So you’ve embarked on the holy pilgrimage more casually referred to as ‘upgrading your wardrobe.’ You’ve made a conscious effort to go all in and really take all matters sartorially related by the horns. All bravado. Out go your badly fitted light denim jeans, your t-shirts and your ill fitted suits that seemed like the best thing since sliced bread when you were interviewing.
And yes, you’ve decided to not just buy well fitted clothes this time, but actually learn about how they go together – or in grown man’s parlance, complement one another. This is a serious journey gents.
Yet you have no idea where to begin. Like any other skill that we master over time, reading from a variety of sources that have studied said topic is always considered a wise move. So without further talk, here are our 10 Style Tips that will elevate your wardrobe game this year, and have you looking, feeling and acting more stylish. That’s Style + Confidence. Now, who doesn’t want that?
1. Essential Suits – Charcoal Grey Suit & Navy Suit
If you are hoping to get the most out of your wardrobe or simply build the foundation for your formalwear attire, the above two suits are an absolute necessity. Versatile and classics, both colors will provide you with plenty of options, and essentially a canvas, to paint the rest of your ensemble on. Darker colored suits will always serve you well year round, whereas lighter colored suits can generally only be worn during the spring & summer months without raising eyebrows.
Both the Navy and Charcoal Suit can be worn across a range of functions and occasions, from daily work wear, to more social settings, to wedding receptions. Barring a black tie event or the most formal of settings, these suits will set your formal wear tone for the year.
Courtesy of www.esquire.com
Opt for two or three button single breasted suits to keep it simple, with notch lapels when you are starting off. As you become more sartorially inclined and are comfortable adjusting proportions and cuts based on your body type, you can start to venture off into bolder territory by paying attention to details such as peaked lapels, double breasted suits and pocket types, amongst other specifics.
2. Essential Shirts – White and Blue Cotton Shirts
These wardrobe staples will serve as the backbone of your formal wear attire. The essential shirts for any man’s wardrobe are the pale blue and white dress shirts that are easily the most common in the workplace. Ideally, you will want to stay away from busier patterns such as striped, checkered and other shirt patterns until you have become more comfortable with matching ties to your suits and shirts. The art of complementing accessories with your attire is a learned skill (more discussed below), and so it is best that you start off with a solid white and pale blue shirt. Furthermore, these go to items will always come in hand, even as you have become a seasoned veteran with respect to pattern and color matching!
While white and blue dress shirts have traditionally been considered conservative and befitting of a certain ilk, they have also been considered the easiest canvas upon which to pair ties and other accessories with.
Courtesy of www.tailoredandstyled.com
As you become more comfortable with your wardrobe and look to add flair and intrigue, adding bolder colors and patterns will undoubtedly add to the visual variety that your attire presents.
3.Own a Pair of Dark, Fitted Jeans
Few things attest to your successful rite of passage crossing as a pair well fitted, dark jeans do. Loosely fitted, lighter colored jeans are virtually synonymous with college wear, and graduating both literally and metaphorically to your next step in life often comes with a pair of dark fitted jeans – an article of clothing that will single handedly help you exhibit more serious demeanor and a mature, grown up attitude.
Want to dress down a bit with your fitted jeans? Sure, rock them with a solid colored polo shirt. Want to dress them up a bit? A buttoned up checkered / plaid shirt will do the trick and will have you looking and playing the part almost instantly!
Courtesy of www.pinterest.com
4. Invest in High Quality Black & Brown Dress Shoes
Shawshank Redemptions ‘Seriously, how often do you look at a man’s shoes’, while essential to the plot line as the ending of the script unfolds, couldn’t be further from the truth when a first impression is made. As much as we should focus on ourselves, society makes a snap judgement based on how we dress. And your shoes are almost the first thing to be subconsciously critiqued.
If that isn’t convincing enough, the notion that lower quality shoes often have their soles easily worn out, in addition to providing you with future back pain (a symptom of middle age and up!), should see you sprinting in the same vein as Usain Bolt towards the next pair of formal shoes that you have your eyes set on.
Whether you are searching for Oxford Cap-Toes, Brogues or other formalwear kicks, investing in one pair of Black (preferably Oxfords) and one pair of Brown (preferably Brogues), will leave you with variety with respect to your footwear and provide you with plenty of options irrespective of the color of your suit and /or pants!
To read more about Essential Shoes for men, please click here.
