At the turn of the year, I put forward three new year’s style resolutions that would immediately give your sartorial skills a boost. Embedded into this article was a small section on learning the simple style rules in an effort to prep up your image with no cost necessary. It is these rules – and the subsequent mistakes which occur when they are relaxed – that I’m going to focus on today.
I’ve left out the incredibly obvious – poorly fitted, stained, un-ironed clothing – as hopefully we’re all aware of these major style sins.
So without further ado, let’s kick start proceedings with number one in our wardrobe refresh…
The Mistake: Misbuttoning
The law of logic suggests that buttons exist for a reason, and that the number of buttons a piece has should be a fair indicator as to how many should be done up. Logic is, however, misleading more men than I care to count. With the exception of shirts, the occasional polo and of course trousers, at least one button should be left undone at all times.
The chief offender in all of this is the blazer or suit jacket. Although cardigans, waistcoats and a select few jackets are also notable causalities.
The misbuttoning mistake is, sadly, all too common in menswear and everyday evidence suggests that the population could do with a little educating on the matter.
There is no particular reason for the button rule; except for that it is just the accepted manner of how to wear the garments in question. We all understand that to be seated, a jacket must be first undone to avoid unsightly bunch.
The rule is said to have originated from King Edward VII, who was rumoured to be so heavy that he simply couldn’t get the bottom button of his waistcoat done up. His subjects took this as a fashion statement and, as somewhat of a style icon, followed his lead.
The buttoning rule is not the only thing we have to thank HRH for, as he also popularised a FashionBeans’ favourite – the tweed jacket – alongside black ties and the traditional Sunday roast.
In a nutshell, the solution is to leave the bottom button of the article of clothing you are wearing undone. This means for a two-button jacket, you fasten only the top button. A three button should be limited to either the middle or top two buttons, unless the lapels have been designed to roll to the middle fastening. In which case, to avoid the garment looking stretched, only button the middle.
If you’re venturing into fabled four-button territory, then leave only the bottom button undone. If you’re hitting for five or six then I’m afraid the games up and neither this nor any other style advice could help you pull it off.
For waistcoats, cardigans and the like, follow the basic rule of solely leaving the bottom button undone. Complications arise when you start bringing double-breasted attire into the mix. In this case, it is both acceptable to leave or do up the bottom fastening.
Last but not least, it is crucial that you remember: when wearing a blazer, unfasten before you sit and button once you’re standing. This makes the jacket much more flattering and far less sloppy.
As you will see below, the industry strictly adheres to this rule. All the campaigns and lookbook produced which feature tailoring will always leave the bottom button undone:
The Mistake: Sock Faux Pas
It’s often said that the devil is in the detail and this is no truer than when it comes to fashion and style. While the more forefront accessories like pocket squares, ties, jewellery etc. have had that extra bit of attention lately, socks have occasionally been neglected and faux pas have been left to rule the day.
There are a number of style rules when it comes to lining your feet:
- White gym socks should be confined to the gym, or the bin.
- If we can see flesh over the top of your socks then they are too short, yes this includes when you’re sitting, or wearing trainer socks – unless you are engaging in some sort of physical activity in which case it’ll slide.
- Keep your socks as short as possible when it comes to wearing them with shorts, no-show or invisible socks are the perfect ticket here, a visible sock line can easily throw an otherwise great look.
- Novelty socks? Take the ‘velty’ away and there’s your answer.
- This last one isn’t so much of a style rule but a lifestyle one. When it comes to socks in the sack, do you partner a favour and remove them; it looks a little bit ridiculous.
As mentioned above, a poorly positioned glimpse of a white or Homer Simpson sock can ruin an otherwise well-articulated look. Sock faux pas not only possess the innate ability to ruin a good outfit but also present an often missed opportunity to stamp some individuality and flair on your attire.
Solving your sock problems is as simple as learning the rules and sorting out your sock draw. Invisible (no-show) socks are a fantastic investment when perfecting the art of going sockless. Coloured or patterned (not novelty) socks are also worth some consideration as they add the option of bringing some creativity to your outfit. Finally, a couple of pairs of neutral socks are an absolute essential – especially when you’re after a really professional look.
Remember, good sock etiquette is an essential component of a wholly stylish gent.
Men’s Sock Picks
- Falke Invisible Step Black Socks
- Topman Grey Invisible Shoeliners
- White Invisible Socks
- Polka Dot Socks
- Topman Block Striped 5 Pack Socks
- White Mountaineering Mens Border Pattern Jacquard Middle Socks
- Richard James Panelled Ribbed Cotton Socks
- Happy Socks Argyle Socks
- River Island 3-pack Animal Print Socks
- Falke Charcoal Firenze Fine Cotton Sock
- Calvin Klein Two Pack Socks
- Pantherella Ribbed Cotton-blend Socks
The Mistake: Overt Designer Labels
It’s often stated that you get what you pay for and this is often proves true, especially when it comes to shoes and suits. Of course, we all love a good bit of designer clothing; nothing beats an iconic Burberry trench or Fred Perry polo but the faux pas come when slogans and logos take up the majority of the garment and garnish all the attention.
Discretion is the new face of luxury and style. Keeping logos and labels out of people’s faces is a much sleeker way to wear designer clothing. Brandishing the AllSaints Ram on every one of your garments doesn’t automatically make you ‘cool and edgy’, just like a polo shirt with the largest Ralph Lauren Horse on it doesn’t make you appear wealthy or ‘Preppy’.
Remember that obvious or brash designer labels do very little for perception, both physically and mentally.
The solution is, again, simple: Tone down your wardrobe with basics and discreet designer attire. The Scandinavian brands often prefer no branding what so ever on their pieces, and us Brits could learn a lot from this. You should be buying clothes that fit you perfectly, integrate into your existing wardorbe seamlessly and that you know can work in multiple scenarios/outfits – rather than just buying all the latest releases from big name designers.
Money may buy expensive clothing but it doesn’t buy instant style, so avoid looking like a walking billboard – we suggest making the brand work for you and not the other way around!
- Polo Ralph Lauren Striped Fine-knit Cotton-jersey T-shirt
- Burberry London Trench 37 Cotton Gabardine Coat
- Reiss Orpwood
- Allsaints Form Blazer
- Allsaints Arlington Boat Neck T-shirt
- Reiss Kris
- Paul Smith Jeans Raglan Sleeve Denim Shirt
- Suit Basic Elbow Patch Sweatshirt
- Alexander Mcqueen Men’s Silk & Cashmere V-neck Sweater
- Farah Vintage Albany Tobacco Twill Chinos
- Nudie Jeans Slim Jim Dry Broken Twill Slim Jeans
- Fred Perry Laurel Wreath Lunar Grey Broken Tipping Polo Shirt
There we have it, three of the most common style mistakes, witnessed on a daily basis (but hopefully not for much longer.) Stamping out these simple style slip-ups can be just as important as overhauling your entire image with a new wardrobe. Being stylish is not a God-given gift and is often a simple matter of learning the rules and customs that make for a well-dressed gent.
So what we want to know is:
- What are the top style sins you see everyday?
- Have you ever found yourself slipping on the standard style rules? How did you solve them?
- What would be your number one style tip?
As per usual let us know in the comments below.