Do you get your jackets tailored? Make sure you wash your whites separately? No? Then your style might be suffering as a result.
Having probed the grooming industry’s leading experts on how well-groomed men scrub up so well, we thought it fitting to ask some of menswear’s key opinion-makers to tell us the habits shared by the best turned-out men.
1. They Know The Basics – And Stick To Them
“From Steve McQueen to James Dean, all the fashion greats have kept it simple,” says Georgia Boal Russell, Senior Stylist at free online men’s personal styling service Thread.com. “They rely on basic uniforms and don’t worry about making a statement if that’s not their style.”
According to a recent survey by Thread.com, British men, on average, wear just 13 per cent of their wardrobes. “My hunch is that guys return to their basic pieces time and again,” suggests Boal Russell. “Which makes it worth investing in quality staples that will look good after many wears and work with a lot of things in your wardrobe.”
Cover your bases with a well-fitting white T-shirt, sky blue Oxford shirt, grey sweatshirt, quality wool overcoat and some sturdy dark denim in a slim or straight fit.
2. They Shop Offline Too
With thousands of brands at your fingertips, no queuing, and the ability to stay lounging in your sweats while you do it, shopping online has revolutionised the way we stock our wardrobes. But could we be missing a trick by steering exclusively virtual?
“As popular as e-commerce is, I still love popping into brick-and-mortar boutiques,” says Jian DeLeon, Deputy Style Editor at Complex. “You get a feel for new brands that might pique your interest and have the ability to try on clothes and feel fabrics in person. Also, stylish and knowledgeable sales associates can be a boon in helping you think of different ways to wear the same thing.”
Not only that but you’ll also get to try the items on, saving you the hassle of coughing up for multiple sizes to see which fits best. Nor will you have to endure the special hell that is waiting in line at a post office on your lunch break.
3. They Don’t Plan Obsessively
“I rarely lay out clothes the night before,” says Simon Chilvers, Men’s Style Director at MatchesFashion.com. “Unless you’ve got a strict uniform or dress code to adhere to, dressing with spontaneity is most likely to result in outfits that you feel comfortable in and that will suit your mood.”
“Admittedly, you might need a bit longer for such free-styling, so having a few favourite backup combos is never a bad thing. Just make sure you run through what your day looks like while you’re picking something out so you choose something that’s flexible enough for meetings or an after-work event.”
4. They Take Care Of Their Underwear
“Underwear should be treated with the same respect as the rest of the items in your wardrobe,” says Olivia Francis, founder of premium underwear label Hamilton & Hare. “Press your boxers – just like your shirts – with a hot iron and lots of steam, and you’ll be amazed at how good they feel to put on in the morning.”
And remember, even the most generous TLC will only go so far: “Threadbare and faded underwear is not a good look; you should aim to replace yours every 12-18 months depending on rotation.”
5. They Don’t Ignore Care Labels
There are few things more irritating than discovering that ace new sweatshirt is dry-clean only. Or having to devote precious weekend minutes to hand-washing your more delicate knitwear.
But caring for your clothing could be the difference between subpar and outstanding style: “We live in a world of disposability but quality clothes are built to last,” says Jonathan Daniel Pryce, photographer and founder of GarconJon.com.
“If you buy right, a jacket you buy now will still fit with your style in 10 years. Use the correct cleaning instructions and take care of the garment – it’s worth taking the time to do it right.”
6. They Only Settle For the Best (Trouser Break)
“If your trousers aren’t turned up to the correct length, then any shoes you wear are wasted,” says Marc Hare, founder of luxury footwear label Mr. Hare. “The greatest shoes in the world have zero presence poking out of gathered hem crumple; when your trousers are properly hemmed, not only do your shoes look better, you also look taller.”
The ability to nail trouser break truly separates the men from the boys in the style stakes. In colder weather, buy trousers that break just the right amount (hitting the top set of eyelets on your footwear at the longest) in the first instance or have them altered to suit. When it warms up, try going sockless and pinrolling your trousers slightly to show off your shoes in all their glory.
7. They Don’t Wash Their Jeans
“We champion the habit of buying dry jeans and breaking them in yourself so that they can create their own wash,” says Johan Lindsted, Denim Designer at Nudie Jeans.
“By holding off from washing your jeans for as long as possible, you can create a beautiful pair of jeans of your own without buying the wash ready-made.”
8. They Take It Up With Their Tailor
“Whether you’ve just blown your month’s wage or picked up a bargain on this winter’s overcoat, make sure you get it tailored,” says Tony Cook, Menswear Editor at FarFetch.com.
“In menswear, an inch means a mile and the slightest alterations on an item’s cuff, shoulder and back can make a massive difference.”
9. They Know The Importance Of Rotation
“Try to think of yourself as a something of a José Mourinho when it comes to your wardrobe,” says Daniel Rhone, personal shopping consultant at Selfridges.
“Rotating your clothing and shoes – like a premier league manager does his squad – is key, especially if you have to wear a suit every day for work. Having three to four good suits to call upon in rotation along with two to three quality pairs of shoes will set you up to be the most stylish man in the office.”
10. They Don’t Wear Bootcut Jeans
“For the majority of men, bootcut jeans are incredibly unflattering,” says Elgar Johnson, Fashion Director at British GQ Style. “Don’t wear them.”
Instead, try a slim, straight or tapered jean that will flatter your legs – whether yours are chicken-like or #swole from chugging protein – in ways no bootcut style ever could.
Do you stick to these style habits? Or maybe we’ve missed some you consider crucial?
Drop your two cents below.