your chest, shows. Men’s cleavage isn’t necessarily attractive (we know, “shocker”), so as a guideline, your V-neck shouldn’t go past the top of your armpits.
The sleeves of your T-shirt should fall between your shoulder and elbow and be a bit on the slimmer side, not too loose. You also don’t want the sleeves to be so snug that it appears to cut off blood circulation or draw attention to less-than-toned biceps. Even if you have a nice set of guns you like to show off, you don’t need too-tight sleeves to do it the right way.
To find the proper body and torso fit of a T-shirt you should be able to pinch one to two inches of fabric on either side of your stomach. This rule applies to every body type.
How dress clothes should fitThe way your dress shirts should fit
Let’s start by talking about the right fit for dress shirts. Perhaps the most important point to remember is that there shouldn’t be excess fabric anywhere. The sleeves and body of the shirt should have the same cut. Choose a length in which the shirt won’t bunch up when you tuck in your shirt and won’t show skin when you raise your arms.The way your dress pants should fit
For dress pants, you should balance the fit so that it’s neither too snug or too big. Your pants should fit easily around your waist without a belt. If you can grab an excess of fabric in your pant legs, then the pants may be too wide. Instead, choose a leg with a nice taper that looks clean and fits your body as if it were tailored.
The hem of your pants should either graze the top of your shoes or fall just above them. Remember that if your pants are too long, you’ve always got the option to get them hemmed. Most tailoring shops will do that for an affordable price. Or you can try to DIY them yourself.The way your suit should fit
These men’s style tips, especially for more formal occasions, wouldn’t be complete without discussing how a suit should fit. It’s important to try on a lot of different sizes of suits to ensure that it’s not too big or too tight. The suit’s shoulder seam should fall on the outside of your shoulder while the lapels should lie flat across your chest.
It’s always a good idea to work with an employee at the shop you’re buying from who knows their stuff (you should be able to tell if they are an expert or are just trying to sell you something)—they should give their honest opinion when you’re trying on suits and can point you in the right direction for fit for your body type.The way your blazer should fit
One way to know that your blazer is too tight is when the lapels pop out when you button it. The blazer’s shoulder seams should line up as exactly as possible. The sleeves should be short enough so that a half-inch or so of your shirt cuffs show, and slim enough that they match the width of your arm.The way your dress shoes should fit
Dress shoes can make or break your look—whether they’re shoes for professional business settings, business casual, or for hanging out with your buddies on the weekend.
You want the fit of your dress shoes, or any shoes, to be as exact as possible to get the most comfort while also avoiding issues such as blisters and uncomfortable rubbing. Your new dress shoes will stretch a bit as you wear them regularly, but don’t expect that a shoe that is too tight in the store is going to stretch enough to become comfortable eventually.
A good rule of thumb for sizing shoes of any kind is to try them on in the late afternoon or early evening, because your feet naturally swell during the day and you’ll get a truer fit at or near the end of your day after you’ve had a chance to kick your feet up. Always have your shoes sized by a professional, if possible.
2. Know Your Body Type, Then Style Accordingly
If you don’t consider your body type when buying clothing, then it’s time to start. As many fashion experts put it, your body type and shape should take precedence over things like fashion trends. Always dress for the body type you have now and not for the body you hope to have down the road.
The bottom line is that body shape is a huge factor for choosing the right clothes, just as face shape is for choosing the right beard and haircut (which we’ll discuss a bit later).
What follows is a men’s style body type guide that focuses on five different body shapes.
Triangular body shape
Many men tend to be a little wider around the waist and hips compared to their upper bodies, especially as they age. Men who have a triangle body shape have a chest that’s slightly wider than their shoulders and then a waist that’s wider than both—which can give the appearance of being bottom heavy. The goal, then, is to add dimension to the body’s upper half through the way you style it.
Some types of clothing you may want to consider for a triangle body shape include jackets with structured shoulders, single-breasted suits, clothing with vertical stripes, and tailored blazers with patterns.
Clothes with vertical stripes create a streamlined look that helps elongate and slim the upper body. Many experts say you should only ever wear horizontal stripes that are visible from the chest upward, nothing below that, but use your best judgement with these widening stripes based on your own body type.
Checked blazers pair well with solid trousers; the mix of print and solid help to take the focus away from a larger waistline. Jackets with structured shoulders, such as on a topcoat, help square off your frame. While jackets with “slouchy” shoulders, such as bomber jackets, exaggerate your already-sloping shoulder line.
You might want to avoid double-breasted suits if you have a triangular body shape because they can add bulk to your waist, where you least want it.
Inverted triangle body shape
Men with an inverted triangle body generally have chests and shoulders that are much broader in comparison to the waist and hips. They likely hit the gym regularly and pump up their muscles while accentuating their shoulders, biceps, and pecs.
If you have an inverted triangle shape, clothes that fit snugly can emphasize the clean lines of your torso. You may want to add some bulk to your trimmer belly and lower body to help balance the proportions of your body as a whole.
Shirts with horizontal stripes, particularly from the chest down, work effectively to broaden the relatively narrow waist of the inverted triangle body shape.
Slim-fit shirts help to emphasize your body shape, but you should be careful that they’re not so tight that they announce your fitness and muscles from the mountain tops. Be subtle about it.
