We are slowly starting to see a rise in men paying attention to their appearance, carefully selecting what they are going to wear each day. The days of lazy styling are coming to an end for most but we are still seeing simple mistakes being made. You tend to know what you are going to wear each day, but neglecting some basics can leave your style looking sloppy.
Today at FashionBeans, we will be looking at ways to add elegance to our looks by paying attention to the simplest of details.
When we talk about adding elegance, we’re not asking you to disregard casual looks and dress in a suit every day. Casual looks are fine as long as they look stylish, and don’t become careless and/or effortless. Showing you have paid care and consideration to what you’re wearing each day is one of the prerequisites when it comes to having true style or being regarded as a well dressed male. Adding a touch of elegance to an outfit and paying attention to the finest details can really enhance ANY look – whether it is casual or formal.
So what are the simplest ways to add elegance?
I hate to admit it, but accessorising is something women do a lot better than us. They know the importance of spending that extra amount of time accessorising a look. They add accessories for a multitude of reasons; to subtly reinforce the theme/look they are going for, to show some individuality or personality, to add focal points and intrigue to sections of their outfit, to tie together the top and bottom half, or simply to enhance sections that need it – the list is endless.
Men on the other hand seem to fall short when it comes to accessorising – only wearing the bare necessities such as underwear, a belt, socks and carrying a decent wallet. A belt shouldn’t be used just to “hold up your trousers” and socks shouldn’t be used to just “keep your feet warm” – everything you wear should compliment you, and should add to the overall style of your look.
Men’s accessories give us the freedom to add detailing to our looks, and add simple touches of elegance. If you’ve got a pocket, aim to utilise it by adding a delicate touch with a pocket square. If you’re wearing socks, don’t be afraid to show them off by slightly turning up your trousers. If you’ve got things to carry, don’t stuff your pockets – get yourself a decent holdall or satchel which is functional, stylish and will give your outfit those clean and elegant lines we are aiming for. So much effort can be put into what you’re wearing for an occasion, but it can easily be ruined by something as simple as stuffing your pockets with your wallet, phone, freshen ups and diary.
Here are some photos for inspiration of guys going that extra length, and wearing accessories elegantly:
With the arrival of autumn/winter, it gives us men more opportunities to refine our looks through the use of accessories. In spring/summer you can be forgiven for forgoing the scarves, gloves, hats etc. as the weather can make them unbearable at times. However, as we enter the colder months, what accessories can we use to add that dash of elegance that is the hallmark of a well turned out gentleman and well dressed male? Here are a few key suggestions:
- Gloves: These are something you will get continued use out of each and every year. They are practical and can add a touch of sophistication to any look – casual or formal. Of course, leather is timeless, will provide longevity and smarten up any outfit. You can pair leather gloves with formal items such as suits and blazers, or with your more casual leather/quilted/waxed jackets and they will look just as great each and every time. Also keep your eye out for other unconventional materials that still give off that refined aesthetic – suede or leather/canvas mix gloves are both options for those wanting some individuality.
- Scarves: These have always been a great accessory that can be added to both formal or casual outfits in order to add an injection of life or flair. Lightweight silk scarves are typically the choice of the gentleman, who will drape it elegantly around their neck as the finishing touch to a well put together look. Patterns or bold colours can be used if you need to give your monochrome outfits a shot of colour, or you can go the other way and neutralise bold clothing with a plain dark scarf.
- Cravats/Neckerchiefs: The neckerchief is an item that certainly rose in popularity this year during the spring/summer seasons. It adds some bohemian chic to any look, and can be utilised with a plain casual t-shirt just as easily as with a formal shirt. The cravat is typically a formal addition but works in much the same way – the dash of elegance and quirkiness it represents makes it a worthwhile addition to your wardrobe and a great finishing touch when you don’t want to utilise a tie.
- Hats: Headwear can become a trademark and define your look if you pick one that suits your personal style and face shape. Typical elegant hats include the bowler, fedora, flat cap and trilby. If you purchase a high quality wool or felt version in a timeless colour such as black, grey or brown, then you are sure to get continued use out of it within both your formal or smart-casual outfits. Please remember to remove hats when inside, as these small touches of personal etiquette also add that gentlemanly elegance to your overall nature and conduct.
Further essential reading regarding gentleman’s accessories:
- A FashionBeans Guide To: Men’s Bags
- Men’s Neckerchiefs Trend
- Fashionbeans Guide To Hats: Trilbys & Fedoras
- Five Essential Accessories for Autumn/Winter 2011
- Men’s Fashion Basics – Part 33 – Ties & Pocket Squares
- Men’s Fashion Basics – Part 34 – The Art of Wearing a Bow Tie
- Men’s Fashion Basics – Part 31 – Belts & Braces
- Men’s Fashion Basics – Part 29 – Socks
Importance Of Quality
Finally, don’t neglect quality when it comes to accessories. You should be willing to invest in your accessories just like you would your clothing. You probably wouldn’t hesitate spending £200+ on a high quality piece of outerwear each autumn/winter but I have seen many men purchasing low quality, cheap looking accessories to finish off their looks. In the end you would be better off not wearing ANY accessories at all, because they can actually downgrade your look and stick out like a soar thumb in comparison to that beautifully tailored suit you purchased or that amazing wool overcoat you have on.
