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How to make a bad impression – Ten fashion don’ts

February 5, 2014

akwardAnother excerpt from my book Fashion for the Average Man:

I attended a college with a dress code – the school required all male students to wear a shirt and tie to class, breakfast and lunch, and chapel. They handed me a wonderful opportunity to dress well and I blew it big time. For example, I frequently sported an all tan outfit – tan pants, tan shirt, tan tie, tan shoes, tan belt, and of course white socks. I looked like a young collegiate Jack Hanna. Anyone see any lions? My friends would tell me that they could spot me walking across campus. I did not appropriately understand the concept of matching. Fortunately, no pictures of the tan outfit have survived. Unfortunately, I botched up other outfits – some of which captured in photos to remind me of my exodus from terrible fashion. One more example, I wore decent black slacks with a white shirt and an okay tie, but torpedoed the look with brown wilderness hiking boots!

To keep you from stumbling through the same fashion mistakes, I have compiled a short list of fashion don’ts:

1. Don’t wear all the same shade of the same color – so, no all tan, all red, all blue, or all green outfits. There are exceptions to this, but we are talking about the basics.

2. Don’t go without a belt. If you have belt loops showing, fill them with a nice belt. I disobeyed this rule in college too many times. And, it was not until a friend pointed it out that I started regularly wearing a belt. Now you know – buy a belt if you need one.

3. Don’t wear the wrong size – find out your size and wear it. If you fit well in a medium shirt, don’t buy a large or extra large. I see men swimming in shirts more times than I can count. This will probably improve your fashion the most.

4. Don’t wear wrinkled clothes – iron them.

5. Don’t wear scuffed shoes – polish them regularly. At an absolute minimum, polish once a month (preferably, twice a month).

6. Don’t wear the wrong kind of shoes. Each outfit has an appropriate shoe. For example, avoid wearing tennis shoes or hiking boots with slacks.

7. Don’t wear a white short sleeve hard-collared shirt – it only looks good when paired with a name tag and paper hat.

8. Don’t wear white socks with anything besides white pants. Your socks should match your pants. Black pants = black socks.

9. Don’t mismatch your shoes and belt. They should always match. Black shoes = black belt.

10. Don’t go without an undershirt. Avoid soiled underarms and protect your wardrobe investment.

If you make the list of fashion offenders, then forget it and relax. Today is a new day and the past is behind you. I certainly wish that I could go back and advise my old self about white socks, but it’s gone now. Besides, I can share my mistakes to help others. For you, start changing the areas that need improvement one at a time. Whatever you do, start today.

© Copyright 2014 Jeremy Gradney.

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. February 6, 2014 3:31 pm

    Excellent advice … but I hope a man can wear linen garments that it wrinkled ????

    • February 19, 2014 3:50 am

      There is a certain level of wrinkle that is acceptable with linen. Too much and it can look like the clothes were slept in. For me, I even like my linen wrinkle free – but that’s just me.

      • February 20, 2014 6:11 pm

        Jeremy, how can you keep your linen wrinkle free … it gets wrinkled so soon you take it on????!!! I love wearing linen, but hate the wrinkles.

      • February 20, 2014 6:29 pm

        Linen is going to show wrinkles as the day goes on. There is nothing wrong with some wrinkles in that case. However, I would not recommend pulling a linen shirt from a basket of clean clothes to immediately wear without a steam or iron first.

      • February 20, 2014 7:06 pm

        Brilliant idea …. I will do that next time … makes a lot of sense – because of the body heat.
        Thank you so much!!!!

  2. February 12, 2014 5:31 pm

    Nice topic..

  3. February 19, 2014 1:36 pm

    The size comment is so so important – don’t think people take this onboard enough!

  4. February 20, 2014 11:54 am

    The wrong size is my pet peeve! Just because you haven’t got been to the gym in a while or ate too much over the holidays, doesn’t mean baggy clothing is the way to go! it never does any justice!

    • February 20, 2014 7:36 pm

      Yes indeed. Adjusting the fit of clothes can be one of the easiest ways to improve your overall look.

  5. Scott permalink
    March 2, 2014 4:17 am

    Ironic. Went to private parochial elementary and high schools where daily uniform included black slacks, yellow oxford cloth button down shirt, belt, etc.

    Started college and after immediately adopting blue jeans as everyday garment of choice, got an unexpected fashion lesson one morning when roommate commented,
    “You know that is a dress belt?”
    “Oooh,” I mumbled, “only one I have.”
    “Thin skinny ones go around suit trousers, but looks weird with jeans,” he explained.
    Started to change into something else and pealed it off when he said, “Well, if you can get away without a belt that’s okay.”
    Ever since have worn jeans without a belt and avoided any more negative comments.

  6. March 8, 2014 4:23 am

    Nice tips man. Have you ever used a steamer instead of an iron?

    • March 8, 2014 12:45 pm

      I use a steamer frequently. Can’t imagine life without one.

      • March 9, 2014 5:38 am

        Yeah I’m pretty sick of ironing. I should invest in a steamer as well. Thanks

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