Straight-leg pants and jeans will accentuate your slimmer legs and slim fit pants should suit you well.
Other clothes that help give your style a kick-start with an inverted triangular body shape are slim cotton polo shirts, regular V-neck T-Shirts, and slim fit jackets. Stay away from really deep V-neck T-shirts no matter how much you want to show off your mighty pecs. As a rule of thumb, the V should hit around your armpits, and not any lower.
It’s best to avoid suit jackets and blazers with shoulder padding and wide lapels that over-emphasize your heavier upper body. Prints, scoops, and patterns around the shoulder shift too much focus on your wider upper body frame and can make you appear out of proportion.
Rectangle body shape
Men with a tall and thin frame typically have a rectangle body shape. Their shoulders, waist, and hips are the same width.
Your goal for choosing stylish clothes for a rectangular shape is to widen the shoulders. Doing so helps creates a tapered look from the top down, and that creates an illusion of structure.
What also works for men with a rectangle body shape are horizontal stripes, layered looks, structured tailoring, prints and colors that pop, and even scarves.
Horizontal striping on your clothing, especially on your upper torso, helps to add width to your slender frame. Structured suit jackets and blazers add size to your shoulders, while button-down shirts paired with a crew neck T-shirt help create the illusion of bulk to your upper frame. Splashes of bright color on the upper half of the body help to expand the dimensions of an otherwise slim frame.
You should avoid double-breasted jackets if you have a rectangular body shape because they have rectangular tailoring as well, so it will do nothing to complement your body’s shape. Single-breasted styles with plenty of structure in the shoulders will serve you and your body shape better.
Oval body shape
Bigger men often have an oval body shape, where the center of their torso is wider than the shoulders and hips. This body type tends to have shorter, broader limbs. For this body shape, you’ll want to choose clothing that’s slimming and frames your best features.
Finding the right fit for your shirts is crucial and you want to avoid those that are so snug that they pinch and wrinkle, as well as avoiding shirts that are too loose and add bulk to your appearance. Shirts with wider collars are a good option, especially if your neck and face are broad like the rest of your body.
Neckties can be an issue for oval body shapes because they can drape over the bulge of the stomach, drawing attention there. Choose wider ties, and also those that are long enough to reach the top of your belt. You may want to try bowties, which some men (but certainly not all) prefer.
Your pants should be comfortably loose and never be so tight that they pinch. Pleats help your trousers widen a bit when you sit.
Belts can feel tight if you’re bigger around the waist, so don’t be afraid to add suspenders to your wardrobe. Whether you wear suspenders or a belt, you should always wear your pants at your natural waistline so that they drape easily over the bottom of your stomach rather than tugging upward.
Men with oval-shaped bodies should wear dark, single-breasted jackets with a very slight taper. Too much of a taper makes it hard to stretch the jacket over your stomach and, not to mention, hard to button.
In general, solid colors work best for men with an oval body shape. Patterns can draw attention to your midsection; your outfits should guide the eye smoothly up the length of the body while focusing attention on the face. And, as with other body types, avoid anything that fits too tightly.
Trapezoid body shape
Remember when they taught you about trapezoids in school? OK, maybe not, so here’s a refresher: a trapezoid is a flat shape with four straight sides that has a pair of parallel opposite sides.
For our purposes, a trapezoid is the shape of men with average to athletic build. That is, the waist is the narrowest point on the torso, while the body widens steadily to the collarbone and shoulders which is the broadest part of the body. Slim, fitted items typically accentuate this look well.
Vertical stripes help make you appear a bit taller, while checks and other patterns add horizontal bulk. You should choose a pattern based on your height.
Avoid baggy trousers, or baggy clothes of any type, for that matter, and choose brands that offer a slim fit that work best with your build.
A tailored blazer or suit jacket will help to taper your waist, making your stomach appear slimmer and your shoulders broader. Either choice usually looks best when buttoned at the bottom.
Stick to neckties of a normal length (the bottom hitting at your waist or a bit below) and width. Oddly-shaped ties, such as skinny or thick ties, can throw off the balance of your torso.
3. How to Rock the Business Casual Look
Business casual is a popular style of dress that has become ubiquitous, yet is never boring, but remains a bit confusing to pull of correctly depending on the situation. Its roots lie in the Silicon Valley workwear style of the 1980s, when going to the office no longer meant that you had to don a suit and tie to truly look professional.
It started with company-wide initiatives such as “Casual Fridays” but it’s morphed into something more—encompassing a sharp, attractive style of dress that’s work appropriate without being overly “Wall Street,” if that makes sense.
Business casual can be confusing because there’s no one way to define what it means today. As some men’s fashion experts suggest, business casual has replaced one style of office wear (a suit and tie) with another that features clothing such as polo shirts and chinos.
There’s no holding back if you work for a company where business casual is the norm (but make sure it is appropriate first). Just be careful to avoid your look becoming so unstructured that you show up for work in a well-worn T-shirt and jeans with tears in them.
Here are things to consider when wearing business casual clothing:
The vibe is everything
What you wear in a trendy start-up company may differ greatly from what you wear in a well-established law or financial firm. Make sure you know the rules before you decide to adopt a casual business style. Feel it out, and don’t be afraid to ask about the office style if you’re starting at a new company.
