Top Style Mistakes Men Make

15 Style Mistakes Most Men Make Common fashion blunders and style errors men make when getting dressed up

Unlike the universally loathed sock-with-sandals , formal and semi-formal style mistakes are often a bit less obvious — especially if you’re a novice.

In this article, we’ve compiled our top 15 worst style mistakes to help you up dress better, look smarter and feel like a million bucks.

Don’t think you’re making any mistakes? Read on to find out.

1. White Athletic Socks

Wearing white, dark and solid socks with dress pants comparison
Dark socks with dress pants

We have this reoccurring nightmare where we open our sock drawer and find nothing but an endless supply of old gym socks.

Why do we hate them? They look cheap, get dingy easily, and let’s face it — you really shouldn’t we wearing exercise apparel with a suit.

Here’s the bottom line: If you aren’t breaking a sweat, don’t break out the white athletic socks.

Pick up some classic black or brown dress socks — or better yet, snag some fun, colorful pairs that show a bit more personality. Check out some amazing socks here .

2. Trousers Too Long

Trousers Length Comparison
Trousers Length Comparison

Baggy trousers with too much break do two things well: They make you look shorter and they make you look sloppy.

While a full break may be acceptable to some, even that look is a bit outdated.

We suggest opting for trouser a length that barely skims the tops of your shoes. 

Alternatively, have them cuffed or cropped by your tailor — especially if you want to show off your sock collection.

3. Square Toe Dress Shoes

Square Toe Dress Shoes
Square Toe Dress Shoes

We aren’t quite sure how these square-toed monstrosities are still finding their way to department store shelves.

They are guaranteed to make you look like a time traveler from 1986.

Instead of the dreaded square toe, stick with a classic rounded, or moderately pointed toe. 

Both these styles have a classic, timeless appeal. While we’re on the topic of dress shoes, we recommend brown or black leather uppers and leather soles whenever possible.

4. Jacket Sleeves Too Long

Jacket Sleeves Too Long
Jacket Sleeves Too Long

It’s very rare to find a suit jacket that fits perfectly straight off the rack. It’s even rarer to find a man who will take the time to get his ill-fitting jacket tailored.

A jacket’s sleeves should hit just above the wrist bone and should allow 1/2 inch of shirt cuff to be seen. 

Any tailor worth his salt will be able to handle an alteration like this with his eyes closed — and it’s a lot more affordable than you think.

5. Too Many Shirt Buttons Undone

 Too Many Buttons Undone
Dress Shirts

While we agree that wearing a dress shirt buttoned up all the way can look a bit odd without a tie, be mindful when letting loose.

Never unbutton more than two buttons. It looks unprofessional at best, and downright sleazy at worst.

6. Dress Shirt Too Baggy

Dress Shirt Too Baggy
Dress Shirt Comparison

This is the ultimate rookie mistake. A dress shirt that’s too large will make you look fatter, frumpier, and stumpier. Simply put, it’s not a good look.

Make sure that your collar has no more than two fingers of room, that the shoulder seams hit the edge of your shoulder, and you don’t have excess fabric billowing around your torso.

These days, there are a ton of affordable dress shirt options available that satisfy the needs of any man’s body type — so there’s no longer an excuse for an ill-fitting dress shirt.

7. Buttoning Too Many Jacket Buttons

Buttoning too Many Buttons
Buttoning too Many Buttons

Never button the bottom button on a two or three-button suit. Leaving the bottom button undone will allow for enhanced comfort and natural movement.

You may be wondering why there is a bottom button in the first place if you’re not meant to button it — but some mysteries are better left unanswered.

8.Untucked Dress Shirt

Dress Shirt Untucked
Dress Shirt Untucked

We hate to sound like your mother but please tuck in your dress shirt.

Dress shirts are designed with extra length precisely so that they DON’T come untucked.

If you don’t like the formality of a tucked in buttondown, choose a shirt style that has a shorter, casual cut.

But really, if you’re wearing suit pants, you should always keep your shirt tucked in.

