With men’s fashion beginning to become just as important, relevant and lucrative as women’s fashion has been for the past 50 years, it’s easy for a lot of us to get left behind or simply just not know where to start. It’s also easy to want to stick with what you know or simply buy whatever is on trend right now and hope for the best. However that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the right way to go about things. More often than not, men keep bad habits they have picked up and continue to apply them to every new purchase they make… But this is where I come in! If you’re a true fashion newbie or even an already budding sartorialist I’ll break down where to start when it comes to the world of men’s fashion and how to build a diverse wardrobe for any occasion without making the mistakes that so many of us often do.

Editor Note: This is the first article by Matt and I have asked him to concentrate on really basic fashion tips. This might mean what to look for in a good fit, basic items that every man has in their wardrobe and ideas about how to use them, amongst other things. Some readers who come here have been contacting us asking for this information as they are true beginners just starting out. These articles may not be suitable for everyone, and you may find the information redundant for those who have a good grasp of fashion and style. We are trying on the whole to appeal to everyone though, hence us now having a team of writers.

For the beginners, this is going to be the start of your journey into becoming a more well rounded and stylish individual. We have also set-up a new category called “Men’s Fashion Basics” (see top of article for link) where you will find a new article every week or fortnight. We hope you enjoy! Thanks, Ben

It’s All About The Fit

But before we start talking about clothes lets cover something that most guys either do really well or really badly; the way clothes fit them. Whether it’s your suit, your tees, your shirts or even your jeans, the way they fit on you is the difference between looking like you stole your clothes from the shop or looking like you actually know what you’re doing.

We all know the kind of guy I’m talking about. The one who looks like he’s borrowed his clothes from his dad. Or the one who looks like his shrunk in the wash. Because after all it’s not just bigger guys that have this problem, even thin guys can suffer from ‘paint on’ jeans syndrome.

But how can you tell if your clothes don’t fit you right? Well, hopefully in extreme cases you’ll know when it looks like you’re wearing a tent. However, here are a few quick pointers on what to look for in some of your clothes: –

  • Shirts – stretch marks around the buttons or the chest, billowing of fabrics around your sides and waist (it should be a straight line from your armpit downwards), cuffs should end at the dip in your wrist where your thumb begins.
  • Jeans (Waist Size) - Jeans are really hard to find the perfect fit. It is all about body type and your personal preference. Some people like a really skinny fit because it is part of their “look” whilst other’s like the comfort fit look. However your waist should always fit, meaning that the jeans should sit around your waist perfectly with just a little give (to pull them on or off easily), and you should only need a few notches tightening on your belt. You can oversize jeans in order to give you that looser effect, but it should never be up more than one waist size as you will cause an effect where you have to tie your belt so tight that it clumps the top of your jeans together and causes the material to fold and just look untidy. If in doubt as a beginner then I would recommend a straight leg or slim fit pair of jeans as they are very versatile and can be worn with multiple footwear.
  • Jeans (leg length) – The other key tip to finding a perfect pair of jeans is leg length. Most designer’s will do 3 leg lengths – short, regular and long – dependant on your height and you need to get this right. Your jeans hem should always sit on top of your trainers or shoes with a slight break at the bottom. The way I like to measure is without footwear on and have the jeans reach just above my heel. Then when you put your footwear on there will be a slight break of the fabric that is long enough to cover all of your socks (no Michael Jackson look here) without having clumping excess material all bunched up at the bottom – again this looks untidy and messy.
  • T-shirts - The big one here is if you raise your arms above your head or outwards ‘Vitruvian Man’ style there’s more than half an inch of your stomach peeping out. Or the material starts bunching and creasing in awkward places i.e. other than where your joints are.

These are really basic tips for all beginners to abide by in the first instance. In the future we will go into oversizing, as well as using different types of fit to create different looks. Sometimes you may want slightly shorter jeans/trousers or larger, looser knitwear – these are advanced techniques that all deserve their own articles.

Good Fit Examples

The above should show you how standard clothes should fit. They all follow the lines of the body whilst not being “too” tight, they are fitted and look tailored to each person’s body. I included Beckham in here to show you that you can wear comfort fit jeans whilst still having them fit correctly. His waist has no folds or excess material, but it still has a relaxed leg. Let the jeans do the work for you with their specific cut, do not force it by messing around with the size you normally wear. The main image at the very top of this article also shows a tailored fit in 3 celebrities which is sharp, has clean lines and fitted without looking tight enough that they couldn’t move normally.

Bad Fit Examples

This really does show some extreme examples of how clothes should not fit. Whether it is a shirt with too much excess fabric, a jacket that looks like a big square (no body shape) or trousers/jeans that have way too much length, you should not aim to copy any of these looks. If this looks familiar to any of you reading this, then please follow the advice below.

Advice

My advice on how to rectify this is so simple. Firstly, after realising that certain items of clothing fit the criminal profile I’ve just described, CHUCK THEM OUT! Give them to a charity, a friend or even someone on the street. I really don’t care just as long as they are out of your wardrobe. Then, if looking inside it strikes you how gutted and hollow your wardrobe now looks, then go and buy some more clothes but this time in an athletic fit. And that really is the key here. By athletic fit I mean just touching on your body and that goes for anything you’re going to buy. This means that regardless of your size and shape or what’s in or out at the moment, your purchases will still retain a tailored aspect and leave you room for movement and growth. If failing that and you’re viewing this as a good chance to build up a great basic wardrobe with plenty of variety and versatility then keep tuning in to these articles every week and I’ll take you through the basics one step at a time until you’ve rebuilt yourself like the fashionable Billion Dollar Man you were meant to be.

Until next week,
Matt Allinson

What I’m Wearing Today – Mid-blue raw denim jeans, white v-neck tee, Adidas Stan Smiths with matching white belt and a navy blazer