It’s that special time of year where we get the day off of work. We light the fireworks, sit by the pool and grill up the meat. It’s also the one day of the year you’re allowed to dress like a Tommy Hilfiger ad and get away with it. So bust out those Madras shorts and v-neck sweaters, pop that collar and embrace your inner-douche. You deserve it.
Everyday Standards – Below the Waist Accessories
Here’s my quick cheat sheet of things you need to know when it comes to proper daily fashion. What to wear when and why it’s important to follow those rules. And, unless you’re David Beckman, which you aint, you should follow the rules.
Shoes and Belts:
Match your belt with your shoes. Black shoes, black belt. Brown shoes, brown belt. There is no exception and no leniency in mixing the two. I will hit you in the face if I see brown shoes with a black belt.
Wearing Navy – Wear brown shoes and belt. Never black with Navy.
Wearing Black – Wear black.
Wearing Khaki – You should wear brown but if you must, you can rock black as long as your top half has darker colors. If you wear black shoes try for a darker Khaki. Match your belt regardless.
In this day in time it’s OK to wear sneakers in and out of the office. The key is to select kicks that show your personality and work well with your outfit. They can dress down a serious outfit or make a simple ensemble pop.
You can pull off a cool pair of sneakers with anything as long as the overall color matches the rest of the outfit.
Keep them clean! That pair of New Balance you’ve had to 4 years doesn’t look good. Stop wearing them. Buy some sneaker care products like leather spray. Treat your shoes before you wear them and clean them every few walks around the block.
Spend some time selecting shoes. Look online, hit up some sneaker stores. Don’t be afraid of the classic Adidas or Puma. They still look dope and people might think you’re cooler then you are.
MATCH YOUR SOCKS!
Wear black with black and navy with navy. You can throw in some crazy patterns from time to time, that’s totally cool. But again, make sure that the primary colors of the sock match the outfit.
It’s never, ever, ever OK to wear white athletic socks under pants or shorts for that matter. In fact, you you shouldn't own socks that go above the ankle bone. I’m going to say it now, if you wear white tube socks to work, you’re an idiot and I have little respect for you.
In a business setting, you should never see any skin when you cross your legs. If you do, get taller socks or longer pants.
The exception to the skin rule is if you are wearing shoes with no socks. This is reserved for summer months only, which generally carries a more casual atmosphere.
Socks with sandals? Please leave this blog because you suck and you're wasting my bandwidth.
You can't wear mandals. Never. They are done. They're not even "gay" as an insult. Think of mandals like Zima. They were cool for a summer in high school before you knew better. Now it's a joke to everyone and you should know better.
Today’s lesson might be as important as the first. Unless you are having clothes created specifically for you, they won’t be made for you. That sounds simple and kind of stupid but it’s very much the case.
There is nothing better than getting a skilled tailor to take a swing at your clothes to make sure what you roll out in actually fits.
When you purchase a shirt, a pair of pants, a suit or whatever, it was designed around a set of parameters and rules that are not specific to you. The garment might fit perfectly in places but chances are it’s off on quite a few others.
A few rules of tailoring:
The crazy Asian tailor you undoubtedly have on your street is perfect for quick jobs like hemming a pair of jeans or taking in the waist. They are fast, cheap and reliable however you might what to look to someone else for your big jobs such as fitting a shirt, a sport coat or suit.
You will pay more for the expertise and more then likely wait longer but it will be completely worth it. Most cities have a “best of” section each year. Find the listing for best tailor and go see that guy. If it looks like a chop shop it might be, move on. If it’s a chain, move on. If it’s a really old guy that seems pissed off and doesn’t speak very good English, well that’s your guy. He’s been doing that job his whole life and he’s really good at it.
While shopping keep in mind, a tailor can’t add fabric to the garment. If the shirt fits in the shoulders and chest but the sleeves are a little too short, move up a size. The sleeves being long enough is a key part because you can and should have the shirt taken in at the shoulders and the back.
