D+H Journal

Style Rules To Live By + Break

menswear style rules

Some style rules are sacred. Others, not so much. The important rules are the ones that prevent the no-nos of fashion that will forever D-list you from all best dressed lists. Okay, we know there isn’t actually a best dressed list you’re concerned about, but what we really mean is that dressing well by following or not following the rules of style can make all the difference between getting that second date or landing your dream job. 

For starters, it’s a no brainer that you must take care of your personal appearance + the items in your closet. Also important to note, coordination is key. This doesn’t always mean “matchy-matchy”, but does mean consider things that complement one another. Remember to always keep a strong sense of yourself within your style. Know your limitations, but do respect the handful of unwavering style rules that will likely outlast your lifetime. 

  1. Shave. This doesn’t mean shave your beard, but do trim and shave the neckline, cheeks and any place outside the box of what you’re trying to do with your facial hear and haircut. Stay on top of this one. 
  2. Don’t wash jeans all the time. If they don’t smell or have mud stains, wear them for at least a month or so before washing. This will help the fabric wear better over time. This may seem foreign to some guys, but we promise this is a safe thing to do.
  3. Earrings? Nah.
  4. Belt size should be one size larger than your pant size. Avoid buckling into the last belt hole to prevent too much extra belt at the end. If you need to buckle into the last belt hole, consider sizing up.
  5. Fold knits + hang wovens. Generally speaking this is accurate. Knits can be easily manipulated, ruined or stretched if hung incorrectly. Folding and treating with a delicate steam before wear is a good way to go with sweaters, polos + tees.
  6. Invest in organization assistance when it comes to things like jewelry, ties and belts. Hanging belts and ties on the intended hangers keep the accessories in great shape over time. A catch all and jewelry box does the same for watches, tie bars, cuff links, pins and bracelets.
  7. Pay attention to proportion + fit. Dress to your body type and keep your entire look within the same vein of fit and shape. If your jeans are a bit wider cut and the loops are larger, then pair a wider strap belt and avoid suction-like fitting tops. How about, avoid suction-like fitting tops altogether.
  8. Do not button the bottom button on a blazer.
  9. Some fabrics are seasonal, some not. Keep wools to Winter, linens to Summer. Cotton + canvas can keep going year round.
  10. Flip flops? We go by the 3B rule: beach, barbeques + backyards.
  11. Change with the times, but keep within your own comfort level. If the Pantone color of the year is orange, but you really don’t like the way you look in orange - forget about the Pantone color of the year. It doesn’t matter.
  12. Black tie means wear a tux and everything that goes along with wearing a tux. Tux shirt, tux shoes, bow tie…  If you don’t own the above mentioned, then rent. As for black tie optional, that means wear either a tux or a dark suit + tie.
  13. Yes to novelty in small doses and in appropriate settings. 
  14. Tie bars should be placed onto your tie in line between the 3rd and 4th button on your shirt. 
  15. When wearing a tie, the tie tip should land just around the belt buckle or top edge of your pant button.
  16. Polish. Leather requires maintenance with polishing. This goes for shoes, bags, wallets and belts, especially if the leather is smooth, sleek and susceptible to a lot of unintended markings. 
  17. Coordinate your tie + dress shirt and know that patterns can be paired with patterns. Reference our "shirt eating" guide for examples of stripes to pair with stripes, novelty to pair with plaid, etc. This concept can be incorporated not only for matching shirts and ties, but also for matching socks + ties or socks + shirts.
  18. Match leathers on your person. Stick to browns with browns and black with black. Your wallet doesn’t count. You’re free to wear any wallet color without considering too much coordination.
  19. Ponytail, man bun? Yes for the right personality, place and time. Chances are if you have one or the other, it probably works for you so we support it.
  20. Tailor. Tailor suits, pants, and anything that needs to be better fitting to you. If your pants are too short, go for longer. If longer is too long, then get them hemmed.
  21. Hats are meant to be worn outdoors. You can stretch this rule a little. Running some errands, stopping for coffee with a friend. We think keeping the hat on is absolutely okay.
  22. Match metals. This includes watches, jewelry, hardware on shoes, bags + belt. Briefcase and backpack can be excluded from this. 
  23. Sneakers are cool to wear with suits or dressier looks. Go for a leather pair to tie more easily into a dressier look. Unless the dress code forbids sneakers, we think it’s a go.
  24. Tattoos? We think so.
  25. Wrinkles are one the no-no’s in 9.9 out of 10 scenarios. Dry cleaning helps with that. A suit needs dry-cleaning a few times a year as long as unintended stains don’t require more regular dry-cleaning. Dress shirts on the other hand, require more frequent cleaning. If you’re an expert with an iron this can replace the shirt dry cleaning needs, but otherwise we suggest leaving it to the professionals if possible.
  26. White is right. Labor Day rule, meh. If the weather permits and the look is there, you’re good to go. White sneakers can be fresh even heading into Winter and white shirts are always a good idea. As for weddings- we know you know the rule on that one.
  27. Do not overdo or overstuff. Too many accessories is wrong and too many things in your bag or wallet is messy.
  28. Steam. Casual shirts are easy to care for with a steamer. Some dress shirts, too if you don’t want hard creases at the shoulder line. You can buy a decent travel size steamer at Target for $30. 
  29. No square toed shoes, please.
  30. Manicures, buffering? Yes.

What style rules do you live by or break? Drop a note in the comments below!

shop the look: wolcott water resistant ribbed beanie in navy blue + sheffield skinny solid tie in blue + jackson embossed suede belt in navy 


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