Courtesy of www.pinterest.com
5. Own a Pair of Chinos – or Two
When it comes to Wardrobe Staples, Chinos should be high on your list. Providing you with an ability to dress up or dress down, these stylistic slacks should definitely warrant strong consideration. Chinos refer to the popular style of trousers popularized by American military origin. Chinos are the product of what used to be predominantly cotton based uniform for soldiers. Less formal than dress pants and more formal than jeans, chinos will quickly turn into one of your go to wardrobe staples.
The key to pulling of chinos, just as with any other article that the aspiring dapper gent considers, is fit. Fitted chinos will always work like a charm, elongating your aesthetic and helping strengthen vertical perceived lines. They work particularly well with lighter weight button down shirts.
Courtesy of www.pinterest.com
For a dapper yet casual look during the Spring & Summer months, pair your chinos with a tucked in linen or chambray shirt. For a dressier take, pair your chinos with a blazer in contrasting colors to create the most pop. Accessorize with a Pocket Square or Knitted Tie, and you are well on your way to Dapper Ville!
6. Upgrade Your Style With A Sports Jacket
Few things attest to a style upgrade like a sports jacket. While a suit jacket comes with matching trousers, and a blazer is typically navy colored and with more of a structured fit, a sports jacket can serve as a versatile year round piece, depending on the weight of fabric that you opt for.
The sports jacket was originally attire worn by the sporting man. Hence, the sports jackets original function is reflected in its fit – loose enough to allow for layering underneath. This looser fit typically allows one to wear a sweater underneath, making it far more flexible than a suit.
Courtesy of www.atailoredsuit.com
Intended to look more rugged than the suit and blazer, a sports jacket is typically made from sturdier fabrics such as houndstooth or heavier wools. For sports jacket that can be worn year round, opting for a cotton / wool blend will provide you with an ideal level of flexibility.
Here are a few things to consider when buying your next Sports Jacket:
- It all Starts with Fit – Just as with your suits, fit is of paramount importance. It all starts with the shoulders, and having the lines of the jacket follow you do to your waist. A well fitted sports jacket will fit similar to a well tailored suit jacket, with more breathing room and flexibility (lower armholes, wider chest measurement), so as to allow for functional movement! Similar to a suit, your sleeve length should be long enough to hit where your wrist meets your hands, while simultaneously allowing for about ¼ inch of shirt sleeve to show!
- What are you wearing it for? – Try and think about the occasions that you will wear your sports jacket to. If you will be wearing it for multiple events throughout the year, a more neutral color such as a blue or brown will work perfectly. If you have just one or two events with a dedicated dress code in mind, a louder color with a pattern, such as coral striped or olive green plaid could work!
- How will you complement it? – Try and gauge what items of clothing you will wear with your sports jacket. For example, if you have burgundy or olive green chinos at home, you know that a navy sports jacket will do the trick! Similarly, navy chinos could lead to a louder, sports jacket that can be worn as a statement piece, such as a mustard yellow.
Regardless of your personal style, a sports jacket should always remain an option throughout the year. For gents who prefer a casual dapper vibe, a sports jacket will allow you to dress up without feeling overtly stuffy. And for those of you dressed to the nines throughout the week, a sports jacket will allow you to loosen up a tad bit while still maintaining your aura of dapperness.
7. Own a Range of Ties
Yes, ties – that masculine piece of cloth that adds intrigue to both your suiting and often less formal ensembles. A man should have several ties in his wardrobe, that can cover everything from daily work, to an important presentation, to ties for weddings and the odd whimisical tie that are just flat out great conversation starters (and let’s face it, simply fun to wear!).
Regimental Striped Tie – Often thought of as the ‘collegiate tie’, this tie is the perfect segueway into more sophisticated attire! Pair this tie with a solid, narrowly striped or microcheckered shirt (virtually any type of shirt!), and you will be good to go. A regimental striped tie is perfect for nearly any situation, whether it is daily work, being dressed for date night, an evening out with friends, or to your next wedding!
To view The Dark Knot’s range of exquisite Striped Silk Ties, please click here.
The Dark Knot's Canterbury Regimental Navy w/ Red Silk Tie
Solid Tie – While patterned ties will always remain a mainstay of a dapper gent’s wardrobe, solid ties attest to timelessness and a resulting sense of elegance. Moreover, these understated but highly sleek neck pieces can be paired with any suit and shirt combination, and worn to virtually any occasion, making them highly versatile and useful for years to come! Investing in a few solid ties will ensure that you always have a reliable piece, irrespective of the occasion you are dressing up for.
