The importance of the little things are often overlooked, but in fashion it simply cannot be.
In men’s fashion, there are plenty of suit staples that any man should have in his wardrobe – black, navy blue, and grey. Going to the menswear section in any retail store gets boring quick, it doesn’t matter whether or not you’re in the highest end retailers such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Barneys, or something more affordable. It seems that mens fashion always has little variation and roughly the same colours when you buy off the rack.
Do you want to stand out, appear more sophisticated and enhance your style? If so, it all lies within the accessories.
Because us men have little variation, we must shift our focus from the suit to the things we accessorize with – shoes, ties, pocket squares and cufflinks amongst others. People who lack taste and style will think just because a man is dressed up in a suit and dress shoes that they are classy or stylish. They’re wrong, why? Because when you’re in an environment filled with people in suits as well, you no longer stand out.
Ties are often something that can make or break a look that you’re trying to achieve. When matching a tie with a suit and a shirt, I tend to follow a general rule: two out of the three can be of the same pattern. This means, if your suit (whether 2 or 3 piece) is patterned, and your shirt is patterned, don’t get a patterned tie. This is a fashion faux-pas that is commonly made amongst men. As with all rules, there are always exceptions – but only if you know what you’re doing. Neckties should be something that enhances the color scheme and make you stand out, not make you look like a mess. Another general tip, if the shirt is a plain solid color, the tie should have some sort of pattern, whether it’s stripes, plaid, a small repeating design, or paisley. The paisley design is a favourite of mine because it gives a more “sophisticated” look, rather than a striped pattern that doesn’t say much about your personality.
Ranging from $10 to $200, pocket squares are yet another thing that continues the statement of the necktie. Without a pocket square, the image simply isn’t complete. It’s the finishing cherry on top after everything else is assembled. There is no general rule of your pocket square needing to match your tie, as long as it compliments your shirt and tie. There are several ways to fold a pocket square, but the most commonly seen ways are the one point, the square, and the puff. It doesn’t need to be too extravagant because pocket squares aren’t supposed to be the focal point of evening wear .
Cufflinks are a nice way add a little bit of spice to your shirt. They’re only usable with french cuffs, which is unfortunate, but it further adds to the look if you’re trying to achieve a sophisticated one. Cufflinks range anywhere from $8 (knot cufflinks) all the way to the millions (a staggering 4.1 million from Jacob & Co). Granted, you certainly don’t need to be spending too much on cufflinks, since the point is to hold a french cuff together – but the benefits of finding a unique pair can put you in a completely different level of standing apart from the crowd. In the picture above you’ll see a pair of cufflinks from Ralph Lauren’s Purple Label, which is a truly a one of a kind piece.
Everything matters, from the top to the bottom, and that includes shoes. Having a clean, polished pair of shoes shows that you care about the details of your image. With styles such as the classic lace up, wingtips, buckles, loafers, and others, this is one category of menswear that has plenty of options and according variations. Black lace up shoes are the safest bet that a man can make when choosing shoes. This style a classic, and will always be in, likewise with wingtips. If you’re feeling a little bit more adventurous, the single or double monk strap is the choice of the debonair man. John Lobb’s monk strap shoes are amongst the most iconic buckle shoes in the world (see picture above). Proper shoe care is also essential. The purchase of shoe trees will help keep the shape and absorb moisture from the shoe, which will help the shoes look new every single time you wear them. Another key thing to keep in mind is that shoes should once again compliment the rest of your style.
Photo credits: fubiz.net, styleforum.net, chuckbasslately.blogspot.ca, thedreamteam.fr, mrporter.com