What you wear for a job interview differs, most likely, from what you’d wear for a daily business casual setting. So keep this in mind when putting together a look to properly represent yourself and your skills.
When in doubt, check your daily schedule. If you’re slated to meet with one of your company’s top bosses or an important client, you’ll probably want to dress a bit more formally. Keep a blazer or tailored jacket on hand, just in case. /span>
Don’t be casual for every aspect of your job
Best practice is to choose the type of casual that will empower you to be the most productive. This article from the New York Post quotes Chris Bailey, author of “The Productivity Project,” on a positive approach on the subject, “Wear the clothes that make you feel (how you want to feel). Confidence and comfort are both ingredients we have at our disposal that allow us to become more productive. And in most situations, one will help us more than the other.”
Casual doesn’t mean "only" casual
In other words, business casual is a look meant for business purposes. You always want to project a professional image and appear neat and well-groomed, except you’re projecting that image in more casual attire. The key is not to dress too “relaxed” unless your company encourages it. What you wear to a backyard barbecue or when hanging out with buddies at your favorite bar doesn’t always transition well to some office settings.
One of the reasons that business casual became so popular in the last 20 years is that it took classic business wardrobe pieces and mixed them with more relaxed clothing. Business casual wearers retained the integrity of the business look but removed some of the stuffiness common to formal workwear. That doesn’t mean you can always get away with wearing, say, sandals to work, either.
What type of pants?
What type of trousers or pants you choose for a business casual setting depends on the other elements of your wardrobe, as well as the setting. A pair of black jeans may work in an office where relaxed attire is predominant, but perhaps not so good when meeting with clients.
Khakis are a common element of the business casual look and, unlike jeans, won’t appear too casual in most cases. You can switch out khakis for corduroy pants during the colder months.
A nice pair of dress pants in a darker color—such as navy, grey, or charcoal—are always a good choice, whether they’re pleated or not pleated. They look great with a dressier shirt and a blazer or sport coat.
The same rule applies for jeans: black or dark jeans help you rock the business casual look better than lighter-colored jeans and can also give you the appearance of being slimmer.
Dark jeans and dress slacks work well when you’re wearing a blazer. Again, you want to project a professional look without appearing too stuffy, so finding a balance of dress and casual will help even your look out and prevent it from going too casual.
Blazer vs. suit jacket
A blazer is more casual than a suit and looks more like a jacket rather than a tailored suit. It can also give jeans and khakis a “business” look.
Look for blazers that are less stuffy and more relaxed. Opt for little to no padding in the shoulder, and choosing a slightly shorter length has a more casual, contemporary look. Keep in mind the blazer’s material, as well, because softer, more pliable materials have a nice look and feel and, in some cases, resemble a sweater or cardigan.
Speaking of the latter, a shawl-collar cardigan can help you to raise your business casual game to the next level, as can a jacket like a lightweight bomber. Dark colors tend to be better for jackets, and natural fabrics such as wool, cotton, or linen tend to look better than shinier nylon styles.
The ever-present polo
Polos, like khakis, epitomize the business casual look but sometimes get a bad rap because so many people wear them. However, a nice collared polo that’s partly buttoned falls somewhere between a button down dress shirt and a casual T-shirt so it can be a good middle-of-the-road option.
Long sleeves can help make a polo shirt more office-appropriate, as can switching from commonplace cotton to knitted fabrics, such as merino wool.
The button down shirt
That’s not to say a shirt such as an Oxford button-down isn’t part of the business casual wardrobe guide, because it is. It looks great when paired with khakis and jeans.
Whether you tuck it in or not depends on how casual your workplace is, but make sure that it’s not so short that you can’t tuck it in when a dressier look is required or when you sit down it doesn’t hit below your waistband, or so long that it looks sloppy when untucked.
Always make sure that your undershirt isn’t showing with whatever style of shirt you wear—check to make sure your fabric is thick enough to keep it from being too transparent.
A good tie can also help rock your look in business casual settings, especially knit ties or grenadine ties. Bow ties make a bold statement but, when in doubt, stick with a more traditional tie if you’re trying to stay on the casual side.
A great way to enhance your style and biz casual look is by wearing accessories like a dress watch or pocket square in your blazer pocket. Cufflinks and tie bars also help set you apart from others in the workplace.
Another form of business casual clothing is “smart” casual, which may have a bit more of a stylish twist than traditional business casual. It includes trendier pieces of attire appropriate in offices with more relaxed dress codes, or even for an interview in a more informal setting.
For men, smart casual may include high quality boots, clean sneakers, sports jackets, dark jean jackets, denim button downs, belts, and more.
4. The Right Way to Dress Business Professional
Business professional is what dressing for business always used to mean. You know, traditional attire worn in conservative settings or at companies with strict dress codes. Those companies still exist, for sure, and you’ll find plenty of them in industries such as banking, law, government, and accounting.
The foundation of business professional clothing for men is this: wear a suit and tie—not just some days, but every day. And suits are a good place to begin our overview:
Business professional suits
Your suit for a formal and traditional office setting should be two-piece and either navy blue or charcoal grey, according to most style gurus. It’s OK to wear lighter shades of blue and grey during the summer months, but avoid wearing colors that are too light, especially in fall and winter.
