When guys start to pay more attention to what they’re wearing and try to dress better, it’s easy to focus on major articles of clothing like buying new shirts and pants. As a place to start, you can’t really fault them. Throwing out shirts that say things like “Female Body Inspector” and replacing them with solid-colored t-shirts goes a long way toward helping a guy look like an adult. The same thing goes for trading out board shorts in favor of ones that are actually, you know, short.
Once you’ve covered the basics like updating the essentials, tossing any American Eagle or Hollister you might still own, and paying attention to how your clothes fit you, what’s next? How do you complete the transition and become a guy who is truly well dressed?
You have to get your accessories right.
The term “accessories” might give you flashbacks to all the cool weapons and gadgets that came with your G.I. Joes, or it might remind you of your sister making everyone else late to dinner because she had to “accessorize her outfit.” Neither one of those particular examples is something you would expect to hear out of a grown man’s mouth, but luckily I’m not talking about picking out the perfect pistol and canteen combination to go with your new shirt.
What I’m referring to are the items you wear other than clothes like belts, wallets, glasses, ties, and socks.
One extremely important reason to pay attention to your accessories is that even though they may feel insignificant, wearing the wrong ones will completely undermine your attempts to look stylish and well dressed. No matter how great you look for a date, for example, if you show up wearing a shark’s tooth necklace, he or she is going to notice, and there’s a good chance your date is not going to think it’s cool. Heck, even if he or she thinks you’re awesome, your date is still going to end up having a serious debate with his or her friends over whether they can date a guy who still wears a shark’s tooth necklace.
Outside of dating, though, let’s say you show up to a job interview at a company with a conservative corporate culture in a perfectly-tailored suit but finished off your look with a novelty tie, a fly fishing-themed needlepoint belt, and brightly-colored socks. It’s a look that might have played incredibly well at a fraternity semi-formal, but at an accounting firm that doesn’t even have a monthly Casual Friday, you’ll probably be in trouble.
On the flip side, though, adding the right accessories to what you’re wearing will make you stand out and look even more stylish than you would have otherwise. Add a classy watch and some cool sunglasses to shorts and a T-shirt, and even if everything you’re wearing is from Old Navy, you’ll look better dressed.
If you want to really kill it at an upcoming wedding, it obviously pays to make sure your suit fits, but some brightly-colored socks and a coordinated tie will help you stand out even if every other guy there is wearing the same navy suit and white shirt.
Finally, if you’re looking to meet someone, the right accessories can make for great conversation starters. Be careful, though, because gaudy, flashy accessories tend to reek of desperation or paint the wearer in a negative light. Because of that, you don’t want to walk into a social situation looking like a clown in a fuzzy pink hat, but you’ll be surprised what one or two well-chosen accessories will do for bringing you the right kind of attention.
No matter what the situation is or how formally you’re dressed, if you take the time to make sure your accessories are also on point, you’re going to look like an even better-dressed man than you would have otherwise. After all, it shows that you paid attention to the details, and when you really get down to the basics of dressing well, paying attention to the details is what matters the most.