Men’s fashion (compared to women’s) is relatively standard and simple.
In reality, we have less to play around with. So how do we work with what we’ve been given – a pant, a jacket, shirt and shoes – and not feel ‘same-old’? Forever looking for ways to tweak and adjust the mundane, a touch of simple change to your wardrobe is the answer.
It’s time for round two of 5 tips to appear more stylish than you really are. Let the gleaning and preening begin.
#1 Look To Leather
Before thoughts of gladiator sandals or leather stud pants (cool if you’re Lenny Kravitz) enter your mind, the animal-skin fashion item I’m referring to is the leather jacket. No longer reserved for rockstars, bikies or retro pilots, the jacket provides an instant style kick to a boring casual outfit.
Play around with the type of leather first: bomber, racer or biker jackets are the main styles for men. Then, nail the fit. The jacket should cling to the contours of the body, with shoulders cutting sharp and square – like a blazer.
The final decision is colour, which isn’t really a choice. You can’t go past black or brown for a classic, masculine look over a plain or Breton tee, slim fit jeans and then Chelsea boots or plimsolls. Neutral chinos and a pair of brogues – sans socks, feel just as stylish.
#2 Tailored Tee
In the vein of street chic, chucking away the button-shirt and replacing it with a tee, is the ultimate style switch when paired with a suit. This combination is reserved for lightweight summer tailoring (we don’t really advise rupturing the formalities of a corporate woollen here), and ranges from the more sophisticated single-breasted peak lapel checked suit to a white linen summer edition.
Now, choose your look. Charcoal-hued top and black Chelsea boots in sheeny leather vamp up the casualness of the tee, while summer loafers in chocolate suede (no socks, obvs) and slim fit navy shirt are a bello trio when teamed with a polka dot pocket square. And then, lose the belt.
#3 No-Belt, No Worries
Go belt-less: the well-versed sartorialists shudder at such utterances. Yes, a formal suit/occasion requires a leather belt, but a weekend tailored outfit meshed with say, a sporty parka, looks super stylish without a belt. While most gents feel naked without the buckled, leather strap, it’s not an essential piece when going for a less-is-more approach to style.
The key here is to create an overall pared-back aesthetic. I’m talking about leaving a few principle accessories at home and walking straight out the door. A relaxed no-belt look offers ease with nothing but your shirt and a jacket, over a slim pair of cropped trousers, tapered at the ankle. Sockless feet with your shoes – be it sneakers or lace-ups, match the clean finish – elevating you from a sufferer of stuffiness to a maestro of minimalism.
#4 Grow Some Stub
Because hipster beards are in their last days and the oh so smooth baby face doesn’t leave much to play around with, I give you the stubble look. Made famous by Daniel Craig, Becks and Bradley Cooper, the styled stubble turns sexy(er) those too-safe facial features
Stubble works for well, work – not too scruffy for the corporate gents in suits, and is hands down a chic weekend look, from Friday night drinks to Sunday late morning brunch.
The tasteful growth adds that much needed pepper sprinkle to highlight a jawline too, and accentuate the lines of a man’s face. It gives you an actual chin, if you don’t have one to call your own. To help you out, recap the art of perfecting the stubble.
#5 The Sleeve Shift
Even the sartorial maestro knows the joys of free-forearms in the warmer, humid months, despite the fact he’s wearing a long sleeve blazer. How does he do it, you ask? The sleeve shift. First, play around with either rolling the sleeves back or just pushing the sleeves up.
A slippery jacket lining may prevent them from staying up, so if the sleeves slip, keep them in place with a rubber band, hiding the band under the gathered fabric – at all costs. Then, the position: below, on or above the elbow. Personally, the latter is best as it looks more sprezzatura in its effortless placement, and is less restricting for movement.
Shifting the sleeves makes the jacket less stuffy but is a bit more dapper than a cardigan or bomber. Pair it with jeans and leather loafers for a weekend drive or chinos and your favourite pair of leather lace-ups (preferably in an earthy tone like brown, tan or burgundy) for summer nights.