We all have them – those evil pieces of clothing that take up heavenly space in our wardrobe. And for certain reasons, have control over us.
Some of these cupboard sins are sentimental (that senior year jersey signed by all your mates?), while some are bound to us due to the fact they cost a lot way back in the eighties or nineties (D&G patchwork jeans, anyone?)
For most, however, we hang on to the the things we wore at the age of our social ‘prime’; our most attractive years. And, depending on how old you are, this could be going back a decade or even more. But times change and your wardrobe must follow suit. A friendly reminder: the year is 2015 – not ’05, or ’95 and please, definitely not 1985.
But take courage gentlemen. For we shall lead you straight to the burning pit of fire and purge you of your sins – one horrible piece of clothing at a time.
#1 Blazers With Coloured Piping
Definitely not one of our 20 best blazers for men in 2015, the colour-piped blazer is a tacky version of the brilliantly versatile, smart casual jacket. Coloured piping started in the beginning days, when the blazer was worn by row teams at Cambridge University in 1825. In modern times, the multi-coloured pipes that form the ribbed edges of lapels, pockets and hems, should be left to school uniforms and not star as an accessory when on a date or at your favourite bar.
And if you’re holding onto the piped blazer on the off-chance you may need it for dress-ups at that next nautical-themed party – chuck the atrocious blazer out, anyway. The solution? Go dressed as a pirate – they’re a far more stylish alternative to looking like a wanky sailor.
#2 Square-Toe Shoes
Square-toe shoes, like most of the extremely hideous fashion looks of today – were big in the nineties. Unlike the urban street-style making a comeback this season on sneakers, all formal shoes from the decade of Shaquille O’Neil and Friends, were bad. And they won’t be returning to a runway any time soon.
Hailed by some as the ‘PT Cruiser’ of shoes, the square toe shoe garnered a sad, niche following back then, pioneered by tasteless men who thought they actually looked good wearing the stumpy shoe. And like a pest, the shoe still shows its vermin face from time to time. The solution? Go for any other of these incredible dress shoe styles on offer: wingtips, brogues, derbies, oxfords and monks. They’re your new shoe friends now.
#3 Bold-Print Shirts
There’s nothing more tacky in the shirts department than wearing a ‘look-at-me’, OTT print. Instead of style, it screams an indifference to understanding the importance of your appearance as a whole; how each layer of your get-up works in unison to paint a picture of the stylish man that you are.
Bold prints are like a quick-fix attempt in getting some colour into your look, and like most things quick, you end up looking thoughtless and cheap. Instead of bold prints, go for micro-patterns or subtle prints with a bit of texture such as linen or cotton fabrics.
#4 Wrap-Around Sunglasses
You know a fad’s on a downward spiral when Hungry Jack’s starts getting in on the act, handing out the goods (made cool by Mission Impossible’s Tom Cruise) with their Whopper value meals. And that’s exactly what happened to the wrap-around sunglasses in the nineties. And they should have died then and there.
Though we recognise their practicalities (a snug fit to the face makes them useful cycling and running eye protectors) outside of any arena that breaks a sweat, these sports-only sunnies should never form part of your fashion repertoire. Mission Impossible? We don’t think so. Instead, try other classics: wayfarers, aviators and round-lense.
#5 Stringer/Racerback Singlets
Like the wrap-around sunnies, the racerback singlet is only permissible in the gym or while pounding the pavement (and no, we don’t mean the pavement of Stereosonic). Period. Even then, we’re more inclined to sport a regular running-tank or sweat wicking jacket over shorts, skins and fluoro Nikes. This singlet is awkward for all parties involved.
Its string-like straps only encourage the nipple slip meaning and as the wearer, you’ll constantly be ‘covering’ and ‘adjusting’ yourself – not confident at all unless you’re inclined to show some nipple. Finally, people in your bare-all presence will have nowhere to look. Have mercy and read our guide on how to rock singlets.
#6 Hooded Tanks
Do we really have to address this? Unfortunately, yes. Mr. hooded tank is best friends with Mr. racerback singlet (we’ve seen them exchanging protein shake recipes while prepping at gym as they “get shredded for Stereo”). Hoods weren’t designed for tees, let alone singlets.
If the weather requires a hood to pop-up against the wind and rain, then wearing a tank in these elements is neither appropriate, nor called-for. Why the incessant need to show arms? A little bit of humility and down-play of that gym-bod goes a long way. With style, confidence is key. But don’t be cringe-worthily cocky about your looks.
#7 Super-Distressed Denim
While a few tears and vintage discolouration can actually freshen-up a casual look, over-distressed denim just looks sloppy. If you had to drag your denim through the mud to get them looking ‘retro’, we say leave them there. Instead of large, gaping holes at the knees, opt for vintage-washed denim, letting the colour speak some personality into denim – not wear-and-tear. And patchwork, tie-dye anything is banned. Read our denim guide for 2015 for some leading jean tips and top labels.
#8 White Dress Shoes
White does not necessarily purify when it comes to style sins. So don’t wash your dress shoes in white. It adds a somewhat comic-look (think clowns and Beetlejuice) to the well-structured, organic appeal of a beautifully crafted leather shoe. Instead, opt for more earthy, neutral colours for your Sunday best; brown and black being the best, and obvious choice.
For a little more fun, tan (from dark to light) and burgundy are sophisticated tones to paint your oxford, derby or brogue. Finally, keep your whites (stark always) for sneakers and plimsolls – the dapper summers on yachts await.
#9 Anything Over-Branded
Over-branded anything, like too many prints and patterns, speaks laziness. It says: “I can’t be bothered curating a look today, so I’ll wear clothes that appear expensive because of their brand.” While the subtle logo on the pocket of a shirt or seam can add a decorative touch to a plain tee, a statement-brand word or icon should never be visible from more than a few metres away.
The key to letting people know something is luxurious is with a lux fabric and refined cut, not by the huge ‘CK’ or ‘Henleys’ written on your chest. Remember: style is not buying a mono-branded outfit and wearing it to death like you did in high school. More, layering and working different textures and balancing larger silhouettes over fitted (think a unstructured blazer). Wear the clothes, don’t let them wear you.