Levi Strauss, the founder of the famous blue jean company, developed a global clothing enterprise in the windswept American west. Yet, even though he was in the wild frontier, he took great care to ensure he didn’t look like a wild man. He was meticulous and careful in the way he dressed. For he knew that outward appearances affect the way others perceive you which can affect the success or failure of your business pursuits.
While fashion trends for men have changed since Strauss’s day, many of the guiding fashion principles for men have not. Here are eight fashion faux pas men should avoid at all costs.
- Shoes intended for elves
If your shoe has an oddly-shaped toe, such as an extreme point, chances are that shoe wasn’t intended for a human being. Don’t bother wearing it unless you’ve been cast as a character in the latest installment of the Lord of the Rings.
- Mismatched shoes and belts
The rule-of-thumb here is: Match your belt to your shoes. Don’t wear black dress shoes with a brown belt. Moreover, don’t forget to wear a belt. Belts are a must if your trousers have belt loops. They’re not just there to serve a utilitarian purpose. They have a role to play in the overall fashion ensemble.
- Dirty Shoes
It’s amazing how important footwear is to our overall fashion statement. Our footwear is one of the first items to draw the attention of those we meet. For this reason, keep your shoes polished and clear of dirt, especially in the seam where the leather/fabric of the shoe meets the sole. Keep wet wipes in your car and office drawer for a last-minute polish before important meetings. Some shoe-friendly wipes I’ve discovered include Tough & Tender found in the online catalog of Melaleuca products. Another is Tight Wipes available on Amazon.
- Button confusion
The most common confusion with buttons occurs on blazers and collared shirts. Resist the temptation to button all the buttons! Here is the standard: For blazers, button all but the bottom button. For collared shirts, button all but the top button. Get it? Got it? Good.
- Baggy denim with dress shoes
Jeans are acceptable with dress shoes, but you must strike the proper balance and mirror the “tightness” of your pants with the “tightness” of your shoes. Baggy jeans with dress shoes completely throw this balance out of whack. Take care to have proper-fitting jeans without frays.
- The boot cut
- Fat logos on t-shirts
There are t-shirts for 12-year-olds and t-shirts for 42-year-olds. Don’t confuse the two. Leave the SPAM and Superman shirts for the former and the sans-branded shirts for the latter.
- Running shoes when not running
Running shoes are called running shoes for a reason. Unfortunately, running shoes have become a common go-to for casual footwear. This is usually a symptom of a larger wardrobe problem which is: men tend to only have a few pairs of shoes—dress shoes and running shoes. In reality, men should have at least four pairs of shoes—black dress shoes, brown dress shoes, running shoes, and casual shoe (e.g. the Vans Atwood Sneaker).