Business professional shirts
Again, subtle shirt colors are a good fail safe—namely, solid whites, greys, and light to medium blues—are most appropriate for conservative work settings. Stripes aren’t always meant to be avoided, but subtle blue stripes work best for white shirts while white stripes are appropriate on blue shirts, you’ll want to avoid bold contrasting stripes.
Cuffs, whether traditional or French-style, are recommended, although, some experts say a man shouldn’t wear French cuffs until he’s become well-established in his workplace. We say, feel it out.
Business professional ties
Don’t forget, it’s a suit and a tie; you shouldn’t wear one without the other. Ties should feature simple, solid colors, i.e., blue, red, yellow, but stripes and other conservative patterns are OK if they’re not excessive.
You should maintain a subdued necktie color palette: avoid bright and neon yellows, reds, electric blues, etc.
Business professional shoes
The good news is that there’s a wide variety of men’s dress shoes available, from Oxfords to brogues, and so on, so you’ll have more flexibility for choosing an appropriate style than you will with ties or shirts. Your main color choices are black, brown, or burgundy.
Maintaining a professional appearance also means properly caring for your shoes. Keep them shined, conditioned, and in good shape, or you’ll end up with a sloppy look.
Business professional accessories
There are plenty of accessories from which to choose and help to rock your business professional style, including leather belts with metal buckles.
Your socks should match your pants and be pulled up high enough that no bunching is visible when you sit. Never wear no-show socks in a business professional setting.
You should also avoid wearing suspenders. There’s nothing wrong with suspenders, but wearing a belt is usually the way to go in most traditional business environments.
5. The Casual Look and How it’s Done
So, how does a man dress when he’s not in a work setting? There are thousands of casual wear options available, including the staple of a T-shirt and jeans, and there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy your casual hours while looking great and feeling comfortable.
The casual style is, in essence, relaxed and laid-back, and often blends comfort with individuality. The latter comes from mixing and matching clothing to create a unique look.
There are fewer restrictions for casual wear than there are for the business professional and business casual styles and the sky’s the limit. But if you want your casual wear to pop, then you should ditch your couch potato clothes—at least in public.
The challenge with rocking the casual look is striking a balance between being underdressed and overdressed. When in doubt, and depending on the occasion, you should lean toward the latter, although it’s totally up to you.
Something else to keep in mind is that the casual style is often heavily influenced by trends. It can be a challenge to keep up with those trends, but you can rely on several timeless clothing items that will last into the future, including the following:
Denim jeans and the casual look go hand in hand—they have for over half a century. A pair of great-fitting jeans can make a casual outfit look dressy or a dressy one toned down. Darker colors, such as black, and straight leg styles present a more polished appearance. Lighter colored jeans emanate a more laid-back look.
We’ve already mentioned polo shirts in the section on business casual, but a nice polo has plenty to offer for a man’s casual wardrobe. A polo shirt paired with jeans is an easy, tried and true piece of the casual style. Make sure the polo properly fits your body type and, if you don’t mind spending extra money, check out premium polos made of high-quality, long-lasting materials.
T-shirts, like jeans, are a mainstay of the casual look and are very versatile. Classic crew-neck cotton T-shirts in plain colors are simple but extremely effective for achieving a clean, relaxed look. As with a polo shirt, your T-shirt should fit your body type; it’s OK to wear one that’s snug against the skin, but you don’t want it to be too tight, no matter how chiseled your body may be.
A long-sleeved or short-sleeved shirt can add an extra layer and style to your casual wardrobe. A white, buttoned shirt is a classic and a great place to start. Make sure the collar looks good whether your button or unbutton it.
Wearing khakis instead of jeans is a great way to change the appearance of your casual outfit and provide a “smarter” look. Classic colors such as khaki, black, grey, and navy are easy to match with a variety of clothing.
You can make your casual look pop by wearing a lightweight jacket, such as a bomber jacket. Whatever jacket style you choose, however, it’s always nice to have one that won’t go out of style anytime soon—if ever.
A hoodie is good for casual streetwear style and can add a bit of attitude, not to mention warmth, to your appearance. Pair your hoodie with sleek pants to prevent your style from looking too sloppy.
We’ll spend some more time on footwear in a bit, but just know that you don’t want to disrupt a rocking casual style with a pair of worn-out, unattractive shoes or boots. There’s a lot to choose from in casual footwear styles, including sneakers. In case you haven’t noticed, the luxury sneaker market is bigger than ever.
Casual Quick Tips
There are plenty of other components that make up a casual style, including accessories such as watches and belts, hats, and also shorts. Here are some tips for creating a nice casual look:
- Buying a few timeless items, i.e., ones that don’t go out of style with each trend change, is an investment that you’ll never regret.
- Always consider the occasion before choosing your casual outfit. Pay attention to the social context and environment; doing so helps make choosing the right casual clothing easier.
- Neutral colors such as black, navy, white, and grey provide a good base from which to start.
- Make sure all of your clothes fit properly; it’s a fact of life (and looking good) that you should never underestimate. Baggy or too-tight clothes aren’t flattering, they just won’t cut it.
6. The Shoes Make or Break It
It’s pretty simple: shoes can make or break an outfit. You can put all kinds of time into making sure your clothing and other elements of your wardrobe look great, and then ruin it with the wrong pair of shoes.
