In the fashion world, well, sometimes regular dudes get overlooked.
You know, the guys who wouldn’t be caught dead in a slim-cut suit, have worn an Islanders jersey since they were 12 (and now they’re 40), and schlep around in the same sneakers, from day to night. But we figured fashion advice shouldn’t exclusively be for the fashion forward.
So for all of those men stuck in a rut, haven’t stepped foot in a store door in eons, and are feeling more than a little unpolished at the party, there are some relatively simple ways to up your fashion game. And it just so happens to be a perfect time to tweak your style.
“Between September and November is our peak season for fall wardrobe,” says Jim Foley who owns the swanky Woodbury Mens Shop, in Woodbury. “The real fashion guys always shop the earliest in anticipation of fall. Then there’s the guy who needs the cooler weather to be inspired to go into his closet and see it’s time for some new clothes.”
He adds that now is the right time, “to give them a little nudge.” (If you’re nudging and they’re hedging, tell them not to worry about breaking the bank, because fashion upgrades are available at every price point.) To be clear, guys, cleaning up your act goes beyond looking good.
“Not only can a few small wardrobe investments produce huge style dividends, but emotional ones too,'' says style expert and author Clinton Kelly, former co-host of TV's ''What Not To Wear'' who grew up in Port Jefferson Station. ''It’s human nature to want to feel attractive to others. You know how you feel prouder and more confident about your car after taking it through the car wash? The same thing happens when you wear nice clothes.”
When cleaning up, it’s a good idea to clean out as well. Make a little room in your drawers and your closet by donating dated items and tossing stuff that's beyond repair. Here are some other tips:
1. Ditch the Dad Jeans
“It’s amazing how many men are still wearing the same jeans they wore in the 90s,” says Kelly. “They can look a lot more polished, especially in darker washes and are more comfortable now.” What to look for? “Straight leg is flattering on every man,” says Kelly, suggesting approximately 2 percent stretch in the fabric for added comfort and better fit. Foley adds that length matters. “There should be a slight break at the shoe.”
2. Upgrade Your Kicks
Kelly says for many occasions sneakers are OK, but that “your style game is lame if you’re wearing the same shoe out to dinner as you would to the gym.” To that end, he suggests modern, non-athletic sneakers for a “chill vibe.” For a slicker, more dressed up, going-out look, he recommends a Chelsea boot.
3. Shrink the shirt
One of Foley’s pet peeves is a baggy, ill-fitting button-down shirt. “It’s OK to wear them untucked, but they have to fit right,” he says. At his store, shirts can be altered to fit properly by trimming them to the body and the length. For fellows who don’t have the inclination, or budget, to go that route, companies such as Untuckit offer perfectly proportioned shirts meant to be worn, yep, untucked.
4. Buy a darned jacket
“Every grown-up guy needs at least one jacket,” says Kelly. “But they’re uncomfortable you say? Look for a knit sports jacket – one with stretch. It will provide a polished style with all the mobility you need to do things like drive a car.” Foley adds that one of the biggest mistakes men make is going oversized. “Many wear them too long and it makes them look like the jackets are 10 years old.“ And Kelly says “a good sports jacket should fit close to the body without pulling at the buttons--and the sleeves should cover the wrist, not the hand.”
5. Get a better sweater
Lose the bulky, shapeless hoodie/sweatshirt/sports jersey, says Kelly. “Show off your manly physique with a wool or – even better — cashmere sweater.” He suggests wearing it over a button-front shirt for a dressier look, “or just over a T-shirt for more casual occasions.” Shopping hint: “Look for one cut close to the body, but with enough room for layering,” he says. And for starter sweater buyers? “You can’t go wrong with navy blue.”
6. Add some personality: “Guys happen to like color,” says Foley, who recommends it, if you’re straying from the basics. “This season, we’re seeing a lot of berries and greens and other jewel tones, especially in shirts and sweaters. It adds a little character.” Kelly believes that patterns “are the most effective way to add personality to an outfit. Pinstripes can say business. Plaids can say sporty. Florals can say you’re in touch with your feminine side.''