The Top 8 Men's Style Mistakes You Should Avoid

Posted by Rishi Chullani on

Richard Wright-Gedcke

So you’ve taken the first step into what you thought was previously unchartered territory. The route to dapper-ville. The sure fire way to ensure that you are dressed more like Daniel Craig and less like Shaquille O’Neal’s and Charles Barkley’s love child. Yes, that would be one badly dressed dude. Baggy pants, oversized jackets, the whole nine yards. I think you get the picture. So while we often speak about tips one should loosely adhere to in order to safely travel down this new route, what are the major pitfalls that are definitely worth avoiding? Often, it’s not about what we do right, but about avoiding that which is clearly wrong. With that said, here are our Top 8 Men’s Style Mistakes to avoid.

1. Poorly Fitted Clothing

Clothing that does not fit right does not look good. It is as simple as that. It does not matter if it is a $2000 Armani suit. If the garment is not tailored to your body, it will look incorrect and negatively impact your style.

Now, having proper fitted clothing does not mean that you must have all your garments slim fitted and uncomfortable. The important thing is that they are tailored to your body. If you are a bigger man your pants will likely have a straighter cut to better proportion your upper body. On the other hand, if you are a slender man your clothing will need to be quite fitted. There’s nothing worse than a man who looks like he’s wearing his dad’s suit.

Go find a tailor. This is the easiest and most cost effective way to get your formal wear to fit you. Rather than purchasing an entire new wardrobe and spending countless hours trying clothes on, you can take your wardrobe to a tailor and have them adjust your garments to you.

As a guideline, have your jacket sleeves land where your wrist meets your palm. Allow a quarter inch of your shirt cuff to peak through the end of your jacket sleeve. For pants, have the hem break on the top of the shoe. Avoid a standard double break as well as too much of a flood pant look.

Remember, ensure that there is no excess fabric. Your clothing does not need to be skin tight - it just needs to be fitted to you!

Badly Fitted Suits

Well Fitted Clothes are the cornerstone of a dapper man's wardrobe. Courtesy of

2. Mis-matched Belt and Shoes

There are few rules in fashion that are not meant to be broken. This is one of them. Always ensure that your belt matches your shoes - black with black and brown with brown.

Just kidding, it’s not that easy. To truly have style you want to match the colors as closely as possible. Do not wear a chocolate brown belt with a cognac shoe. Ensure the colors match as closely as possible to add symmetry and balance to your formal style.

Ideally, you want to match the texture of the belt and shoe as well. If you have a cognac pair of suede chelsea boots and a cognac pear of captoe loafers you will need two belts for them. One suede to go with the boots and one leather to go with the shoes.

Matching Belt & Shoe Colors3. Matching Tie and Pocket Square

The pocket square is an essential accessory for every man when wearing a jacket. It helps spread the color and balances your accentuations. The reason the pocket square is so important is because it allows for so much individuality. There are countless color and pattern combinations one can arrange; not to mention the different folding techniques.

Knowing what not to do is just as important as knowing what to do when it comes pocket squares. This will avoid the overall look coming off as cheap and ‘from a box’. Anyone can buy box set of a blue tie and square. Please, don’t do this.

The cardinal rule for coordinating a pocket square is to not match the tie in color, pattern, or texture. Instead, utilize a coordinating and complementing color that will add something to your outfit rather than just sit in your pocket. Try using a cotton burgundy pocket square with the white shirt and silk navy tie. This subtle punch will show assertiveness and demonstrate trust.

Most importantly is have fun with this piece of formal wear. Pattern pocket squares really can really accentuate individuality.

At The Dark Knot, we have aimed to resolve this issue by providing recommendations for matching attire with every item that we well. Moreover one can browse through our site and find accessories based on matching attire.

To view The Dark Knot's exquisite range of linen and silk pocket squares, that can be filtered according to matching tie pattern and color, please click here.


Matching Tie & Pocket Square

One's Pocket Square should be coordinated with their tie and the rest of the ensemble. Wearing a Pocket Square that exactly matches your tie shows that little thought has gone into it and that it was most likely bought in a pre arranged set. Courtesy of

Pocket Squares from The Dark Knot

4. Incorrectly Combining Patterns

You have probably heard of the rule ‘don’t wear stripes with plaid’. Combining patterns in a formal outfit is challenging and inviting. Doing it correctly shows true style and an eye for what looks good.

However, all too often you see it done incorrectly. Men wearing plaid on plaid on gingham check and other things that make the eyes burn. Did anything good ever come easy? Doing it correctly may be hard, but it will demonstrate you are a step above your peers (at least in mixing patterns).

To make sure that the combination of patterns is pleasing to the eye ensure that you alter the type and size of pattern. Ideally, you want all three patterns to be different. Doing one thing solid of the three is never a bad idea. This allows for a break in pattern so that each one stands out more.