Shoe styles come and go—the fashion sneaker look is on fire these days—but there are a few essential styles that will serve you well no matter what the occasion or era.
It’s always a good idea to have a quality pair of black Oxfords that you can wear to formal occasions. But Oxfords of a lighter color, such as tan, work well for many casual events. You can even pair them with jeans.
A good pair brogues fit many occasions and they add a nice touch of class to your style. Dark brown brogues work best for more formal occasions while lighter brogues look great in casual settings. Meanwhile, black brogues look best with a suit.
A good rule of thumb to consider when buying brogues is that the more broguing it has, the less formal it is.
White low-tops look great with black jeans and other pants, as well. They portray a casual but neat look (as long as you keep them crisp and clean), that doesn’t give the appearance of being overdressed.
Leather boots can add to your style and present a certain look the more they are worn. Find a good worn-in look, but ensure they aren’t worn-out—you don’t want your boots covered in dirt or falling apart, but a well-worn pair has its own character.
Chukkas feature a minimal rounded toe and ankle-high design with two or three eyelets. In general, the fewer the embellishments, such as extra trimming, the better for chukka boots. A pair of tan or cream suede chukkas look good with a variety of wardrobe styles, and look great with jeans, khakis, and polo shirts.
Chukka boots are casual, no doubt, but provide one step up from sneakers. You can even pair them with a sports jacket.
Loafers come in many styles, including the traditional penny loafer, and can add a nice flair to smart casual dress styles, especially in the warmer months. You can also get loafers in a variety of colors, including the more traditional brown.
7. The Humble Yet Useful Belt
A belt isn’t always a requirement in business casual settings, such as when wearing jeans, but it’s another item that kicks your style into high gear. Besides, it serves the very important function of keeping your pants from falling off.
Not all belts are created equal, however, and the type of belt you wear depends on the setting, and whether it’s formal or casual. When buying a belt, your decision includes several considerations, such as material, color, sizing, buckle, and more.
The belt’s material
The most common materials used in belt construction are leather, suede, canvas, and other wovens. Leather is the material of choice for formal settings, but all four of the materials listed here work in casual settings, including business casual.
Most belts are sold in sizes that match waist measurements. A belt’s width may vary but, when in doubt, stick to those that are an inch to an inch and a half wide because they’re the perfect midpoint between too thin and too thick.
Keep in mind how much extra belt, or “tail,” remains after you’ve fastened it. A tail that’s too long looks sloppy, especially with dress pants, and you don’t want to overdo it with casual styles, either.
A belt’s buckle helps determine how dressy or casual it is. Buckle styles include tongue buckles—most commonly found on classic leather belts—buckles that feature a flat metal or plastic plate with a hook that attaches to the front of the belt, and buckles with a sliding latch. Dress belts typically have a gold, brass, or silver finish and accessories such as cufflinks and other jewelry should fall into the same color range.
An important rule to keep in mind is that the bigger the buckle, the less formal it is.
Dressy vs. casual belts
A dress belt generally isn’t as wide as a casual belt and its width should be between 1¼” and 1⅜”. As mentioned, leather is the material of choice for dress belts and the leather finish should be a bit shinier than on casual belts. It should also consist of full-grain leather; be wary of belts that say “genuine” leather because it may not be genuine at all.
Whatever you do, don’t wear a belt with excessive decoration or patterning for formal occasions. Keep it simple, instead.
A casual belt should range in width from 1¼” to 1¾” . The most common width for belts worn with jeans is 1½”. Leather is a common material used in the construction of casual belts but suede and cotton work, as well. You’ll have more buckle options for casual belts and the buckle can be wider and more decorative than on belts designed for formal wear.
In short, a belt helps break up your wardrobe and can add a nice contrast to the color scheme of your shirt, shoes, and pants. The natural shape of a man’s body can draw attention to its waist and a belt helps add a bit of nuance to a fairly visible point of the body.
8. Quality beats quantity
A closet stuffed with clothes doesn’t necessarily make a man more stylish. If those extra clothes don’t fit properly, or reflect your personality and sense of style, then you haven’t spent your money wisely.
Buy clothes of a higher quality because, most likely, not everyone is wearing that type or brand of clothing anyway, and that will make you stand out in a really good way. Focus on finding clothes that don’t limit your options.
Let’s face it, most of us wear a pair or two of jeans more than most of the other pairs we own. The same with shirts. So, make sure the pieces you initially invest in are excellent and something you know you’ll wear a lot—then buy more pieces like them. This helps make your style more manageable and it’s easier to create a style baseline from which you can build.
9. Stick with statement pieces
A statement piece can be almost anything: a certain hairstyle, clothing, beard style, a jacket, pants of an uncommon or bold color, such as red. Consider one or two elements that always stand out. Find those statement pieces and integrate them into your style.
10. The Beard: Proper Style, Proper Maintenance
You know us—we’re all about wearing an ass-kicking beard style that reflects your own personality, sense of taste, and makes you look and feel great. We offer plenty of articles on our website that guide you along your beard journey, including on how to maintain a beard and 21 beard styles that will enhance your overall style and appearance.
We’ll also follow a common theme in this post, namely, that shape often determines the style. Specifically, your body shape affects what clothes you should wear, while your face shape helps determine the beard and hairstyles that fit you best.
