When men begin caring more about their style, I see a lot of them go on bulk shopping trips and grab a bunch of new items. They believe they need more items to give them more options. But this won't fix their problem.
Actually, a lot of the problems men have with style comes from too many choices. When you’re able to pick anything, what do you choose?
A little secret is that you can actually be more stylish by taking out items instead of adding them in. The fewer choices you have, the more likely you are to make a good one.
Think about this like a math problem. By taking items out of the equation, you decrease the number of mistakes you can potentially make, and the whole thing becomes easier. I’d rather solve = x+y than (x*y)a = ya * xa.
Here are a few of those items you can lose to ease the headache of structuring an outfit - at the same time, making you more stylish.
Lose the Colors
If you’ve worked with me before, you’ve heard me reference the staple colors for men: black, white, navy, gray (and sometimes shades of brown). These are considered staple colors for a reason. The majority of menswear is made in these colors so they’re easy to find. They also look good on most men. Finally, they pair well with other colors and with each other, making color coordination a breeze. I’m not saying that your entire wardrobe should be made up of these colors. I love it when guys play with color- but only if they do it right. Sticking to these colors will ensure you always look coordinated.
Pro tip: Most people think gray is the most versatile color, but it’s actually better to go with navy. I’d argue that more men look better in navy than they do in gray.
Lose the Belt
A belt is an item that most men are used to wearing every day. If your pants fit correctly, you won’t even need one. Wearing a belt will draw attention to the mid-section, a place where most men don’t want the eye drawn. It also gives you issues with color coordination if your belt and shoes don’t match well.
It’s common knowledge to match your belt with your shoe color. But what if you have a camel brown belt, paired with chocolate brown shoes? Say screw it and lose the belt. You can wear whatever shoes you want without worrying about the color of that bulky belt.
Pro tip: Make sure your pants fit well in the waist and won’t fall down throughout the day. Also, get your tailor to add side adjuster tabs to some of your pants and remove the belt loops. This will create a cleaner look and you’ll be able to tighten up the waist when you need it.
Lose the Socks
The sockless look is a very easy way to show you’re style savvy. It also takes the confusion out of color by removing part of the equation.
This look can be pulled off with nearly any style of pant, but it looks best with slimmer fit pants that have a shorter hem. Get no-show socks or as a last resort, use baby powder to prevent your feet from sweating.
Pro tip: This look is best used with less formal shoes and in warmer months. The more formal your shoe, the less you should opt for the sockless look. This is a great look with a pair of loafers or even derbys. Patent leather oxfords and a tux? Not so much.
Lose the Prints and Patterns
When you have a bunch of loud prints on your shirt, it can be hard to wear. Are the prints the right size for you? Will people perceive the shirt as too informal? Will the colors in the print work with the rest of the outfit? If you’re not sure what to do, stick with a classic solid colored shirt.
Pro tip: To add some diversity, you can try a minimal pinstripe or check pattern. Remember to keep things simple and don’t go for a shirt that has more than 2-3 colors.
Lose the Undershirt
Not much else can rival how bad an undershirt looks poking out of your shirt. It can throw off an entire outfit and make you look dated. You’ll run into color coordination problems since it’s just another item that has to work with the outfit. Lose it, or opt for a v-neck cut so the shirt stays hidden.
Pro tip: if you stick with the v-neck undershirts, get them in gray, not white. The gray will keep the lines of the shirt hidden underneath some of your more transparent shirts.
Style is easy.
Now I know this all sounds a bit boring on the surface, but it helps build a solid foundation. Remember it’s more about focusing on the quality and fit of your items than it is about adding more items. For men beginning their style journey, minimalism is the key to a headache free wardrobe.