Most men buy a shirt to fit a certain way and ignore the places where it doesn’t. This generally looks sloppy and will bring down the overall look.
You might ask “I just spent $80 on this shirt why do you have to spend even more to get it right? It’s just the way it is! Until you are ready for the next step, which is custom clothes, then sack up and spend the money. It will last you longer, look better and pay for it’s self in time. A shirt that’s too big only gets bigger and things that are too small, well, no one likes to see that.
Here’s a link to a great step-by-step breakdown, with pictures! It’s a solid walk through of how a shirt should fit.
Fit that shirt
One of my favorite tag lines for a brand was "Look better naked". David Barton Gyms in NYC, a brand I’ve been lucky enough to work with touted this line all over the city for its advertising campaign. Scantly clad fitness models in sweaty positions with that tag line at the bottom of the image made me and many other New Yorkers want to go to the gym.
The line could have just as easily said “Look better in your clothes” and been just as compelling.
That's our first lesson and the first step in a long process of looking like you have style: Get your ass in shape!
It’s a simple fact that can’t be denied. If you are not fat you will look better in clothes. I'm not saying you need to be cut like David Beckham you just don't need the extra 10 or 20lbs sitting around you waist.
My father had good advice for me long ago. Now, by no means is my father a fashion plate and some times I question his sartorial decisions but he always hounded me to stay trim. “Your clothes will fit better and people will respect you more because you look like you have your shit together”.
He’s completely right.
Unless you have a lot of money to get all your clothes custom made for your fat ass, which I’m assuming you don’t then hit the gym.
The clothes you strive to wear are not meant for someone that has a 40 inch waste or requires a XXL shirt. Shit, XL is pushing it most of the time. Take a good look at models. Those dudes are really skinny and though I don’t really want to be built like one of those guys, they are the ones that look best in the clothes. Diesel doesn’t think about the guy that’s 5’10” and weighs 220lbs when they design a line.
Three simple chubby rules to live by:
Pants shouldn't pull at the pockets - If they do they're too small or not the right cut for you, move on to the next pair.
Shirts shouldn't pull at the buttons - Any of the buttons! If they pull at the top, the shirt's too small. Pull at the middle, it's too small. Loose weight or find a shirt that fits.
You should be able to see your belt - If a shirt blouses out over the belt or your gut pushes the shirt over the belt, they are both too big.
If all else fails please see the next lesson. "Get yo shit tailored"
I've been asked by a bunch of my friends on numerous occasions about fashion. What's cool, what's not? How can certain things be worn and "do I look wack?" I figure, why not just write about my opinions and put my thoughts out there.
I'm a huge fan of fashion and where I don't consider myself a fashionista or anything, I do know more about it then most people. And I know more because I simply pay attention to what looks good and what doesn't. I read a number of Blogs that talk about style and have an admitted man crush on Tom Ford.
I’m an account manager at an interactive ad agency in Dallas, Texas where I also grew up. So far I’ve spent the majority of professional career in New York City and only recently relocated back to Big D. NYC really opened my eyes to fashion/style and how things truly can become a reality if you just stick to your guns and follow your own path. We’ll get more into that in future posts.
I’m a normal dude. I’m under 30 and don’t make a million dollars a year. I was a college athlete so I’m built pretty well. And by “built pretty well” I mean I can’t fit (sadly) into many European designers like Paul Smith and Etro. My shoulders are too big and my chest sticks out too far, just like many of my friends and clearly a lot of other Americans.
I drink beer, love watching sports and eating chicken wings... I've been chauffeured in the back of a Maybach by the Ritz Carlton's personal driver in NYC. I've eaten at the nicest and best restaurants all over this country and yes, I've had the $55 truffle Mac n' Cheese at the Waverly Inn. I’m not “fancy” but I appreciate the finer things. I hope my posts bring insight and ideas to the everyman that shares my station in life. That’s all I can say. I’m not a professional style guru, I didn’t go to school for this. It’s just my opinion and love of style that people seem to appreciate and I hope you appreciate it as well. Maybe you’ll even learn something.