HOW TO DRESS
First rule - never believe 'how to dress’ fashion blogs...
1. 'Blue and green should never be seen'. Balls. Blue and green should be encouraged, you probably have a wardrobe that's 65% navy blue. Go and buy some green cotton trousers and witness how good your blue tops look - amazing. The other reputed no-no is red and pink, also balls. So long as any similar colours are tonally far enough apart enough from each other, its double thumbs up.
2. Stop wearing a complete blue uniform. I know it's a tough one. I made this rule for myself a while ago. OK, some days you can't be bothered to be creative and you grab your easy, all-navy outfit, but please just add a coloured tee. That means that there's a pop of colour coming from under your shirt or sweat. Again, buy some trousers that are a colour other than blue or black.
3. White socks? probably not.
4. Shoes and belts should match. Nooooo! It's a good trick to pull an outfit together, but outfits can be brought together in other ways. Socks with a matching tee? Scarf matching socks? Scarf and trousers? Shirt and socks, maybe? Even trousers and shirt - strong look! Beanie matching trouser, perhaps. You get it...
5. Colour. More colour, push yourself. Life's too short. Especially in lockdown - now's the time to explore possibilities. Start with deeper colours, they're easier.
6. Black shoes make you look serious. Either you're going to a funeral, a meeting or to march in very straight lines.
7. Experiment with monochrome outfits, not just blacks. I mean two differing green garments and a complimentary brown. Or two browns and a mustard...two blues and a black is the simplest (but remember rule 2 ...).
8. No double denim? It's fine, just make sure they're not the same colour or similar tones. Hell, triple denim if you can.
ACCESSORIES & FOOTWEAR
9. Ties are not old fashioned.
I know you negatively associate them with suits but get rid of all the silk ones (bar that one you might need for an occasion). If you see a good linen or cotton one, snap it up and wear it with a casual shirt. An edgy indigo tie on a denim button-down? Suits you, sir!
(Check Indigo People, Judy Scott, Niki Fulton...)
10. Do wear accessories. Don't overdo it. Choose one or two, including your watch. Sell that chunky ostentatious diving watch, it's impressing no one.
11. Invest in shoes and boots. You know this. You will find deals on shirts, jackets and trousers, if you get lucky and do find great footwear, don't hang about. Pull the trigger! Otherwise, invest. And buy shoe trees, too. They work and don't use so much product on leather either.
12. Wear lightweight scarves, they are an accessory game changer. Also, see bandanas around the neck for next level dressing.
13. Trainers are for the gym. Unless they're retro athletic shoe/boots. Prove me wrong.
14. Buy quality, unbranded underwear, without some billionaire's advertising banner under your navel. If you find some, please come and tell me.
FABRICS, PATTERNS & LAYERS
15. Don't purely stick to classic shirts, have a few for formal events. Otherwise, wear highly designed shirts, hopefully in interesting cloths. Or, you know what? Ditch the shirt entirely, make up your layers in different ways.
16. Push yourself to wear interesting cloths in your trouser selection.
17. Mixing patterns is almost impossible. If you're wanting to wear a highly patterned item - choose that item first and build your look round it.
18. LAYERS, LAYERS and more LAYERS. Wear as many as you can. Everyone prefers dressing in layers through autumn and winter, allowing for temperature fluctuations. Usually, summer clothing is finer in weight, so you can combine more layers. So, do your shopping in summer. Also add windbreakers, overshirts, waistcoats (not those Edwardian ones! workwear types instead) and cardigans to your wardrobe to achieve this.
19. The old adage about not doing up your bottom button is true. Nothing to do with kings and courts and all that balls: it just looks more natural and you're less likely to show off your paunch.
(Stop tucking yourself in too, there are few looks that require it and most shirts are designed not to be. Showing another layer off under your sweat or cardigan is a good call, not just your collar or cuff.)
20. Invest in quality tees, you'll end up spending less in the long run.
21. I'm sorry but skinny trousers make you look old and out-of-touch. There's no nice way of putting it - I do apologise. Ever been to the south of Spain or Italy on a Sunday? Seen the old geezers after church taking their promenade? See the way they dress, how up to date it now looks? Sure, if you don't want to go wide, go semi-slender or tapered. Skinny can get a bit anatomical.
