A neat old Laurence Fellows illustration that calls to mind summer travel destinations and a more relaxed approach to dressing. . . while still retaining some sense of classic male style.
Attention to our clothes and shoes is all well and good -- and shouldn't be ignored -- where the quest for classic male style is concerned. However, there are some elements of style that are less visible, less readily apparent, or just easier to forget. With that in mind, here are a dozen finer points that you don't want to overlook in your effort to kick up your style a few notches.
1) Match the color of your belt to your shoes as near as possible. I've mentioned this point elsewhere, but so many guys seem to forget about it. Making sure your belt and shoes match will, however, instantly pull your look together regardless of how casual or formal it is on any given day.
2) Make sure your necktie, if you are wearing one, is cinched up enough to hide the top button of your shirt. Needless to say, that button should be, um, well, buttoned.
3) Your necktie, when tied correctly, should come to the middle of your belt, or slightly below it. Any shorter or longer, and you'll look like a goofball.
4) Neckties should be solid, striped, paisley, foulard, or subtly polka-dotted. Absolutely no novelty ties. No one looks good in these. Got it, Elmer Fudd?
5) Unless you are at the beach, pool, gym, or mowing the backyard, your shirt should be tucked in at all times. The only notable exceptions might be a short-sleeve polo knit golf shirt in warm weather, or a long-sleeved rugby top in the fall and winter.
6) Pants should sit at your natural waist, somewhere at or just below most guys' belly-buttons, and be kept there with a belt, which will help keep your shirt tucked in. Funny how that works!
7) Don't cinch your belt too tightly though, something that can make even very thin guys look like an overstuffed sausage about ready to burst.
8) Make sure your zipper is up BEFORE you leave the men's room. Why risk becoming that guy?
9) Carry a pressed white cotton handkerchief at all times, folded neatly in an internal jacket or coat chest pocket. Clean your glasses with it. Dab tearing eyes on an extremely cold winter's day. Present it to a lady to dry her eyes during a tearful scene in a movie. But don't, repeat don't, make a habit of honking your nose loudly into it in public. Ick! Excuse yourself and take care of any nose issues in private, out of earshot. Please.
10) Keep any leather dress shoes you own well-maintained. That means, routine cleaning and shining with polish, cloth, and horsehair shoe brush, and buffing any dust or street debris off with said shoe brush before heading out the door in the morning. Fewer things look worse than scuffed up shoes with dust in the welts. . . except maybe Tasmanian Devil or Sylvester the Cat novelty ties.
11) If you are not wearing a suit, make sure that your blazer or sports jacket contrasts with the dress pants you select for the day. A great version of this look that passes for being VERY dressed up in many places these days is the wool navy blazer with khakis, or tan wool dress pants in an appropriate weight for the season. Classic with a blue button-down shirt worn or without a tie, with lace-up dress shoes, or more casual loafers. It even works for some guys with jeans and cowboy boots during the weekend.
12) Skip short-sleeve dress shirts unless you live in an equatorial climate. Instead, find and purchase several all-cotton, lightweight and long-sleeved dress shirts. Since most offices are climate controlled in many parts of the world nowadays, being too warm isn't much of an issue. And you can always roll up the sleeves neatly to your elbows if you want to demonstrate to the rest of the office just how swamped you are with paperwork. But fewer things look dorkier than a short-sleeve shirt worn with a necktie.
A Special Bonus Tip. . .
In the same inner chest pocket of your sports jacket, blazer, or suit coat, always carry a decent quality ballpoint pen and a small black plastic comb. That way, you'll never be caught without something to write down an important new phone number or e-mail, sign a check or bill, or give your own contact information to a new acquaintance. And the comb ensures that your hair will always look great, even on a windy day. Just remember to duck into the men's room quickly to check your appearance in the mirror before meeting people socially or for business.
There you have it. Surely, there are many other minor points of style to remember and observe -- an, no doubt, those will be brought up here in a future post here at The Average Guy's Guide to Classic Style -- but these twelve tips are a good start to becoming a better-dressed, more sophisticated man who has his act together in every respect. Too many guys out there in 2013 make the mistake of thinking that acquiring and maintaining a classically stylish appearance is too much work and beyond their financial reach, but nothing could be further from the truth. True style, as opposed to fleeting fashion, is simply about learning and making the effort to remember what works in various situations, and how to present your best side to the rest of the world at all times. And who in his right mind can argue with that?