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Fashion Misconceptions Every Guy Has

Written by Mr. WellCultured, Saturday, August 15th, 2009 in Fashion, The Style Guide

9Let’s face it, most of us have a few things we erroneously believe for one thing or another- whether we really believe Santa Claus exists or if we believe that we’re the next thing to Adonis in the bed. This applies to fashion as well- there are a surprising number of people who believe in largely antiquated/childish misconceptions of “fashion”, only to limit (or hurt) themselves in the long run. These are some of those misconceptions.

Misconception: T-Shirts are Awesome

The reality here is that the older you get, if you can, the less you should wear traditional t-shirts. Many fashion writers believe that graphic t-shirts are absolute no-nos- and I’m inclined to agree. As a general rule, try to avoid just wearing a plain t-shirt- and if you must, make sure it’s a v-neck. Wearing a plain colored crew neck t-shirt without layering or otherwise giving it something to do is rather bland, and it often detracts from an outfit (and makes you look childish).

Misconception: There are “Dress Clothes” and “Casual Clothes”

While there are exceptions to this rule, if your clothing isn’t doing double duty, you’re limiting yourself too much. Many guys have a bad habit of trying to buy clothes exclusively for “dressy” occasions and clothes for “casual” occasions- and it’s expensive, excessive, and generally boring. Some of the traditional basics, such as khaki trousers, crisp white button-downs, belts, (some kinds of) dress shoes, and even some vests can all be worn both casually and formally- it all depends on the combination.

Misconception: The Skinnier, the Better

This misconception generally spawns from those with a little bit of fashion knowledge who often get far too wrapped up in the modeling industry. Despite what may be shown at fashion shows, you should not try to starve yourself to be waifish in stature- it looks unattractive. The “Dior Homme” look of old has infected the rest of the fashion industry, but that doesn’t mean you should follow it: keep yourself fit, fashionable, and at a masculine size.

Misconception: “Manly” Colors

Darker, more subdued colors are sold en masse in the men’s fashion industry for a reason: a lot of guys are, for the lack of a better phrase, afraid of color. Indeed, you should stick to traditional colors like dark grays, blues, browns, and the like- but spice up such outfits with bursts of bright, vibrant color. Avoid neon-colored accessories or horrible looking easter-egg-ish pants, but be willing to experiment with your clothing and pick colors that may seem strange: play around with lighter pinks, purples, greens, blues, and the like.

Misconception: Tennis Shoes are the most comfortable/versatile shoes

No. Just no. The right dress shoes can actually be leagues more comfortable than any pair of tennis shoes you may own- and they’ll be infinitely more stylish. Do not, under any circumstances, walk around in running/fitness shoes under the presumption they will be more comfortable for everyday wear: running shoes (as well as tennis shoes, basketball shoes, etc) are made for a certain sport/activity, and should be regulated to that activity exclusively if at all possible. Find stylish and slightly casual leather shoes, or nice fashion-forward “fashion sneakers” like Adidas Sambas.

Misconception: “No-Iron”/Elastic clothes are superior

From my (and many other people’s) experience, “No-Iron” shirts, pants, and the like rarely actually are indeed “No-Iron”, and they often are worse than if you had simply purchased the “normal” variety. Similarly, many pants manufacturers are advertising what are essentially hidden elastic waistbands in pants, which allegedly fit better- which, as you can imagine, look stupid unless you’re the right size anyway.

Misconception: The more expensive, the better

This is very, very wrong. While this does apply in certain circumstances (established brands like Ralph Lauren are, while incredibly expensive, generally made very well), the vast majority of extremely high end expensive brands are little better than what you can find in your average department store. While it may seem alluring to purchase $300 jeans, the price includes neither style nor a good fit, and many who do purchase them artificially hype them merely to feel better about themselves. For example, though it may be tempting to drop the aforementioned $300 on a pair of True Religion jeans, you’d probably be much more intelligent to buy an $100 pair from somewhere like J.Crew — the label might not be as fancy, but the quality is ultimately going to be around the same. Be a savvy shopper: consider fit, quality and style first, brand second.

Misconception: Buy cheap!

This is something I have a hard time breaking myself of, but it’s 100% true: most people like to think that buying cheap (and somehow getting a “better deal” out of stores) is better. It is not. It may seem tempting to pop into an extremely low priced bargain joint (let’s say Old Navy) and buy something like jeans (which are about $30), but it doesn’t mean you’re getting anything better: often, the quality is incredibly shoddy, poorly designed, or just generally not worth your time. It is often better to bite the bullet and buy something more expensive ($50-$100) that will last longer, look better, and generally be the better deal. Don’t be suckered in by small numbers!

Misconception: Baggy is Comfortable

Wrong. Though it may be tempting to buy a shirt that’s as baggy as a woman’s dress, don’t do it: it’s horrible looking and often makes you look childish, small, and foolish. This is why I often obsess over tailoring on this website: the idea is to get things as fitted to your body as possible. Buy jeans that perfectly fit you like a glove: don’t buy something you have to squeeze yourself into, but simultaneously, don’t buy something you could use as a parachute. Often, something that fits you just right will feel leagues better.

Misconception: Square-toed shoes are “Modern”

Absolutely not. Though some people like them, I (and many of my fashion-savvy colleagues) hate them with a passion. Though there are some exceptions, most squared-off shoes are tacky (failed) attempts at being “modern” and “unique”- but all they really do is make your feet look awkward and slightly large.

Misconception: Accessories are for Women

This is slightly true and slightly false. Do not overdo accessories: it will indeed make you look feminine. However, there’s nothing more masculine than a subdued yet stylish ring, watch, bracelet, set of cufflinks, or necklace.

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3 Responses to Fashion Misconceptions Every Guy Has

  1. tripfag says:

    H&M just shat all over the “Buy cheap!” section of this article, and proved it utterly wrong.

  2. Paragon says:

    Haha, I bought a pair of square-toed shoes about a week before this article came out. I never thought they were modern, but I do like the way they look! They’re bicycle-toed too.

  3. brad says:

    can a bicycle-toed shoe be concidered a square-toed shoe

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