To be frank the term “men’s fashion” makes me sort of chuckle. Not that I don’t think that a guy should care about how he dresses and looks, because I do. I think it is very important. I also think that if you were to ask a guy what designer suit he is wearing, the correct answer should be “I don’t know”. Because that should not matter to a guy.
All decisions I make regarding the clothes I wear follow these basic five rules:
- Dress Right for the occasion
- Look your best for that occasion
- Your clothes should fit
- Clothes should match
- Your attire should present the best possible YOU that it can.
With that in mind…here are my PERSONAL rules about fashion. These are my OPINIONS and don’t really carry any weight beyond my belief about what a man should and should not wear or do with clothes.
I don’t like to follow fads or hipster trends. I tend to stick with classic, timeless looks and styles. I also don’t like to follow the crowd and the fact that “everybody is doing it” is no endorsement in my book. With that in mind…here are some of my rules about ‘men’s fashion’…
- Bow ties: I firmly believe that there are only two acceptable occasions where a man may wear a bow-tie. A) If you are a professional circus clown or B) when wearing a tuxedo. Otherwise…NO…your bow-tie does not look cool. You look like Pee Wee Herman. If you insist on wearing a bow-tie…NEVER use a clip-on.
- Novelty Ties: I man I really respected once told me: “Novelty ties are for novelty people”. I tend to agree with this statement. A good, clean looking tie, says enough about your personality and tastes.
- Overalls: I have similar beliefs about overalls (Dickies)… unless your full time employment is being a farmer or you are under the age of 5 then overalls just don’t look good.
- Pockets: Men’s pants should have pockets. We should use those pockets. Where else are you going to carry your pocket knife?
- Ill fitting suits: this is one you see at Church a LOT. People don’t want to spend money to get a good fitting, tailored suit. Believe me it is well worth it. When we go to Church we are supposed to look our best, not just ‘adequate’. Spend the extra $ to get a suit that fits right (…you can also tailor your dress shirts and they will look WAY better…no blousing when you tuck it in.). While I’m on dressing for Sunday…here are a few more do’s and don’ts
- Never wear a short sleeved shirt with a suit. Just don’t do it.
- Wear either suspenders or a belt…NEVER both at the same time.
- All leather should match. Belt, shoes, watch band…all should be the same color.
- Brown/black athletic shoes are NOT dress shoes…and white athletic socks are not ‘dress’ socks either.
- Metals should match too. Belt buckles, tie pins, metal watch bands, etc… (however, metal spikes in your belt or jacket are for rock concerts…not Sunday worship)
- Dress socks should match your tie. (and both should match your suit or pants)
- Patterned ties do not go with patterned shirts.
- Black shirts with black pants and a red/white tie make you look like a Mafia Hit man. It’s fine if you want to wear that to the dance Saturday night, but it looks stupid at church.
- I know you spent a lot on that prom tuxedo, but do not come to church in it and NEVER bless the sacrament wearing it. This too looks pretty bad and is a major distraction at the sacrament table.
- One tie pin is nice. More than that (this includes lapel pins) is too much. I don’t wear collar bars.
- BYU/U of U logo attire. I don’t care which team you root for, leave the game on Saturday and come to Church without that chip on your shoulder.
- Scrubs/sweats/pajamas: unless you are a doctor/nurse just off work…there is no reason for you to appear in public wearing scrubs. Same principle goes for sweats, you are not in the NBA so put on some pants. Lately I’ve noticed a popular trend to wander around in public in pajamas and slippers. You can wear them at home all you want. In public have some decency to put on some clothes. (same goes for workout clothes)
- Flip-flops: for use at the beach, for lazy summer days and around your home. Not acceptable foot wear for a man on a date or a night out on the town. I was at a movie and some guy behind me took his flip flops off and put his nasty, stinky feet up on the chair next to me. I’m sure he was comfortable…but I sure was not. When I asked him to put his feet down he acted as if I’d asked him to do something horrible. As far as socks with sandals: No...just no.
- Crocks (those big foam shoes) I firmly believe that these should not be sold as ‘men’s shoes’.
- Hats: I like hats…for the right occasion. Fedoras look great on Indiana Jones and my grandpa. They are a formal style hat and don’t really go with today’s more informal styles. Ball caps are generally cool. I don’t really care for the ‘flat brim’ style or the latest trend of tucking your ears into your hat??? I don’t understand why guys wear beanie hats in summer and indoors. Cowboy hats look odd anywhere in city limits unless a rodeo is in town. I also believe that generally hats should be removed indoors. My one exception to this rule is wearing ball caps to work because you didn’t do anything with your hair that day or you’ll be working outside and have the subsequent ‘hat head’. I’m OK with this.
- Printed T-shirts: Where I work, dress standards are pretty lax and I can come to work in T-shirt and jeans. This works well for my personality and style. Still, I try to dress a notch above. For me personally I try to avoid t-shirts that have something big and loud printed on them. Graphic T’s are cool as the designs are more subtle. This is just a personal thing. I like the clean look of a plain t-shirt and jeans. (I will break this rule to support my kids’ teams and activities)
I’m sure that many people strongly disagree with these fashion rules. That’s fine. You are entitled to your opinion…as I am entitled to mine. These are just my personal rules for fashion.
Ultimately you have to go with what you have decided looks good on you and what you like. BUT…(this is a big BUT)…you also have to be willing to live with and accept the message you are sending by how you appear and dress. You have to acknowledge that people will judge you, rightly or wrongly, on how you look. You have to be willing to accept and deal with that. You can’t dress like a clown and then whine about how nobody takes you seriously. Likewise…if you are overly concerned about ‘fashion’ people will judge you on that too. It is a fact of life. Deal with it.
One note of caution…don’t ever confuse being “comfortable” with “looking good”…usually these terms are not compatible. If something is comfortable to wear then odds are it doesn’t look that good. Too often people act as if it’s all about comfort and appearance be ‘damned’. This reflects not only in and attitude of personal laziness, but also of a disrespectful manner. When I go out with my wife, I want to look good for her and as a matter of personal pride. Comfort takes a back seat to wanting to look good around her. To me it’s a way to show her that she is important enough to me to dress up for.
Besides…I believe that you can choose to be comfortable in whatever you are wearing…if you are wearing it right. (P.S. if wearing a tie makes you feel as if you are being strangled…maybe your dress shirt doesn’t fit right. If your clothes fit, then you shouldn’t feel stifled in them.)
So I guess the challenge of this article is to assess the way you dress and try to look your best.
NO FEAR – NO WHINING – NO REGRETS