To view The Dark Knot’s range of stunning silk ties, please click here.
The Dark Knot's Waterbury Blue Solid Silk Tie
Foulard / Abstract Ties – These ties consist of a seamless repeating pattern that often results in a vibrant and exceptionally striking neck piece! These ties pair best with a solid white, light blue or light pink shirt, and will have you looking dapper at the next event you are attending. Whether you are looking for a tie for daily work wear, an important presentation, an evening out or for the next wedding that you are attending, a foulard tie will ensure that you have your lifestyle needs met!
To view The Dark Knot’s range of elegant foulard silk ties, please click here.
The Dark Knot's Berkshire Abstract Grey / Red Silk Tie
Polka Dot Ties – Looking at bucking neckwear convention? Cue the Polka Dot Tie. A fun alternative to your standard solid, striped and foulard ties, the polka dot tie will elevate your style game and display a newfound sense of confidence. What’s even better is that these silk ties can be worn with virtually any patterned shirt, from solid, to striped and checkered. The pattern spacing on polka dot ties typically means that they are well spaced apart, pairing well with shirt patterns that are generally more closely knit together.
Polka Dot ties can be worn for daily work or your next wedding reception. Either way, you’ll be making a statement.
To view The Dark Knot’s highly versatile Polka Dot Silk Ties, please click here.
The Dark Knot's Newport Dots Burgundy Silk Tie
Paisley Ties – Looking to spice things up from even the polka dot tie? Welcome to the Paisley Tie. With a recent resurgence, the paisley tie is (and should have always been) a fashion statement that every sartorially inclined gentleman should consider. With unique patterns that you will most likely not find on your suits and shirts, these ties will add design variation that will truly make your ensembles stand out.
Moreover, the larger pattern spacing of these designs makes them compatible with solid, striped or checkered shirts, resulting in a largely versatile tie that can be worn across a range of occasions. Whether it’s for daily work, your next date or a cocktail reception that you are attending, your paisley ties are bound to make an impression and be the cause of (fairly hyped) fanfare and whiplash. Yes, I said it. People will do a double take. It almost goes without saying.
To view The Dark Knot’s range of intriguing Paisley Silk Ties, please click here.
Animal Print Ties – In case you missed the trend with this list, we have been getting progressively more bold. Which brings us to the final type of tie that every dapper gent must possess. The Animal Print Tie. While typically appearing as just a splash of vibrant colors from afar, these unique designs up close offer intrigue and a launching pad for interesting conversation!
These unique, almost novelty like printed silk ties comprise of a seamless repeating pattern typically related to a theme, lifestyle or sport. Examples include: Oceanic (repeating fish prints, crab prints), Land Animals (Turkeys, Goat, Horses, Elephants), Lifestyle (Palm Trees, Martinis) or Sports (Tennis Racquets, Lacrosse, Golf Clubs). It is this very unique characteristic of animal print ties that make them ideal conversation starters, as they often help reveal something about yourself and your own lifestyle preferences!
Animal Print Ties, popularized by European brands, have become fun, quirky neckties that can surprisingly be worn across a range of functions. Whether you are looking for a tie for daily work, your next date night or an evening out with friends, Animal Print Ties will ensure that you are wearing something that not only provides visual intrigue, but offers a great starting point for stimulating conversation!
To view The Dark Knot’s unique Animal Print Tie Collection, please click here.
The Dark Knot's Falmouth Birds Yellow w/ Blue Printed Silk Tie
8. Take Care of Your Clothing
While upgrading your wardrobe will certainly help your style game, taking care of your clothing is of critical importance! If you have forked out cash for a few pieces of high quality clothing , it will be worth a few more bucks to keep the clothes in good shape.
Examples of this include good hangers for your suits and shoe trees for your shoes. Garments spend more time on your hangers than they do being worn, and so adequate care is of critical importance. Wooden hangers with adequate shoulder support will provide the right support for your tailoring. Additionally, felted trouser bars will help prevent creasing across the legs typically caused by locking bar hangers.
Courtesy of www.hangerproject.com
For those of you that have invested in a high quality pair of leather shoes as part of your wardrobe upgrade, an investment in shoe trees will most definitely pay off. Shoe trees help maintain the shape and condition of your leather shoes by providing a form to keep the leather from retaining larger creases between wears. Additionally, if not more importantly, shoe trees help to absorb some of the moisture that accumulates during wear, helping to prevent mold from building up. Both of these benefits help to extend the life of your shoes.