Having the right tools, understanding the right trimming techniques, and practicing consistent maintenance are keys for growing a beard that suits you in every way. Your face’s basic shape is just as important, if not more.
The best beard styles for your face shapeOval face shape
Oval face shapes are round at the top and the bottom but are longer at the bottom than a round face. There’s not a lot of definition on the jawline.
If you have an oval-shaped face you can rest easy because it’s the most common shape and looks good with a variety of beard styles, especially if you keep the length consistent. Whether it’s a 5 o’clock shadow, designer stubble, or a full-on beard, it will look good on your oval face.Square face
A strong square jaw is the envy of many men (and attractive to many women), so you gents that look like Popeye shouldn’t fret too much. The downside is that a square face has more limitations regarding beard styles than some of the other face shapes.
You don’t want your beard to exaggerate a square jaw, so choose a beard style that’ll keep the chin area rounded or triangular. You can lengthen the chin with a goatee that doesn’t take away from your natural chiseled look but also focuses the eye on other parts of your face.Round face
Men with round faces have a softer jawline and a rounder hairline. If your face is rounded from the forehead to the ears and doesn’t have a pointed jawline, then you have a round face.
A common strategy for men with round faces is to choose beard styles that are shorter on the sides and longer toward the chin. That means keeping your sideburns and cheeks trimmed cleanly, while letting the chin and neck grow a little. Chinstraps, goatees, Dutch, and Garibaldi styles all look great on rounded-face men.Rectangle face
A rectangular face is longer than other shapes and pointed at the chin. Men with rectangular faces should avoid beard styles that make the chin appear more triangular or pointy, while styles that make the cheeks seem fuller are preferred because they give the impression of a slightly wider jaw. The latter helps to take attention away from the length of the face.
Like with any face shape, you shouldn’t choose a style that exaggerates the shape you have. A full beard with the bulk on the sides and trimmed up near the chin would work well.Triangular face
A triangular face is one in which the jawline is wider than the cheekbones while the cheekbones are wider than the forehead. Your aim for finding the right beard style for a triangular face is to take attention away from your prominent chin.
A beardstache is a good style, as is any style that keeps hair from becoming too thick and full on the cheeks, to avoid an unwanted impression of a wider jawbone. Don’t be afraid to rock some nice sideburns, particularly those that extend a greater distance down your face.Heart face
One of the biggest frustrations, appearance-wise, with a heart face is that it can create the look of having a weak chin. The good news is that you can offset it with a beard that’s longer on the chin and mustache because it adds volume and depth to your jawline.
Designer stubble is an effective beard style for men with heart-shaped faces because it won’t overpower their existing bone structure or make their face look too small. It’s also advisable to leave more length on the chin and mustache because it adds depth and volume to your jawline.Diamond face
A diamond face shape is wider at the cheekbones and features a narrow forehead and jawline that are, for the most part, symmetrical in width. It may be your primary goal with this face shape to keep hair off the chin, as it offsets the cheekbones and squares off your prominent chin.
You can let your beard grow wider on your cheeks and the edge of jawbone because it squares off the bottom half of your face.
If you’d like to dig a little deeper and find out which style works best with your face shape, you can take our quiz here.
The importance of beard maintenance
It’s important to make sure that your beard style suits your face shape since it’s an important part of maintaining your overall appearance. It’s key to take care of your beard so that it always looks its best.
Beard maintenance and care, when done correctly, will take your beard to another level, while exemplifying the way you want to present yourself to the world. Sloppy beard maintenance will stick out, in a bad way, and mar an otherwise impeccable look.
If nothing else, you should practice the basics of proper beard care, which includes the following:Beard oil
Beard oil should be a staple in your beard grooming arsenal. It’s a type of oil that you apply to your beard to help balance its hydration without the use of harmful chemicals. Regular washing prevents dirt and grime from building up on your beard, but it can also strip away some of the natural oils produced by the skin beneath your whiskers.
Natural beard oil that’s made with premium carrier oils, such as our collection of beard oils, gives your beard a healthy appearance and smells great. Whatever you do, avoid beard oils that contain ingredients such as silicones, sulfates, or parabens that can damage facial hair, irritate the skin, and prevent hair follicles from getting the nutrients they need.
It’s best to apply beard oil once a day, usually after you shower, and the number of drops you apply depends on the thickness and length of your beard.
Utility balm and other beard balms serve as a leave-in conditioner that helps give your beard a healthy, softer appearance while making it easier to style. Like beard oil, balm helps to keep your beard hydrated. You can use balm in place of beard oil if you have thick or coarse hair, or on days where you need more moisturization, it will all depend on your beard, but both will treat your beard right and help condition your beard and the skin underneath.Beard wash
Don’t use the same shampoo you use on your head to clean your beard. For one, beard hair has a coarser structure than scalp hair, for another, many shampoos contain detergents that clean hair but can also leave it dry and brittle which is extra harsh on the skin underneath your beard.
A specially formulated beard wash with natural ingredients will work with your body’s chemistry so that it’s gentle enough for regular use but still strong enough to keep your beard clean and fresh.
