Everyone makes mistakes. Whether you missed your stop on the train or accidentally copied your boss on a personal email with one of your co-workers, life is full of head-smacking “oops” moments. The way you dress is no exception: your “sartorially experimental” period during college, a haphazardly styled outfit five minutes before you have to leave for drinks with the guys, and that mindless, impulse buy, just to name a few. It’s OK: We’ve all been there. But like most mistakes, there’s an easy way to fix (and avoid) these fashion faux pas. Read on for six ways to fix common fashion mistakes.
1. Problem: You’re a color clasher
Forget ho-hum blacks and grays: You love color. In fact, you find yourself struggling to pick just one bright color while perfecting your daily ensembles, so you choose them all. Sure, some color combos look great together — your chambray shirt and those salmon shorts is a great go-to ensemble. But others? Not so much. Instead of looking like a fashion-forward guy, you look like you’re sporting Joseph’s Technicolor Dreamcoat in the 21st century.
While an easy way to stylishly integrate color to an outfit is by mixing one bright hue with a slew of neutrals, we know that going cold turkey on high-octane pigments is no easy feat. So why not give yourself a lesson in color theory? Thanks to Tiger Color, identifying which hues look good together (and, most important, how many colors should be dominant) is a breeze. It’s no secret that adding several colors in one outfit a la square, triad, and split-complementary color schemes can be risky, so start off slow by blending complementary colors that are found on opposite ends of the color wheel. For example, your blue button-down and pair of orange corduroy pants will look fetching instead of fearsome.
2. Problem: Pants that are too long
Be honest: Finding the perfect pair of pants isn’t as easy as it seems. You have to locate an option that is comfortable, made of a quality material, fits snuggly (but not too snuggly) around the waist, and doesn’t puddle by your shoes. So three out of four qualifications isn’t bad, right? Wrong. Perhaps the rest of the pair fits perfectly, but pants that bunch at the bottom look like you borrowed your dad’s suit or clownish. While there are several breaks, which Primer Magazine defines as the crease above the cuff of the pant, opt for a happy medium with a half break that has a subtle fold. While enlisting in a tailor to fix this style don’t is an easy (but pricey) option, check out our affordable hacks to fake a perfect fit.
3. Problem: Wearing a tie that doesn’t match your suit
Bow ties, skinny ties, and traditional ties. Face it: When it comes to accessorizing your suit, finding the right tie can be a struggle. Too wide of a necktie and your outfit is costumey. But too skinny? You’ll look like a cowboy from the wild wild west. Either way, you’re at risk of a major fashion faux pas with one false pick. However, remedying this style miss is as easy as pulling out a ruler. According to Lifehacker, the widest part of your suit’s lapel should equal the widest part of your tie. Since you’re bound to purchase several jackets with a variety of lapels, go ahead and pick up yourself a range of different ties. It may be a small investment; however, appropriately matching your ties to your blazers will make the world’s difference.
4. Problem: Sporting wrinkled clothing
Unless you’re wanting to tell the world that you don’t care about your presentation, no fashion-forward guy wants to look sloppy. And while you may have an impeccably fitted jacket and pants (thanks to the advice above), polished shoes, and perfectly groomed hair, your get-up will look sloppy with a shirt that’s so crinkled it looks like you just rolled out of bed. If you find yourself sporting a lot of wrinkle-prone shirts, perhaps it’s time to invest in an iron or portable steamer. Once heated, eliminating those pesky lines is as easy as folding the garment along its natural seams and pressing the iron or steamer into the problem areas. Don’t have access to either? Hang your shirt in your bathroom as you take a hot shower. The steam that arises from your shower will help remove some of those crinkles, plus you’re killing two birds with one hygienic stone.
5. Problem: Not choosing your socks wisely
As every stylish guy knows, shoes can either make or break an outfit. Consequently, you’ll hem and haw over several brogues, boots, loafers, and casual sneakers before selecting one to complement your outfit. As for socks? You barely give it a second thought. Instead, you just pick the first clean pair you find in your drawer and call it an outfit. For some occasions — work, a formal event, or anything that requires pants — none’s the wiser. However, sporting the wrongs socks with shoes and shorts is almost as bad as wearing socks with your flip-flops. That’s right: Even the best outfit (with an equally awesome pair of shoes) will be turned on its head with the wrong finishing touches.
Instead of filling your sock drawer with dozens of ankle-high picks, grab a few pairs of socks that snuggly fit below the protruding bone above your foot. Sure, your ankle may feel a little exposed if you’re wearing your Converse low-tops; however, the lack of extra cloth will provide a more streamlined, and inevitably stylish, look. For all you sock lovers out there, feel free to invest in some zesty prints or cozy materials for the chillier seasons.
6. Problem: What’s your (button) number?
A button-down shirt is an essential for all stylish guys. From wearing them to the office or a hot date, they’re versatile, fuss-free, and effortlessly chic. However, the sartorial challenge (and frequent mishap) arises when it comes to buttoning the shirt to perfection. As The Wall Street Journal points out, there is some serious debate over how many buttons to leave undone at the office, but what about the rest of the time?
Too few (or no) buttons undone and you’ll look ultra conservative, yet a down-to-there V-neck comes across as too casual or clubby. So what’s a guy to do? GQ shares their thoughts: Never unfasten more than two buttons. And remember, you’ll always be safe with just one. At last, a happy medium between stuffy and sloppy.
Follow Kelsey on Twitter @KMulvs