Introduction

When you are taking your first tentative steps into the world of men’s fashion and style, things can appear pretty daunting. There are almost too many options out there – making it hard to pinpoint a place to start.

We’ve already covered the top five rookie fashion mistakes that are made by newbies, along with the initial five steps to take once they’ve been fixed. But how should you be looking to progress after that?

After all, you’re beginning to get the hang of this ‘style’ thing now, aren’t you? You’ve started buying clothes that fit you properly. You now embrace a wide range of colours that you normally wouldn’t have considered. You’ve even begun thinking about what sort of clothes, styles and trends work best for YOU, regardless of what magazines and blogs tell you. Surely, there isn’t that much left to learn, right?

WRONG. There’s always more to things to learn, clothes to buy and ways to hate everything in your wardrobe. Lucky for you, I’m here to guide you in the right direction…

1. Branch Out Into Accessories

In the initial stages of your wardrobe revamp, I always recommend that you stick to neutral colours that you know will work together, such as blues, greys, whites and shades of brown.

From this solid base you will be able to introduce accents of colour with ease, steadily growing in confidence until you become comfortable integrating them into your everyday look. You will also be able to begin introducing accessories without any problems too. This can range from larger items like hats, gloves and umbrellas all the way down to a simple tie bar or collar pin.

There are plenty of articles on FashionBeans about all of these items, so make sure you do your research before going shopping and, when you do, try on as many different styles and brands as you can until you find the one for you.

However, there are a few points I’d like to make you aware of before you start. With accessories, always focus on functionality and then wear them appropriately. For example, the purpose of an umbrella is obvious, but what about a tie bar? Well, it’s used to keep your tie attached to your shirt and prevent it from flapping around in the wind or when you bend down to pick something up.

With this in mind, if you’re wearing something that already does that – be it a waistcoat, cardigan or jumper – don’t wear it! It serves no purpose.

Furthermore, when looking to integrate accessories into your outfits, stick to the rule of three: i.e. no more than. Sure, play with combinations of pieces, but any more than three accessories and things start to get a little cluttered and messy. Umbrellas are exempt from this rule if you live in the UK – you just never know.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Accessories Lookbook

angelo nardelli aw12-13suitsupply ss13rose & born ss13angelo nardelli ss13Canali ss13he by mango spring 2013FLORENTINO ss13lbm 1911 aw13massimo dutti may 2013banana republic aw13de fursac aw13ben sherman australia ss13
Example Pieces
  • River Island Grey Metal Collar ClipRiver Island Grey Metal Collar Clip
  • River Island Gunmetal Tone Spike Collar PinRiver Island Gunmetal Tone Spike Collar Pin
  • Lanvin Rose Gold-plated Tie Clip 169242Lanvin Rose Gold-plated Tie Clip 169242
  • Reiss Rintaro Ditsy Flower Print Pocket Square SaffronReiss Rintaro Ditsy Flower Print Pocket Square Saffron
  • River Island Grey Soft Fabric Flower Lapel PinRiver Island Grey Soft Fabric Flower Lapel Pin
  • Lanvin Buttonhole Flower PinLanvin Buttonhole Flower Pin
  • Dolce & Gabbana Printed Silk Pocket SquareDolce & Gabbana Printed Silk Pocket Square
  • He By Mango Checked Wool FoulardHe By Mango Checked Wool Foulard
  • Lanvin Reversible Cashmere ScarfLanvin Reversible Cashmere Scarf
  • Barbour Tartan UmbrellaBarbour Tartan Umbrella
  • Brooks Brothers Wooden-handle UmbrellaBrooks Brothers Wooden-handle Umbrella
  • Reiss Cucuzza Casual Belt TanReiss Cucuzza Casual Belt Tan
  • Paul Smith Leather GlovesPaul Smith Leather Gloves
  • Olney Drop Brim Panama HatOlney Drop Brim Panama Hat
  • Topman Brown Tweed Dogtooth FlatcapTopman Brown Tweed Dogtooth Flatcap
2. Match Your Leathers

A simple but often overlooked rule. If you’re wearing black shoes, make sure the rest of your leathers match – belt and watch band being the major considerations.

With brown shoes, don’t worry too much about getting the exact same tone of leather, just as long as they are brown.

And for every other colour? Well, there’s a huge debate to be had here but my suggestion is this: focus on buying trousers that actually fit your waist so that when this situation arises you can just skip the belt all together. Problem solved.

Matching Leathers Lookbook Inspiration

How To Match Leather Accessories In Outfits

de fursac ss13drykorn ss13drykorn ss13loewe ss13ami ss14paul & joe ss13zara man aw10h&m ss12he by mango spring 2013
3. Get A Real Bag

This one particularly bugs me during a morning commute on the tube in London. I see plenty of guys who have nailed every aspect of their look – a well fitting suit with subtle colour and texture play, paired with some polished classic shoes – only to be let down by a tatty old backpack slung over one shoulder which is carrying everything but the kitchen sink.