Beard softener is another excellent product that enhances your beard’s health and appearance. Softener is a close cousin to the conditioner you use on your hair and hydrates your whiskers and the skin underneath. Our softener is silicone-, paraben-, and sulfate-free and gentler on your beard than products made for your head hair.Styling balm
It isn’t always easy to get a beard to lie perfectly in place. Some men come by it naturally, but many others have to deal with a beard that flips up in places or has a wave that seems out of place. For those men, styling balm is an invaluable tool for keeping their beard always looking its best.
Our balm provides a flexible, medium hold that will last all day, and you don’t need to use a ton of it to achieve the best results.Tools
Beard tools include beard and mustache combs, brushes, and scissors. If you want your beard to look and feel awesome, then you should invest in the highest quality tools.
For combs, that means never exposing your beard to a plastic comb you grab from the supermarket or pharmacy shelf to save a few bucks.
Cellulose acetate combs are a much better alternative than plastic and feature rounded teeth that are gentle on beard hair. Cheap plastic combs can pull and even break off your hairs. A quality beard comb has differently spaced teeth to help the comb glide through your beard or head hair, and it also helps to spread oil and balm evenly throughout the beard.
A boar’s hair bristle brush is another must-have tool for beard care. The bristles consist of boar’s hair, which is much more effective and gentle on your beard than traditional plastic bristles. The bristles’ scaled texture works effectively to sweep away dust and grime while evenly distributing your skin’s natural oils.
Daily brushing helps to soften facial hair while adding volume to your beard. Be careful not to brush your beard too frequently or rigorously because doing so can cause split ends and other damage, and undo some of the hard work you’ve put into growing it. That’s especially true for shorter beards; wait until it has a decent amount of thickness before you brush it regularly.
A good pair of beard scissors will make trimming and shaping your beard easier. They’re excellent for trimming back stray hairs, or to create a more even look.SHOP THE BEST IN BEARD CARE
11. The importance of your hairstyle to overall style
If you want to up your game style-wise you should go for a hairstyle that suits your look. After all, if you’re not putting in the extra time to find a hairstyle or beard style that fits your personality and tastes, then you’re just going to blur your now well-curated clothing wardrobe and blend in with the other guys.
Find a hairstyle that works and take the time every morning to make it look good—invest time in yourself to boost your confidence. The best way to do that for most hairstyles with length is by using a hairdryer; it makes your hairstyle look like it has volume, and gives it a nice finish.
A good haircut is a big part of achieving and maintaining a style that helps set you apart from everyone else. Deciding what style of haircut suits you best is an important decision, and one you should consider making with the help of a professional barber.
Before choosing a hairstyle, you need to consider your face shape, just like you do for your beard style. A one-size-fits-all mentality doesn’t work for hairstyles, or any other fashion and style-related components, and determining your face shape is the first step in determining what hairstyle you should choose.
The best hair styles for your face shape
Men’s faces can take many shapes: oval, square, round, oblong, triangle, and diamond, as discussed in the section above about beard styles.Oval
One of the most common characteristics of an oval face is a lack of definition, or sharpness, along your chin, cheeks, and forehead. Your forehead is wider than your jaw, your face is longer than your cheekbones, and your head shape is curved without sharp corners.
Haircut styles for an oval face – Men with oval faces should consider haircuts that are short on the sides and long on the top. These types of styles help to lengthen and balance the appearance of an oval face’s features. Appropriate styles include the quiff, pompadour, and brush back, along with many other short to medium-length hair styles.Square
A square face is generally sharp and masculine. If you have a square face shape, you have a wide, square jaw and wide cheekbones. The square shape, because of its symmetric qualities, is often considered attractive.
Haircut styles for a square face – A couple of ways to enhance the features of your square face are to keep your sideburns short and your hair faded high. A textured pompadour is a good option for men with square face shapes, as is the classic side part. But appropriate hairstyles can range from a buzz cut or crew cut, to longer styles, such as a quiff and slick back.Round
A round face shape isn’t as “long” as an oval shape and shares some of the characteristics of a square shape, believe it or not. But it doesn’t have the angular dimensions and sharp edges of a square face, including a well-defined jawline. Instead, the round shape is pretty equal regarding its width and length.
Haircut styles for a round face – Round faces work well with haircuts that add height to the top of the head while also defining the jawline and emphasizing the cheekbones. Spiky hair and faux hawks are edgier options for round face hairstyles, while pompadours, quiffs, and slicked-back haircuts also add height. Side-parted styles work well, too.Oblong
The oblong face is a longer version of the square face shape and is sometimes referred to as a rectangular shape. It has a proportioned, balanced look. All of its features—jawline, chin, cheekbones, and forehead—are even, but the overall shape is long and narrow rather than short and wide. One of the nice things about having an oblong face shape is that it suits a wide variety of hairstyles.
Haircut styles for oblong faces – Really short hairstyles, such as crew cuts or buzz cuts are an easy, low-maintenance route to take for men with oblong faces. If you don’t want to sacrifice length, however, you may want to consider a fade, side part, undercut, and a slicked-back style. But medium-length hairstyles generally don’t work as well for men with oblong faces, particularly those that create volume and height on the top of the head.Triangle
A predominant feature of a triangle shape is that it’s heavily weighted to the bottom of the face. The jawline is wider than the cheekbones and the overall shape has more angular and sharp features.