With this in mind, take into consideration your materials. If you are purchasing a formal scarf or cravat then look for classic silk versions; if you are purchasing an umbrella then look for high quality wooden handles; with bags and gloves you should be looking at real leather that will get better and better with age; even with items such as headwear, a high quality wool or tweed flat cap will look much better than its cheaply made counterparts. In the end your accessories should be defining your looks on a daily basis, so you are going to be getting extended use out of them. Therefore it is wise to spend money on items that look of high quality and will LAST.
Carefully Picked Accessories
Of course, we understand that not everyone can afford to splash out lavishly on their wardrobe. The key here is to look for items that look of much higher quality than their price reveals. We have carefully selected a plethora of accessories below from a multitude of price ranges and they all have that sought after detailing, texture or refined styling you need in order to add some elegance to your outfits.
Fit & Fabric
Fit is something which is extremely important. Of course, if you are a loyal reader of FashionBeans you will already know how often we stress the importance of great fit. Unfortunately, with the increasing responsibilities and commitments the modern man faces, most have less time to try things on – combine that with the increase of online purchasing, and it makes it very easy to buy something that isn’t the PERFECT fit. Many will purchase what they think is their size online and then when it doesn’t fit perfectly they “can’t be bothered to return it” – it will do, so to speak.
You will enhance your style dramatically by paying just that little bit more time on ensuring what you are wearing is the right fit. For those that have never had this epiphany, you are probably still wearing the wrong size. Going up or down a size can produce a completely different look – a medium may produce quite a loose fitting shirt, giving more of a relaxed and casual feel, where as a small could produce more of a slim fit, giving more off a tailored, elegant feel. It’s that extremely thin line that can define your style, and it really is important to spend that extra bit of time considering the finer details whenever you dress.
Fabric is another area we should be looking to pay attention to. Taking inspiration from the Heritage trend, combining a variety of textures into one look can be extremely effective. We have already broken down 8 key textures for this autumn/winter in great detail but it is worth remembering that something as simple as layering a cable knit jumper into your outfit can add another texture and depth to a look, whilst opting for a tweed or corduroy blazer rather than a typical cotton version can a whole new element to an existing outfit. Combining fabric and textures can surprisingly add a lot more to the overall style of a look than you first think.
Like with accessories, investing in a variety of superior materials will also help give your look the polish and quality that you desire – enabling you to really look and feel like a million dollars. Spending the time and money necessary to purchase garments in materials like tweed, cashmere, hand spun wool, high quality soft leather etc. will bring ANY item and therefore your outfits up a notch instantly.
Here are some photos to take inspiration from:
Carefully Picked Clothing
From The Forums
This is a topic that we are currently discussing on the forums, and many of the community have really hit the nail on head. Here are some opinions from our readers:
“I do think the fine details count overall. To be honest, we tend to judge others on their fine details. To me, a nice watch exudes class when worn with complementary clothes. I also like to pay attention to socks. I always wear vibrant socks. It just exhibits confidence.”
“I always wear one or two-button suits – the bottom button is never done up on a two-button suit and I ALWAYS button the suit when I stand up and unbutton as I sit down. Having a beautifully tailored suit and not doing the buttons up is like having your hair styled and then wearing a hat – a complete waste of time.
The tie has to be done in a perfect Half-Windsor (the full Windsor is too much for a narrow tie) with semi cut-away shirt collars and the shirt must be fitted (most shirts need taking in at the sides).”
“Cuff buttons on suit jackets aren’t there for a purpose of any sort so lesser tailors and brands often have totally decorative ones, with no buttonholes. If your cuff buttons are functional, leaving the button nearest your wrist undone is traditionally the mark of a good tailor and shows that you’re a man who cares about the details.”
Spending extra time on the finer details, and taking note of simple ways to add elegance can really enhance your overall style. Paying attention to what you are wearing each day is a great habit to get into, but don’t let things slack by not paying attention to the additional considerations of a well dressed male. Here’s a video of the genius that is Paul Smith touching on ways to add interesting touches to men’s attire:
So now it is your turn:
- Do you pay attention to detailing?
- Or are we being too much of a perfectionist, heading quickly towards an OCD problem?
- Do you accessorise a look, or just wear the basic accessories, which are functional?
- Have you any other key advice/pointers that you abide by that you can share?
Let us know in the comments below!