Firstly, never let your bag get into a tatty state. Ever. Canvas will inevitably degrade after extended use, so why not just pick up a leather version that you know will look better with age?

Secondly, say no to backpacks, unless you’re a student. If you work in any sort of office with a formal dress code, trust me when I tell you that you’re being judged for your stupid backpack. Furthermore, and finally, if you have that much stuff that you need to take with you to work, why not just buy a bigger bag? Surely that makes more sense?

Invest in a quality leather holdall and you’ll be travelling in style in no time. Or if a duffel-style bag is too big, why not opt for an on trend tote? I use my FashionBeans x River Island tote all the time when commuting and find it fits everything I need during the day.

Lookbook Inspiration

Men's Leather Holdalls & Tote Bag Lookbook

he by mango ss12boglioli ss12he by mango summer 2013he by mango spring 2013massimo dutti march 2013he by mango ss12ami ss14coach ss13massimo dutti june 2013
Key Pieces
  • Allsaints Orchard HoldallAllsaints Orchard Holdall
  • He By Mango Weekend BagHe By Mango Weekend Bag
  • Reiss Sawboss Large 48 Hour Holdall Whale GreyReiss Sawboss Large 48 Hour Holdall Whale Grey
  • River Island HoldallRiver Island Holdall
  • Royal Republiq Leather HoldallRoyal Republiq Leather Holdall
  • Ted Baker Jakjil – Branded Holdall BagTed Baker Jakjil - Branded Holdall Bag
  • Allsaints Defend Tote BagAllsaints Defend Tote Bag
  • Reiss Casey Fashion Tote Bag BlackReiss Casey Fashion Tote Bag Black
  • Veja Brown Leather Cabas BagVeja Brown Leather Cabas Bag
  • Ted Baker Manni – Large Leather Tote BagTed Baker Manni - Large Leather Tote Bag
  • Sandqvist Leather ToteSandqvist Leather Tote
  • Givenchy Leather Tote BagGivenchy Leather Tote Bag
4. Invest In Quality Footwear

Don’t be the guy in the perfect suit that looks like he’s walked to work during a transport strike – wearing a pair of knackered K-Swiss.

If you invest in hand crafted, well built shoes, I will never have to hear the words “but my trainers are more comfortable” again, because a high quality shoe will blow your mind with how beautiful AND comfortable it is.

Sure, you’ll have to break them in for a couple of evenings around the house before their big debut, but it’ll be worth it when you step out of the door in the full package: suit, shoes and a sick bag. Living the dream.

  • Grenson Dylan Tan BroguesGrenson Dylan Tan Brogues
  • Churchs Leather Penny LoafersChurchs Leather Penny Loafers
  • Joseph Cheaney Tenterden Derby ShoesJoseph Cheaney Tenterden Derby Shoes
  • Loake Patent Oxford ShoesLoake Patent Oxford Shoes
  • Hello Joseph Cheaney BlackHello Joseph Cheaney Black
  • Grenson Angus Leather Wingtip BroguesGrenson Angus Leather Wingtip Brogues
  • Barker Newbury Goodyear Welt Leather Derby ShoesBarker Newbury Goodyear Welt Leather Derby Shoes
  • Walled Chisel M Joseph CheaneyWalled Chisel M Joseph Cheaney
  • Churchs Tokyo Leather Monk-strap ShoesChurchs Tokyo Leather Monk-strap Shoes
  • Loake Victor Leather ShoesLoake Victor Leather Shoes
  • Grenson Declan Leather Chelsea Boots In BlackGrenson Declan Leather Chelsea Boots In Black
  • Trickers Stow BootTrickers Stow Boot
5. Get Behind A Uniform

There’ll be more on this subject in the next instalment of our fashion basics series. For now, consider the benefits of a uniform or, in other words, start developing a signature look.

For example, I have a uniform that I tend to wear the majority of the time, wherever I go: chinos, shirt (button-down or chambray) and a piece of tailoring – usually a jacket or waistcoat.

I wear this combination for two reasons: firstly, I’ve been experimenting with clothing for nearly four years and after a lot of trial and error, I know what suits me and what doesn’t. Trust me, this is what suits me.

Secondly, having defined the sort of clothing I like to wear, it gives me more room to experiment with the things I particularly enjoy about style – such as colour, texture, accessories and shoes. By limiting the decisions that I need to make in one area, it has opened up a whole new avenue of style to focus on instead.

A great example of someone who does this well is Angel Ramos, who I found on TSBmen.com. He pretty much sticks to a simple chinos/jeans, shirt and suit jacket combination, which opens up opportunities for him to play with colour, shoe style and design aspects:

Angel Ramos LookbookAngel Ramos is a major advocate of a signature look. Pictures from TSBmen.com

Final Word

So there you have it, a few more steps in right sartorial direction for those at the beginning of their style journey. Hopefully the tips provided today will encourage you to take a slightly more personal approach to your style.

As always, this is a two way thing, so why not tell me what you think in the comments section below?

Matt Allinson