I don’t think any of us are really TRYING to commit these fashion felonies, but once again, we don’t know what we don’t know. The unfortunate side affect of making a faux pas, is it sends the message that you’re uninformed. So if you’re trying to get that promotion, showing up to your company holiday party with any of these faux pas could squash your chances. Same thing goes if you’re dating. Because you don’t want anything to distract from that amazing personality you have.
Nobody will tell you
The other thing is this, nobody’s gonna tell you at the time you’re making a faux pas, that you’re making a faux pas. So you’ll run around all night long thinking you’ve got everything on point, when you don’t. It’s like having broccoli stuck in your teeth, how do you tell someone without causing embarrassment? That’s why you subscribe to my YouTube channel my friend. I got your back, so let’s jump in to my list.
Matching tie & pocket square set
I’m gonna tailor this a little bit to focus around dressing for events because the holidays are approaching, but this still applies universally. The first menswear fashion faux pas on my list is wearing a matching tie and pocket square set. Now yes, I know they’re sometimes sold that way, but that doesn’t mean it’s right. If you’re wearing a tie, get that matched up first, then worry about the pocket square. Since your tie is a lot more noticeable, handle that coordination first. Treat your pocket square is an accessory. It can coordinate with the color of your suit, or, if you’re wearing a pattern tie, match your pocket square to one of those smaller colors.
Wear dissimilar patterns
Here’s a pro tip, and a hack for you. Keep your patterns dissimilar, here’s what I mean. If you’re wearing a tie with a large pattern, keep the pocket square plain or use a small pattern. If your tie has a small pattern, go with a larger pattern for your pocket square. The same rule applies when mixing patterns from your shirt to your tie. If you have a wide stripe shirt, go with a small stripe tie. It is absolutely okay to wear stripes on stripes, or checks on checks or dots on dots, but the key is making sure the patterns are a different size, scale and spacing.
And, I since promised you a hack, here it is; If you’re wearing a slippery silk pocket square and it keeps falling down inside your pocket and you keep pulling it back out, try this. Wad up some toilet paper and put that down in your pocket first, then add your pocket square on top. The toilet paper, or whatever else you wanna use, takes up space and helps keep your pocket square from sliding all the way down and disappearing.
Since we’re talking about menswear accessories, a lot of the pieces you’re seeing in this video are from the Tie Bar, today’s sponsor. I’m very happy to help promote the Tie Bar because I’ve been shopping with them for years. In fact, the very first pocket square and cufflinks I ever bought myself came from the Tie Bar. I think it was like 7 or 8 years ago I was watching one of Aaron’s videos over at Alpha M and he mentioned the Tie Bar. And I’ve been a customer ever since. I even remember sending my Mom links from the Tie Bar website of stuff I wanted for Christmas. Great idea by the way.
As you might already know, they were originally born as an online neckwear marketplace. They’ve since grown into one of the most trusted voices in affordable style. The Tie Bar is the top destination for amazing quality menswear at super affordable prices, and they’re loved by GQ, Esquire, athletes, and celebrities. Gentlemen, it’s time to raise the style bar, so make sure you hit this link and treat yourself to the amazing, affordable and stylish collections at The Tie Bar.
Flying shirt collar
Next, I gotta talk about the shirt collar outside the sweater. This was okay back in the 70’s, and I realize that sometimes the trend is; ‘what’s old is new again’, but that doesn’t apply with this one. Keep your shirt collar inside your sweater. And yes, this shirt and sweater are both from the Tie Bar. One tip is to make sure your sweater isn’t too big for you, and that the neck isn’t all stretched out. You can also wear a button-down collar shirt to guarantee that your collar stays locked in place where it’s supposed to.
Another common faux pas is wearing your cuff links backwards. Do me a favor, let me know in the comments if you wear cuff links and already know the correct way to wear them. So here’s the deal. Unfortunately, I do see this from time to time, especially at weddings. Most all cuff links have a front side and that faces outward when your arms are down at your side. Also, when you extend your arm to shake someone’s hand, the “front” of the cufflink is on the outside, not the inside of your cuff.
Next is baggy trousers. I won’t spend a ton of time on this one because I already talk a lot about it, but this is the one thing that can ruin an otherwise well put together and well thought out wardrobe. You must get this one right, especially with dress trousers. You can fudge a bit with jeans, but with thinner wool fabric that’s supposed to drape nicely, make sure your trousers are tailored to your body. These dress trousers from Tie Bar are very nice.
Match your belt with your shoes
This one should go without saying, but the next menswear faux pas is not matching your belt with your shoes. I still see this all the time. Now, keep in mind, the more casual the attire, the less critical it is. You do not have to exactly match. However, the more elevated the attire, the more critical this gets. Not only do you need to pay attention to the color, but also the finish. Here’s an example, if your shoes are a medium shiny finish, go with a medium shiny finish with your belt. It doesn’t have to match exactly, but the more dressed up you are, the closer the match should be.
Buttoning the bottom button
Another faux pas is, if you’re wearing a suit jacket or sports jacket, never button the bottom button. This dates back to King Henry getting too fat to button his jacket, so everyone around him started doing it to make him feel better. Also, having the bottom button left open helps the jacket drape better when riding a horse. Even if you’re not commuting to work on horseback, the rule is, for the rest of your life, never button the bottom button of your suit coat or sports jacket. And since we’re talking about jackets, always cut the tack thread on the vents in the back. That’s only there to help keep the fabric flat from the manufacture during transit and it needs to be cut away after you buy it. Also, if there’s a brand label on the sleeve, it needs to be removed.
Necktie too long, or too short
This next faux pas is a little nit-picky, but it’s tying your necktie too long or too short. The basic rule is this, the point of your tie should land right about the middle of your belt buckle. If you’re a larger guy, your ties might wind up being a little too short. So a standard length tie wouldn’t be the right choice. Go with a longer length tie. Also, when tying your tie, you might need to re-do it a few times to get the length right. The more you practice, the fewer re-ties you’ll have to do.
Not dressing for the occasion
The last item on my list of common menswear fashion faux pas, is simply not dressing correctly for the occasion. If you’re going somewhere nice, dress nice. Tuck your shirt in and put on a nice pair of shoes. Maybe you’re going to a restaurant you’ve never been to and you’re not sure how nice it is. Pull up their website or look at their tags on Instagram and see how people are dressed. It’s perfectly okay to error on the side of being a little over-dressed for the occasion. It shows respect and thoughtfulness. But being under-dressed sends the message that you just couldn’t be bothered. It’s also a weird feeling to show up someplace where everyone’s dressed up except for you. Been there, done that.