  • Some ideas of how to wear it include:
  • A bold windowpane suit, tight stripe shirt, and polka dot tie will look gorgeous.
  • A pinstripe suit, gingham check shirt, bold paisley tie
  • A plaid suit, solid shirt, geometric tie

To view The Dark Knot's extensive range of silk ties that can be filtered according to matching suit and shirt color and patterns, please click here.

Matching Tie Patterns to Shirts

Wider spaced tie patterns pair perfectly against a smaller patterned shirt, with the contrast in pattern spacing allowing for a refined, dapper look. Courtesy of

Silk Ties from The Dark Knot

5. Too Many Accessories

Imagine a man dressed in a basic navy suit, white shirt, pink tie with blue dots, brown leather watch and a lavender silk pocket square. This is a very stylish and fashion forward look. Utilizing the right amount of color, personality, and accessories.

Now, add a, lapel pin, tie bar, 3 rings, and 2 bracelets. All of a sudden the outfit has far too much going on. The overall appearance becomes unbalanced, forced, and crowded. Style is all about subtle statements. The accessory needs to be just that, an accessory! By definition it is something extra. Therefore if you have too much going on and too many accessories they no longer fulfill their intended purpose.

Men have plenty of ways to accessories. The key is to not utilize them all in each outfit. Pick and choose the pieces you want to wear to each occasion but limit yourself to about 3 accessories.

Here is a quick list of some accessories to give you some ideas : ties, bowties, pocket squares, lapel pins, tie bars, cufflinks, watches, bracelets, rings, suspenders and pocket watches.

Refined & Elegant always gets the job done versus an overly accessorized ensemble.


Men's Bracelets from The Dark Knot


6. Dressing Too Formal Or Informal

The stylish man loves to dress up. A three piece suit makes you look good and gives you confidence. However, if your friend is having a casual wedding and you show up in a black tuxedo, you are out of place and no longer stylish (not to mention a jerk for over-dressing the groom).

Most events have dress codes. Whether it is a wedding, garden party, formal event, birthday or just work - there is a dress code and you should stand by it. This doesn’t mean to be shy when you are picking your outfit. Simply choose each piece wisely so you adhere to the level of formality but you can still be stylish.

In this category I’m going to include not having unity through an outfit. Don’t try and use a blue suit jacket as a sports jacket with an off-match pant. A suit jacket has a much finer and sleeker wool than a sport jacket. The jacket will be too formal and your outfit won’t have unity. Invest in quality pieces that you can use for multiple occasions; you don’t need too many pieces for each dress code.

To view The Dark Knot's range of ties, where one can filter their search even for the type of occasion they are dressing up for, please click here.

7. Ignoring The Importance Of Fabrics 

Similar to how you are what you eat, your clothes are what they are made of. Knowing what different materials are and their costs and benefits will help you in choosing comfortable quality garments that will last for a long time.

In terms of suits, there are 4 main fabrics you will find. Each has its advantages and disadvantages and I will go through them each.

  1. Polyester: the only advantage of polyester is that it is cheap. A garbage bag will cost you $50.. I mean a suit will cost you $50. Please, don’t buy a polyester suit.
  2. Cotton: It will breath much nicer and looks more refined. However, it does not hold its shape and does not look formal. This is a great material for a soft-shoulder casual sports jacket for a summer event such as a beach wedding or the kentucky derby!
  3. Linen: extremely lightweight material. Many people think linen is a cotton or wool but it is actually woven from the flax plant. It breathes better than any other material but it wrinkles just as well as it breathes.
  4. Wool: this is the granddaddy of all suit materials. Wool is durable, breathable, and comfortable. It will hold its shape as well as allow men to regulate a reasonable temperature. Within this category wool comes in many qualities. The main rating of wool is it’s ‘fineness’. For our sake, go for a super number 100-120. This will be the best ratio of durability to quality

8. Incorrect Tie Length & Width

The tie is a very important part of the formal outfit. I would argue it is 2nd behind only the suit. The tie is front and center, directly below your face, and is the best way to add personality and style to an outfit. There are a couple guidelines to follow to make sure your tie has the correct proportions to your suit as well as your body.

Firstly, match the width of your tie to the width of the lapel of your suit jacket. This does not need to be matched to the millimeter. With a thin lapel suit (as most fitted ones are) use a thin tie. If you are a big and tall man, your lapel will naturally be larger and make sure the tie is in proportion just the same.

Next, the length of the tie is important as well. If the tie is too short you look like a clown and if the tie is too long you look like a child. Are either of these the looks you’re going for? The tip of the tie should land between touching the belt to bottom of the belt. Ideally, have it land about a quarter inch below the beginning - this takes practice!

Attaining the appropriate tie length can be problematic for taller men. To view The Dark Knot's range of extra long ties (for men 6'1 and over), please click here.

Correct tie length

Courtesy of

And that's a wrap for this one! I hope that you have enjoyed reading this as much as I have writing it!

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