5 Signs That You Dress Inappropriately

We’re going to let you in on a little secret: It’s totally OK if your life doesn’t revolve around fashion. Sure, some of you may keep up with the newest names in menswear, attend countless sample sales, and still be searching for a pair of Yeezy Boosts, but it’s equally acceptable if you look at clothes more as a necessity than a statement. Regardless on where you land on the sartorial spectrum, if you dress inappropriately it is not OK.

Not only does it make onlookers uncomfortable, but think of it as telling your co-workers, friends, and potential partners that you’re unprofessional and not to be trusted. However, it’s not like most taboo tastemakers are dressing to get a rise out of you: They simply may not know that they’ve crossed the fashion line. Think of these five symptoms of malapropos menswear moments — try saying that five times fast —  as our gift to you.

1. You pair more than two prints together

Wearing two prints together is a sign you dress inappropriately

Wearing two prints together is a sign you dress inappropriately. | iStock.com

Once in a blue moon, with the supervision of a trained professional, mixing prints can yield stylish results. For example, a striped T-shirt underneath a baggy flannel button-down can offer a cool addition to a simple pair of jeans. But mixing polka dots, stripes, plaid, and paisleys in one outfit? Easy there, dear reader. Perhaps it’s not as unruly as fit issues, but you’re going to look like you belong in the circus, which is definitely deemed inappropriate when attending a job interview. If you’re a print novice, turn down the volume and mix one pattern with hues that are present in the anchor piece.

2. Your shorts are shorter than your finger tips

man in short shorts working out

These are dangerously short. | iStock.com

Long ago, back during your middle school days, you probably witnessed several mini skirt-clad girls getting in trouble for sporting bottoms that were too short. At most institutions, the rule was any hem that’s as long as your middle finger when pressing your arms against your legs is appropriate. Anything shorter, and you’ve scored a one-way ticket to detention.

Perhaps the tables have turned for the ladies — who can command the attention of a room with plunging necklines and tiny skirts — but not for you. Sure, you may love seeing a little bit (read: a lot) of leg on your lady counterparts, the feelings are not returned by man or woman if you do the same. According to The Modest Man, your shorts should rest an inch or two above your knee cap. Anything shorter and you run the risk of giving off major Magic Mike vibes, and not in a good way. No matter how much you love your collection of Chubbies shorts, please get rid of them ASAP. You and essentially everyone you interact with will thank you later.

3. Your shirt is unbuttoned more than one button

man with unbuttoned shirt

Unbuttoning more than one button is a sign you dress inappropriately. | iStock.com

Unless you’re hoping to look like an Addams family member (which we don’t advise), you’re always going to unbutton the fastener that rests on your collar. But, after that, how many should you unhook? Pay attention, gents: Only one. Sure it may be unbearably hot and you may be itching to disrobe entirely, but two or more unclasped buttons simply won’t fly unless you’re sipping mojitos beachside. Because whether you’re at the club or the cubicle, shedding more skin than necessary is begging onlookers to not take you seriously. And, unless you’re John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, nobody wants to see your chest hair.

4. Your clothing is simply too tight

close-up of a man struggling to button his pants

You shouldn’t look squished. | iStock.com

Let’s get one thing straight: Having fitted clothes isn’t a bad thing. Skinny jeans are a stylish option for guys and it’s fine if you’re hoping to show off your sculpted arms in a snug shirt. But when your pants are just as tight as Cam’s biker shorts in Modern Family or that dress shirt is so tight your co-workers know that you recently inherited a six pack (and have yet to humble-brag about it on Instagram)? You’ve crossed a line, dear reader. It doesn’t matter if you’re on a first date or hoping to score a Tinder match at the bar: Sporting spandex-level tight clothes will have everyone running in the other direction. A good rule of thumb? Move around in your clothes before you purchase, or prior to wearing them out if you bought them online. If you’re feeling even the slightest pull, upgrade to a larger size.

5. You and your (much younger) nephew are always twinning

man dressed in white t-shirt, jeans, and hat

Dressing like you did in your teens is not a good sign. | iStock.com

There are some pieces of clothing that are great for dudes of all ages: A tailored suit, flannel shirt, and boot-cut jeans. And others? Cool on younger guys, but totally cringe-worthy on men of the older variety. We don’t care if Orlando Bloom, Ryan Reynolds, and Will Smith are all wearing lax bro-friendly muscle tees — that’s territory you should not try if you’re starting to gray and boasting a minivan worth of offspring. So, how do you know if you’re style is veering into a younger demographic? Look to menswear blogs, magazines, and websites (shameless plug) for inspiration. After all, you’re most likely not going to see a dapper gent sporting Christian Grey-distressed jeans in GQ.

Follow Kelsey on Twitter @KMulvs