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10 essential style rules for men

By Craig Thomas
10 essential style rules for men
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We men are, at last, paying more attention to what we wear. And you don't have to be that darling of the lifestyle mags, a metrosexual, to want to take care over your appearance and present yourself in the best light, whatever social situation you find yourself in.

While the old saying "Clothes maketh the man" is probably overemphasising their importance just a tad, it is important to dress to impress, whether at a job interview, on a first date, or any occasion when you want to present yourself in a favourable light.

But with so many different choices on offer, from designer labels at the upper end of the price bracket to the quick-turnaround 'fast fashion' items you can pick up relatively cheaply from the high street chains, it's easy to get confused about what kinds of clothes are best suited to you.

So we’ve come the rescue of the more confused and drawn up a few rules about what to wear, how to wear and when to wear, plus some tips on how to formulate a personal sense of style. Follow these and we can guarantee people will stop pointing at you in the street.

Style is more important than labels
It doesn't matter how much money you have, anyone can dress stylishly. Dressing well is not about how many designer labels you have — wearing head-to-toe makes you look like a catalogue model rather than a catwalk model — it's about reflecting your personality, which is perfectly possible to do in clothes that don't cost too much.

Dress appropriately
It's not quirky or individualistic to deliberately dress down at a formal event. You just look like a graceless saddo with no sense of style. Wherever you go, it's always worth trying to wear the clothes that help you to fit in. It's not about lacking imagination: it's about dressing with respect and style.

You must own a suit
Even if you don't need to wear one for work, every stylish man must own at least one suit. Go for a simple single-breasted jacket, paired with flat-fronted trousers in either grey or navy blue. Its classic timelessness will be suitable for weddings, funerals or any formal event.

And at least one decent pair of shoes
In the same vein as suit ownership, you should also own one decent pair of shoes that must not be cheap: cheap shoes look cheap — and everyone can tell they're cheap. And make sure you polish them and invest in a pair of shoe trees to keep them in shape.

Keep your clothes in good condition
A freshly ironed shirt, a clean pair of jeans, a pair of well-polished shoes: you can't go wrong if you keep your clothes looking fresh, clean and well tended. It's also important to treat your clothes with respect: don't use wire hangers (get some wooden ones), hang your trousers up, and always fold T-shirts and jumpers.

Always match belt and shoes
One traditional fashion rule that can't be broken. Match your belt and shoes, simply because it's distracting — and distinctly odd-looking — to mix the two colours.

However, if you're wearing trainers with casual trousers or jeans, you can push the boat out and wear a fabric belt, or one that has more ornamentation (studs, rivets, etc).

Jewellery should be confined to ring and watch only
Unless you want to look like a pimp, stick to two pieces of jewellery: a ring (wedding ring if you're married, but a pinky ring is also acceptable) and a decent watch. You don't need to spend a bomb on a good watch: a reasonably priced one in a classic style is easy to pick up.

Socks and sandals are never to be worn together
No, don't ever, ever try to wear socks with sandals. One of the style magazines tried to pass it off "ironically" a few years ago, but even the good-looking model looked like a psychiatric patient on day release. The reason is simple: if it's warm enough to wear sandals, you don't need socks.

Leather trousers? Be very careful
There's nothing more ridiculous-looking than a man of more mature years, whose boyish physique is a thing of the past, squeezing into a pair of leather trousers. Aerosmith's Steven Tyler is obviously the exception that proves the rule. And members of the Hells Angels, who we wouldn't dream of criticising.

Baseball caps are for sport and the sun
Baseball caps really only became popular in the 80s. Now we can't escape them. Teens, rappers and the fashion for wearing them backwards totally destroyed any lingering credibility.

They're only acceptable if a) you're playing a sport such as golf or tennis or b) on the beach to keep the sun off the bald patch.

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