Maybe I’m outnumbered here, but the classic “manly man” really isn’t my thing – I have a hard time understanding the enticing concept behind a man in dirty Levi’s and work boots (gasp). Different than most women, I think a man (yes, a real man) should take as much pride in his appearance as any self-respecting female. So, that being said, excuse me while I swoon over the impeccable style of White Collar’s devilishly charming con-man Neal Caffrey (aka Matt Bomer). Granted, this class-act has more than a little assistance in pulling off these flawless men’s fashions, BUT every man can learn a few things from NYCs favorite smooth criminal. Ladies, take notes for your man & gents, time to listen up!
Women don’t have to be the only ones who take pride in their appearances. Well-dressed dudes are few & far between outside of the world’s fashion capitals, but their rarity makes them all the more appealing, in my opinion. Whether it’s a Monday morning work-meeting, a Saturday night out, or a Sunday stroll, why not look your best? Like I said, a great outfit draws attention for all the right reasons. Sadly, Matt Bomer is already taken (by his equally as handsome husband – again, sigh). A woman can dream, though – a man in a navy power-suit (preferably Brooks Brothers, Milano fit), chestnut brogues, and a debonair dress shirt-tie combo is definitely part of that dream. No clue what any of that means? You will! Keep reading 😉
Steal like Neal (the spotlight, that is)
You don’t need to look like Neal Caffrey to dress like Neal Caffrey – a few staple pieces will raise your ranks in the world of men’s fashion. Here are some rudimentary rags to convert any man from fashion fugitive to swanky street-walker.
- Slim-fit suit – Slim-fit suits are definitely in right now. Contrary to what the nomenclature suggests, you don’t exactly have to be “slim” to wear a perfectly tailored suit. Even if you (or your man) doesn’t have a 29-inch-waist, suits can be altered to have a slimmer structure. Even if you’re a little too self-conscious to venture into the world of slim-fits, a suit should ALWAYS be tailored (it’s highly unlikely that you’re a part the 1% who fit into clothes straight-off-the-hanger). The extra cost is worth it in the long run – remember, style is an investment! And you’re worth it.
- Skinny ties – Skinny ties? As opposed to…fat ties? Do those even exist? Again, despite what the name suggests, you don’t have to be a twig to pull off this look. Skinny ties look great with a slim-fit suit. However, tie-width should have a correlation to your lapel-width & the cut of your suit jacket. If you’re not sure what you should be wearing, check out this link: (Guide to Suit Lapel (& Style) For You). Either way, skinny ties add a modern twist on conventional business-attire to make your day at the office a little more tie-rific.
- Not-so-boring dress shirts– I’ll get straight to the point on this one. I loathe boring dress shirts – a white or blue “go-to” shirt, paired with a solid tie, is just aesthetically boring. They have their time & place, but if you really wanna dress to impress, I have one word for you. PATTERN (Click on the link!) It can be a classic pinstripe, colorful gingham, or my personal favorite, daringly composed polka-dot pattern. Mixed with a knit or patterned tie, you can’t go wrong. Mixing-&-matching patterns is a hallmark of a well-dressed man in my book. It shows confidence and personality that can’t be seen with a white shirt-red tie combo. If you still aren’t convinced, I just have one question for you – do you want people to think you’re boring and ordinary? Enough said.
- Pair of brogues or oxfords – These shoes are a MUST for a fashion-forward guy. A brown pair of these can take you a long way; you can dress them up or dress them down. Easily paired with a suit, chinos, or jeans, they’re perfect for all occasions. There’s not much else to say besides find a pair you like (and can afford), purchase, and enjoy!
- Neutral sweater and/or cardigan – As a female obsessed with sweaters, I am equally as adamant about the sweetness that sweaters can bring to a man’s wardrobe. Men are all about practicality, right? Logic and reasoning? Okay, so here are three reasons sweaters are great for a guy. 1) They can be worn in more than one way. You can put them over a dress shirt, button up, or t-shirt and chances are you’ll look great in all three. 2) They keep you warm. Considering I’m writing this post from Florida (in what is almost July), I don’t even want to think about keeping warm, but sweaters are great for fall, winter, and spring. Depending on material (wool in May? no thanks), you can stretch your collection to cover all ~8 months of sweater weather. 3) There are options. V-necks, crew-necks, pullovers, cardigans – they’re all practical and presentable. Rule of thumb: start with neutrals (beige, brown, gray, navy, etc) and then begin exploring with colors & patterns. Trust me, sweaters are always in-style, and if you decide to acquiesce some of this apparel, the fashion-police won’t be telling you to “PULL OVER” anytime soon 😉
- Pair of dark-wash jeans – Every female needs a great pair of jeans. As do men. But forget the acid-washed, ripped jeans from your middle-school days; a real man needs a pair of dark wash jeans. Functional for errand running or date-night, dark jeans can be dressed up or down in thousands of different ways. Think about putting them with a sportscoat & nice pair of (ahem) oxfords for guy’s night; with a layered dress shirt-sweater combo (seen above!) for a dinner party, or simply with a polo and great pair of Sperry’s if you’re looking to keep it casual. The possibilities are endless. They are the epitome of a “staple piece” of clothing, and you can easily wear them 2-3 times a week (never back-to-back days, gentlemen – trust me, we’ll notice). With just a little investment, you’ll go from 0 to 60 (potential outfits, that is) in a matter of seconds!
- Socks – Socks are the easiest way to spice up an outfit. Most dress shoes require them, and there is never a shortage of patterns & colors to choose from! In the same category as pocket-squares & tie-clips, socks are the figurative cherry on top of your Sunday-outfit. Remember, the little things matter because they set you apart from everyone else- your sock game should always be on-point!
Here is some inspiration for a male-wardrobe renovation:
- On Instagram, be sure to follow- @thedressedchest, @jsellars, @kjp, @vineyardvines, @brooksbrothers, @jcrew, @menwithstyle, and @gq (to name only a few)
- GQ Style – http://www.gq.com/style/
- Esquire Men’s Fashion– http://www.esquire.com/blogs/mens-fashion/
- List of Top 25 Men’s Style Blogs Right Now – http://www.complex.com/style/2013/01/the-25-best-mens-style-blogs-right-now/contemporary-standard
Easy enough, right? When it all comes down to it – show off, have fun, & be unique. That’s what style’s all about right? And hopefully, if you follow these tips, the only thing that you’ll be accused of is having a killer closet! Until next time, thanks for reading! 🙂
P.S. Follow me on Instagram, @stylishlytaylored for style inspiration and my IG-worthy #ootds!