The path to great style is rife with great highs and oh-my-god-wtf lows (remember when we all used to run around in Von Dutch trucker hats? #why), but we can all rest a little easier knowing it’s not a road we toe alone. Very few people come into this world as fully fledged fashion icons (remember when we were all mad jealous of Suri Cruise? #againwhy) after all! Today, our friend and dapper man about town, Ryan shares a little bit of his own style history, as well as his tips and tricks for creating a wardrobe that’s packed with personality.
XO, The Committee
Hello guys and gals. I have a confession. I did not grow up a fashionisto. I did not pop out of the womb with a cute hat and an understanding of how that shirt goes with those pants. Somewhere, there are pictures of me from middle school with big, plastic glasses and a rattail (yes, I said a rattail-cut me some slack, it was the eighties). Then later in high school, I wore band shirts, JNCO jeans and some vans. I didn’t really get fashion.
During my first real job after grad school, a few things clicked for me. I looked around and started admiring the people that could really dress well. It seemed to have a good impact on their life, and people treated them well. Who doesn’t want that? This coupled with the age of TV shows like Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and What Not to Wear (don’t lie, you watched them too!!!) taught me tips and gave me an avenue to think more about fashion. Then I worked at a shoe company. I learned how trends were set and spent some time talking to ladies who did this for a living. Soon, I started reading fashion magazines; and for me, it all came together.
It took some time and work to understand the rules of fashion (and later how to break them in the right way), and I want to pass that knowledge along to my fellow men. I noticed something after my recent trip to Europe. American men dress pretty shabby compared to many other parts of the world. No wonder our ladies think foreign men are so attractive (besides the accents). I say let’s “Make America Fashionable Again”! I can hear the scream now. Ryan, that sounds great, but I don’t know how. Fear not my gender! Here are my top five tips to help men dress better.
- Colors and Patterns Are Your Friend
First, don’t be afraid of color and patterns. Color and patterns are the paprika and garlic salt of life. You don’t have to just stick to the American man’s uniform of a blue shirt with tan khakis. There is a wide spectrum of colors. Try them on. If the color makes your skin look odd, then don’t wear that color in that tone. Really, just try them on. They won’t bite. Patterns, like color, can also give you a chance to show your personality. One tip for newbies is to pair a color or pattern with a basic (you know a black sweater or a blue or grey pair of pants). Color on top and a basic or pair of jeans on the bottom. Or vice versa. I love a black or grey sweater with red pants.
- Wear Clothes That Fit
Fit is important. Nothing looks sloppier than pants or a shirt that are two sizes too big. The opposite isn’t great either. If your buttons are about to pop on your pants or shirt, then it’s time for a new shirt. The bad part here is that with every brand having a different opinion on what large is you may have to try things on if you aren’t familiar with how that brand fits on you. Pants perfect but a little long? Take them in to the tailor. The cost is minimal and most tailors are fun to talk to.
- Glorious Footwear
They say you can tell a lot about a man by his shoes. We all have our things. Shoes are my thing (my dad calls me the Imelda Marcos of men). I may be a little biased, but I do believe there is some truth to this saying. My biggest piece of advice here is to make sure you take care of your shoes. Scuffed up and dirty shoes (when you aren’t working in a job that is rough on your footwear) just look messy. Bad or poorly taken care of shoes can take down a whole outfit. If you want to step up your shoe game, try some wingtips or something with more of a design. Many men often tell me comfort is all they care about. We live in a wondrous age. There are many shoes brands, like Stacy Adams that are making fashionable shoes with memory foam. I walked 19,000 steps in one day with a pair of these shoes. Comfort and fashion can exist in one pair of shoes.
- Add the Accessories
Accessories can really add to an outfit. It’s not just for women. A hat, a nice watch, a scarf or a pocket square in your jacket. Fashion is often about the little details. For me, my love of hats is a close second to shoes. Part of this is practical because my hair is deciding to slowly relocate to Florida without me (I have to assume that’s where it is going).
- Confidence is Key
Maybe the most important tip I can give you is just show confidence. Stop saying you can’t wear that color or that shirt. Why can’t you? No really, why? Have fun with your clothes. Life is too short. It’s just another way to show people who you are and what you enjoy. Incorporate a few of these tips and you may be the next Fashionisto. Maybe we can even start a club.
Happy shopping boys and remember let’s “Make America Fashionable Again”!
Fedora: Goorin Brothers
Shoes: Prada (last season, similar)