9. Visible Undershirt

Visible Undershirt
Visible Undershirt

Just like your underwear, your undershirt is should never be visible.

If you like leaving a couple buttons undone, opt for a v-neck undershirt so that it stays hidden from sight.

It used to be that undershirts were mandatory, but these days, going sans undershirt is more acceptable — better no undershirt than one that is on display.

10. Limp, Curling Collar

Limp, Curling Collar
Limp, Curling Collar

If you’re new to dress shirts, you may not be aware that there are slots in the underside of the collar into which “collar stays” are placed.

A simple pair of inexpensive metal collar stays will keep your collar straight and laying flat against your collarbone.

We also recommend having your dress shirts dry cleaned instead of machine washed. This greatly extends the life of your shirts and keeps them looking fresh and crisp.

11. Tie Too Long (or Too Short)

Tie Too Long
Tie Too Long

This rule has very little wiggle room: The tip of your tie should rest between the top and bottom of your belt buckle (or the area a belt would be if you’re going beltless)

Avoid looking amateurish by taking the time to re-tie your tie if you didn’t get the length right on your first attempt.

After you’ve knotted up on a half dozen occasions, you should be able to achieve the perfect length on nearly every attempt.

Here are our favorite knots in order of size from smallest to largest: the Four-in-Hand , the Half-Windsor , and the Windsor. Try each one to see which knot suits you best.

12. Tie Too Wide

Tie Too Wide
Tie Too Wide

If you haven’t updated your wardrobe since 1992, chances are that your closet is filled with indecently wide neckties. If that’s the case, it’s time for a much-needed update.

The generally accepted width range is between 2.25-inches  and 3.25-inches. 

However, one size does not fit all. You’re going to want to take your body type and your lapel width into consideration when deciding what’s right for you. Read our width guide here .

13. Using Tie Bars Incorrectly

We love tie bars. They’re a great example of the intersection between form and function.

That’s because they look smart AND keep your tie in place. However, wearing a tie bar incorrectly may do more harm than good.

Using Tie Bars Incorrectly
Using Tie Bars Incorrectly

First, make sure it doesn’t extend beyond the width of your tie.

A 1.5-inch tie bar will work well for almost any tie — but skinny ties can accommodate tie bars as narrow as half an inch and wider ties between 1.5 and 2.5-inches.

Where to Clip Your Tie Bar
Where to Clip Your Tie Bar

Now that you’ve got tie bar width handled, position your tie bar between the third and fourth buttons on your shirt.

Anything higher and your tie bar won’t keep your tie from flapping around in the wind.

Any lower and it can look awkward when your jacket is buttoned — plus it will balloon out when you bend forward.

14. Too Matchy-Matchy

Too Matchy-Matchy
Too Matchy-Matchy

Honestly, we’re not sure why stores still sell matching tie and pocket square sets.

It may be marginally acceptable for groomsmen at a wedding, but wearing a tie and pocket square cut from the exact same fabric will make your outfit look contrived and overdone.

While there’s no issue with buying a matching set, we recommend never wearing both pieces at the same time.

Instead, choose a pocket square complements your tie but doesn’t match too closely. When in doubt, stick with a simple white square .

15. Way Too Many Accessories

Too Many Accessories
Too Many Accessories

We love bold accessories and accent pieces but it’s important not to go overboard.

We recommend counting up all your accessories — patterned shirt, colorful tie, pocket square, cufflinks, bracelets, rings, funky socks, etc. — and limiting your ensemble to 3 or 4.

The more restrained you are, the more your bolder accessories will shine.

Details, Details, Details

Though trends change, many of the style tips here are timeless — and the rest will surely be around for years to come.

With a bit of thoughtful attention to detail, all these style mistakes are easily resolved. 

You’re guaranteed to feel more comfortable and confident once you get them handled.

What do you think are the worst style mistakes men make or your style pet peeves? Let us know in the comments.

You may also like: What Not to Wear: 5 Items To Banish From Your Closet

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