Courtesy of www.businessinsider.com
9. Embrace the Pocket Square
Have you been looking for that accessory that is effortless in it’s execution, yet provides an instant addition of flair and vitality to your ensembles? Look no further. The Pocket Square is your item of choice. Whether you are strutting a fully fledged suit, a sports jacket with chinos, or even more casually, a sports jacket with jeans – a pocket square will provide an instant upgrade to your ensembles and have looking more dapper than all your contemporaries.
What makes Pocket Squares so unique and versatile is that they are offered in a range of patterns, colors and textures. Moreover, these fine pieces can be worn in a range of different folds.
The Dark Knot's Pocket Squares
Knowing when to wear a pocket square constitutes half the ‘battle’ of wearing one! The best rule to follow, and as mentioned above, is that you will most likely be able to strut a pocket square anytime that you wear a blazer or sports jacket along with a button up shirt. The semi casual pocket square, when worn with just a sports jacket, can provide instant elevation to your ensemble. However, pairing a pocket square with a tie while trying to keep it casual (unless it’s a skinny or knitted tie), will be hard to accomplish given the formality typically associated with wearing both accessories together.
When matching a pocket square to your tie, one of the first rules to adhere to is to ensure that it doesn’t exactly match your tie. Your pocket square, if worn with a tie, can either complement your tie or shirt. A great and effective way of complementing your tie is to have the background color of your tie as the predominant color of your pocket square. Alternatively, one can use color wheel to pick either contrasting or complementary colors for your pocket squares.
When not wearing a full suit with a tie, matching a pocket square becomes an even easier task, as you could match them with the color of your shirt, jacket or socks!
The following types of pocket squares will allow you to improve your style game:
Silk Pocket Squares – The silk pocket square, like its necktie counterpart, offers a level of sheen and panache that is unrivaled. This sheen, whether it is with the woven or printed silk variant, makes the silk pocket square your perfect accessory for a formal occasion. The downside to the silk pocket square is that it’s edges are not stiff – making it harder to construct more intricate folds. As such, the silk pocket square is best worn with a puff fold – where the pocket square’s aesthetic is exposed when pinched upward from the middle and inserted into the suit jacket’s breast pocket.
To view The Dark Knot’s range of stunning silk pocket squares with contrasting hand rolled edges, please click here.
The Dark Knot's Mamaroneck Black w/ Grey Paisley Silk Pocket Square
Cotton Pocket Squares – The Cotton Square will introduce textural variation to your wardrobe, while providing that dapper addition to your ensembles! Furthermore, the more rigid edges of cotton pocket squares make them ideal for more intricate folds, such as the two, three and four point folds.
Linen Pocket Squares – Falling somewhere in between silk and cotton pocket squares, linen pocket squares will also add textural variation to your ensemble. Versus cotton squares, their edges are slightly less rigid, allowing a linen pocket square to be worn with either a puff fold or a more intricate, pointed fold. This unique property makes linen pocket squares some of the most versatile squares in the market!
To view The Dark Knot’s range of exquisite hand made linen pocket squares with hand rolled contrasting edges, please click here.
The Dark Knot's Baldwin Abstract Grey w / White Linen Pocket Square
10. Elevate your Style Game with Bracelets!
Rounding off our list of top ten style tips for men are bracelets. In case you’re wondering – the bracelet has made a strong resurgence in men’s fashion. Let’s be honest with ourselves – wearing a bracelet can feel effeminate. The following bracelets will allow you to elevate your style game and add intrigue to your ensembles:
Leather Bracelets – These bracelets represent a balance between being well dressed and remaining down to earth. For this reason, leather bracelets work well in the office or at work.
To view The Dark Knot’s full range of exquisite leather bracelets, please click here.
The Dark Knot's Fullerton Black Leather Silver & Gold Bracelet
Beaded Bracelets – These pieces make more of a statement. If you are looking for an accessory that will up your game around your friends, the beaded bracelet is your answer. However, a beaded bracelet may appear frivolous and almost antithetical to a formal occasion. A general rule of thumb when wearing beaded bracelets is to match the colors of your bracelet to something in your attire.
To view The Dark Knot’s range of beautiful beaded bracelets, please click here.
Courtesy of www.pinterest.com
And that's a wrap for this one! I hope that you have found this article informative and had as much fun reading it as I did writing it!