Haircut styles for triangular faces – A hairstyle that’s short on the sides and longer on top works well for men with the triangular face shape. That means low fades and tapered cuts look good because they create the appearance of a wider temple. Another good choice is any style that’s versatile and gives some extra volume to the top of the head, including side parts, comb overs, short pompadours, and quiffs.Diamond
The diamond face shape has a chiseled jawline and is long and angular with a pointy chin and high, wide cheekbones.
Haircut style for diamond faces – You can put the pedal to the metal with a diamond shape, so to speak, because full hairstyles of high volume match your cheekbones while softening your jawline. Textured hairstyles, such as the faux hawk, brush up, longer slick backs, and a comb-over fade also works well, as does the messy fringe.What makes for a perfect hair cut?
There are a lot of factors that go into getting the perfect haircut. The right haircut, as mentioned in the face shapes above, can add focus to your best features while minimizing those that are less desirable. For example, if you have dark hair and blue eyes, a tight haircut can make your eyes stand out even more.
It’s important to understand your face shape, facial features, and lifestyle before you visit your favorite barber or stylist. Working together with a professional hair stylist or barber, who has all of the above knowledge and more, will help you get the right haircut for you. You’ll have plenty of options from which to choose, and don’t hesitate to ask questions.
Something else to keep in mind is how much time you have to spend, or want to invest in, styling your hair. While it’s always worth the extra effort, you may not have a lot of time to spare before heading out the front door to face a new day. If so, it may be best to opt for a low-maintenance haircut.
You also need to consider your profession. While workplace rules regarding dress, hairstyle, and beard style may be more relaxed these days, many companies still have conservative rules to which you must adhere.
Don’t be afraid to mix things up regarding your hairstyle. Some men have worn the same style they wore in high school for years and it’s easy to get stuck in a rut. But if you’ve had the same haircut for several years, it may be a good time to try a different style. After all, women often change their hairstyle often because they know it’s a relatively easy way to change their overall look.
As we point out in this video, it’s also important to make frequent trips to the barber, especially if you’ve changed to a new hairstyle. You may want to go every two weeks at the start to touch it up and maintain its shape, or at least once every three weeks.
12. Exercise and Eating Right to Stay Healthy—and to Look Your Best
Unless your mailing address is a cave on an otherwise uninhabited island, you’ve heard about the importance of exercise and eating right. There are so many benefits of regular exercise and proper diet, including that you’ll look good and your clothes will fit better, which enhances your overall style. When your body feels good, it’s pretty easy to look stylish.
Some things to consider regarding exercise and diet include:
Being overweight hurts your health
There’s no arguing with the research—being overweight puts you at a greater risk of coronary heart disease, diabetes (particularly type 2 diabetes), high blood pressure, stroke, and even some types of cancer such a kidney cancer.
Meanwhile, maintaining the proper weight while exercising and eating healthy helps to improve your mood and energy levels, increases your overall fitness and strength, and improves muscle tone and strength.
Ways to improve your diet
One of the best ways to improve your diet is by changing things gradually instead of doing a complete overhaul all at once. Gradual changes include skipping the cream and sugar in your coffee, drinking plenty of water, and giving up processed meats and other processed foods.
While many men think that a healthy diet is a restrictive one, it actually should include a variety of foods, including whole grains, vegetables, fruits, lean meats and seafood, and dairy products.
Portion control is another important aspect of a healthy diet. Not only should you pay attention to what you eat, but also to how much you eat. Check out the serving sizes listed on food labels—for instance, a loaf of bread may have nutritional information for one slice of bread only. You’ll need to adjust the number of calories and amount of fat for every additional slice that you consume.
You should always ask yourself if you’re still actually hungry before you reach for more. Eating from a smaller plate and eating slowly can help you have more control over how much you eat.
Another good tactic is to focus on short-term and long-term goals regarding your diet. A short-term goal may include replacing soda with water for a week, while a long-term goal may include running or jogging three times a week to prepare for a fun run or charity walk.
Ways to get fit
Some men feel that starting an exercise program is daunting, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Once you start working out, the key is to stick with it consistently, which is often harder than starting in the first place.
One of the key elements of beginning an exercise regimen is to start at an activity level that feels doable. Taking a “too much, too soon” approach may discourage you from carrying on. Instead, gradually increase the frequency, time, and intensity of your workouts.
Work toward reaching your goal, whether it’s exercising for 45 minutes a day or 90, and also understand that everyday activities such as outdoor chores and walking up stairs burn calories. You can even break 30-minutes of walking into three 10-minute sessions. Do it in whatever format will encourage you the most to meet your goals.
Another way to stay on track is to mix up your routine with different exercises and activities so you don’t become bored with doing the same workout for months on end. You can also chart your progress, both for eating and exercise, by keeping a daily journal or by using one of the many nutrition and physical activity trackers available online.Conclusion
Defining what constitutes the right style for you depends on a lot of factors. But whether you’re dressing for work, a formal occasion, or a casual night out with friends and family, you have plenty of choices for building your wardrobe.
We’d love to hear from you. What types and styles of clothing do you wear? What items do you think make your style really rock? We always welcome your comments and suggestions.
Do you know what type of beardsman you are? Take the quiz to find out if you’re the rarest type and get an exclusive offer on a Beardbrand Beard Oil Starter Kit. You’ll also get ongoing beard advice sent to your inbox weekly.