In a few days it’s going to be a new year and there are some style misconceptions I’ve either witnessed, experienced or heard in conversations from men since I moved back to Nigeria this year – hopefully these misconceptions don’t linger on into 2016. I do hope none of this sounds arrogant or puts off men from experimenting – it’s only a pointer that we should all first master the basics. Below are the top 10 style misconceptions I’ve encountered this year – the idea is that by pointing them out more men have an idea how to put it right.
- Matching pocket handkerchiefs and ties (colour for colour): Look at it this way (if you’re wearing a tie), think of it as wearing two ties that go with your outfit, and just using the colour of one of them for the pocket handkerchief. It’s about harmonising the colours rather than matching. If you’re not wearing a tie, then the colour of your pocket handkerchief should be thought of in the same way as the tie would have been.
- Assuming you can’t wear a patterned shirt with a patterned tie: A patterned shirt (stripped or check) needs either a plain tie or one with a much bigger, bolder pattern. There’s no rule set in stone of wearing pattern and plain. When two patterns sit next to each other, they should differ in size and preferably style – small stripes, big spots; big check, muted paisley for example. Using this rule on scale of pattern can enable you to combine three or possibly four patterns including a pocket handkerchief. If you’re a novice, stick with two at most or even one.
- Wearing over-sized clothes: The sequence you should always keep in mind when dressing up is: Fit – Colour – Style in this order. Your clothes should fit you without leaving too much or too little room to maneuver in it.
- Not understanding that less is more: Elegance is still essentially about simplicity. Style is about keeping it classy and in harmony, don’t mistake this with being trendy.
- Not understanding you can break certain style rules: Rules are there for a reason, but there is nothing wrong with breaking them. These statements are not contradictory. That is one of the most important things to understand about the traditions of menswear. They are useful rules of thumb that become formalised over time. They become formalised because they have practical advantages that encourage men to apply them regularly. Once you know the rules and why the rules are there, you can work out how to break them effectively.
- Wearing wool full canvas jackets in a tropical region when you now have the option of an unconstructed jacket: We should look into unconstructed (also known as deconstructed or soft) jackets a lot more simply because they suit our hot climate. I’d like to see more men in well-tailored unconstructed jackets in 2016.
- Not understanding trouser breaks: A lot of men I’ve come across have trouser breaks that are slightly longer than the full break that can be seen below. You might prefer a full trouser break but it doesn’t always look smart.
- Failing to dress for your body shape: Pot bellies are common due to the cuisine – it’s probably a good idea not to wear clothes that hug your body. Because the runway models have them on doesn’t mean it’s okay for everyone – as point 3 above mentions, the ‘right’ fit is the most important part of style. Dress for your body shape and wear clothes that complement it.
- Failing to understand that all colours are not for every skin tone: Most Nigerians will fall under the deep, cool, clear and muted colouring. Each of these colouring categories have colour shades that work best for them, get to know yours and you’ll be glad you did.
- Wearing the most expensive brands doesn’t make you stylish: This is quite self explanatory. Wearing all the top expensive brand names often creates the illusion of being stylish – this is far from the truth. Style comes from within and can’t be bought.
Statistics show that men love practical advice – I hope the above and the other posts that have been put on the blog have been practical and useful since the launch in September this year. Let’s start the new year on the right note with the right information. Happy new year in advance and continue to stay fresh.