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10 steps to a sharper style

Can money buy style? The answer is unequivocally no. But with a sensible budget and the right guidance, you can go anywhere. This is where we come in. Welcome to the first step of Frontmen’s style school.

By oscar Arrsjö | Guider | 2016-12-19

1. The Jacket

All retail sellers who try to make you buy something by using the word ‘oversized’ deserve a fork in the leg. Very few men’s appearances have anything to gain from puffy clothing. So what does a perfect-fitting jacket look like? Prioritize the fit around your chest and shoulders. That’s the very foundation. The shoulder seam should align with your shoulder. An unconstructed shoulder should be slightly slimmer than a constructed ditto. Choose a model with as narrow fit as your figure will allow without being too snug and sleeves ending where the thumb bone meets the wrist under the palm. At least one centimeter of the shirt cuff should show, preferably two. Length and lapel width vary according to trends. Unfortunately, it’s a rarity that a jacket fits perfectly right at the unpacking from the box. Putting some money in your tailor’s pocket is in other words a good investment.

Always leave the bottom button on a jacket, and waistcoat if you’re wearing one, unbuttoned.

The Tie

2. The Tie

A chunky Eldredge knot might impress the odd engineer, but showing off has nothing to do with style. A Windsor knot is too symmetrical and thus becomes too Eastern-European dull. Actually, you only need to know one single tie knot, which might also be the easiest one – the Four-in-Hand. It suits all shirt collars and tie widths. And it doesn’t matter if it gets a little skewed. That only adds character. Your tie should end right above the belt, of course. Neither higher nor lower. But remember the dimple. You create it by making a small crease just below the tie knot as you tighten it. It makes all the difference.

The Leather Accessories

3. The Leather Accessories

The quickest way of scoring quick style points might be to match your leather accessories. Of course you know that a brown belt is worn together with brown shoes. But color coordinate them with your watch band and leather bag as well and magic will appear.

However, when sporting white sneakers you can deviate from this rule. You don’t wear a white belt unless you’re a patrolling police man, and you’re not.

The Jeans

4. The Jeans

Everybody owns at least one pair. Everyone has a relation to, and an opinion about jeans.  These pants, with their roots in the 1870’s Western US work culture, have an equally given place in our hearts as in our wardrobes. Selvedge and Japanese denims might be nice, but the most important thing about jeans is undeniably their fit. Moderation does it when it comes to denim butts. Don’t wear them high enough to grind your armpits, and skip the sag.

Regardless of waist span, you should go for a narrow leg opening. Really narrow. And rather than wearing pants too long, pick a pair that is slightly too short. No one is amused by jeans puckering over shoes and shins. The days when short pants were taboo and brought on ankle-swinger remarks are long gone. Trust me, we’ll be seeing a lot of shorter pant legs ahead.

Cuffs or not? That’s a matter of taste and could definitely be tasteful if you feel like it. 

The Bow tie

5. The Bow tie

Tying a tie is easy. Tying a bow tie is something entirely different. I’m certainly not the only one who cursed like a fit-to-be-tied sailor going to my first black-tie events. But it’s quite worth it. Pre-tied bow ties are for schoolboys. Real men wear self-tied. If you haven’t learned yet you can find comfort in the fact that once you do, it’s like riding a bike.

A major upside with a self-tied bow tie, in addition to giving your look more personality and flair, is that it enables untying at better parties and can hang casually around your neck during the wee hours of the night. Pre-tie participants are guaranteed to glance with envy.

6. The Jewelry

Anyone who says a wrist watch is the only jewelry a man should wear is either 200 years old or a watch dealer. Think of your clothes as the foundation of your outfit. Accessories perfect it. And jewelry is an important part. One, or preferably more, carefully chosen bracelets are highly recommended. They allow you to express your personality and, if you wish, add a dash of color. Wear them on your right hand or together with your beloved wrist watch. Patina is a plus.

Obviously, thumb rings and tight-fitting necklaces are out of the question. If you wore those you wouldn’t have read this far anyway, but rather long glazed emptily out the window imagining the perfect burnout at the next muscle car meet.

7. The Wallet

You have a right to a slim silhouette. Keeping a ridiculously bulky wallet holding two months’ salary in cash, stuffed into your pants or jacket pocket, will make you look like a cab driver. Not to mention how a heavy wallet ruins the fit of a jacket or coat. Instead, acquire a slim card holder and give your spare change to the more needy.

8. The Handkerchief

The vast majority of jackets gets a bit sharper-looking with a handkerchief. A neat, straight and pure white one sticking out about a centimeter from your chest pocket is a safe bet. The other option you should know about is the more eccentric Italian version that works best with a linen handkerchief. Here’s how to do it:
1.    Lay the hanky flat, pinch its center with your right hand and pick it up.
2.    Form a circle bringing your left thumb and index finger together.
3.    Pull the pinched end of the hanky about halfway through the circle.
4.    Align the pinched end with the other end.
5.    Stuff it in your chest pocket with the centerfold down and style to your liking.

9. The Underwear

Underwear is not meant to be funny. It’s what’s in them that’s supposed to be fun for your partner. No man over 25 years old looks good in overly-expressive colorful undies. Think subtle and let a colorful waistband stand for the extravagance. Other than that, the watchword should be monochromatic. We really like briefs because of the timeless and masculine appearance they give their wearer, but if you’re looking to please a girl, trunks are more appreciated.

The Shoes

10. The Shoes

Sneakers, dress shoes or boots. We love them all and they all have one thing in common. They look their best when they’re clean/well-polished. The old rule “No brown shoes after 6 pm” is both elderly and outdated. Brown shoes are a great choice with blue or grey suiting and with jeans or chinos. But when a party has anything above a semi-formal dress code, black dress shoes apply.