22. Jeans. I will talk in-depth about them another time. It's a big subject but I'll scrape the surface now. Buy some raw denim, stiff, indigo jeans with no stretch in them. They will look almost black but will go that familiar denim blue with time. Don't wash them for as long as possible. Smelly? Proper indigo dye is a natural antibacterial and dirt resistant. Dab any stains off them. If they are foosty: turn them inside out, pop on a hanger and put them in a window - sunlight will take care of the rest. Wear them 3 times a week and rest them on days in between. Once you have done one pair, you'll get it and thankfully there's no going back. They will be like your favourite boots and they will adapt to your shape. Try on as many pairs as you can. We stock 18 different jeans, so take a free beer and just get stuck in. Ask any questions and then go home and have a think. We don't mind the slow, considered purchase at Frontiers. So yes, just scraping the surface on denim here, I'll be back with more on this subject...
23. You only need a couple fitted shirts in your entire wardrobe. True!
24. Two-button blazers... I rarely wear them now. The odd summer wedding, perhaps, with a shirt. If not a wedding, try them with a sweat or polo underneath; no really.
25. Don't bulk your wardrobe up with many cheap items. After two washes they'll look tired anyhow. Just buy one great one-piece, rather than five crappy ones.
Below is some nonsense I discovered after googling 'Rules for Men's Dressing’:
26. Never wear pleated trousers... BALLS. (see Folks assembly pants - stone-cold modern classic!)
27. Always wear a belt... BALLS.
28. Always match two colours... BALLS.
29. Save up for quality dress shoes... BALLS. (Dress shoes, eh? Yeah, I'm never out of them, money well spent, pfft.)
30. Short sleeve shirts are for kids (common one this)... large hairy BALLS!
31. This is the big one… Choose a look.
Even if it's just made up. A military-inspired look, a biker look, mid-West hick look, over 40's skater dad, a character in a film? It doesn't matter what the look is: imagine it. See what you have in your wardrobe and then figure out what's missing and get researching. Once you've achieved this look, don't pound it to death. Move on to your next look, then at some point, you'll be able to start mixing them up. My current favourite is mixing militaries - army trousers, naval top.
32. If you're an honest clothing shop worker or tailor, who is out there trying to help people dress, the worst thing to deal with is body image, followed closely by confidence.
Most of us have a completely screwed up image of ourselves. It's a real shame. I'm not going into it in these glib scribblings, but the way to break free is to push yourself to try something new and take advice from a shop person you can trust, or that mate who dresses best - the one you look up to sartorially. It's also a good thing to share, breakfast, clothes shop, couple pints, out for the night. New clothes that 'aren't strictly you' (whatever the hell that means), will give you a new lease of life, it's a new skin. You'll act different and stand taller. I get so upset when I hear a guy holding something up and saying, "I'd love to be able to pull that off". It's just confidence.
Nothing is better after a breakup than getting a new outfit. That or 10 pints of craft lager, an espresso martini, a cheeky half and dancing on the bar at Paradise Palms with a feather boa and a cowboy hat.
33. Identify gaps in your wardrobe. Again, refer to rule 7, but also look for inspiration. Pinterest and Instagram are good, Facebook is alright if you can find a good dressing forum. Magazines these days are awful places full of advertising for sheeple. And they are now catching up with women's magazines - attempting to damage your confidence, making you feel worthless and dictating the way you should adhere to their bullshit, biscuit-cutter, blueprint of manhood. You'd be better off watching Fight Club and taking heed of its warning, than subscribing to FHM or Men's Health. 'The Rake' is the only men's dressing mag I'd look at, and that's with a pinch of salt. 'The Heritage Post' on the other hand is lovely. It's a positive offering; full of clothes, recipes and accessories. All on the heritage side of things, but I doff my 8-panel tweed cap to them.
34. Join an aforementioned FB private group on dressing. Hopefully, you can find one where men are sharing their outfits and everyday wear. You don't need to comment, just see what clobber guys are into...
35. Bar hangers mean you can get more in your wardrobe and therefore you can see more of your shirts, which are your usual starting block for building an outfit. Bin the plastic hangers, they're ruining your shirts.
36. Most lists of rules on how to dress are wrong. Including this one, which is mainly a list of my strongly held opinions. Remember most of these lists are engineered to make you feel inadequate for not being 'smart'. Being 'smart' isn't the same as dressing well. Most guys up George Street in 'those' bars look hideous. Either dress well or dress interestingly, but do dress.
There's only one rule for dressing and that's try something new and persevere, you'll feel comfortable at some point, it's all confidence.