Saturday, May 19, 2012

Axiom 22: Clothes Make the Man

"Clothes and manners do not make the man; but, when he is made, they greatly improve his appearance." -Henry Ward Beecher

"Keeping your clothes well pressed will keep you from looking hard pressed.
-Coleman Cox

When it comes to fashion most men are clueless. A lot of men assume it is a topic that only women need to know about. In reality one of the quickest ways to change the world's perception of you is to change the way you dress. My rule for what clothes to wear is simple: dress one notch nicer than expected. In professional situations it sets you apart from everyone else. Managers and clients will notice you and take you more seriously. In personal situations it will help you exude self-confidence.

If you have plenty of money you can stop reading now and go find a personal stylist to make sure you're looking great. If you're not rich and you're just a regular clueless guy like I once was here are a few tips to help you dress to impress.

  • Don't buy cheap clothes. Stop buying clothing at places that sell low end merchandise. I understand you may not have $120 to buy a nice pair of jeans, but the $20 pair of jeans at the bargain store will look like crap every time. From now on either pay full price for nice clothes and add pieces to your collection slowly over time, or search a little harder to find the nice stuff at discounted prices. I have no problem finding high-end jeans that normally sell for $120 for $35 at places like Nordstrom Rack or Dillard's Outlet. You can find the good stuff for cheap too if you look a little harder.
  • Buy stylish clothes. Just because you spend a lot of money (or something is of good quality) doesn't mean that it is stylish or that it will look good on you. Try a bunch of stuff on to see what works best for you and make sure you're shopping at places that keep stylish brands in stock.
  • Buy Clothes that fit. Every man should know what size suit coat, shoes, dress shirt, and pants he wears. Get professionally measured from time to time and save the info on your smartphone so you can refer to it quickly when you are shopping for clothes. Clothes that are too baggy or too tight will look stupid on you.
  • Accessorize. The pants and shirt are the main pieces to any outfit, but the little things can add up also. Cuff-links, socks, a nice watch, a nice scarf, and other accessories all add to the synergy of your look.
  • Know when to wear white socks. White socks are for working out or mowing the lawn. Wear dark socks or dress socks for all other occasions. 
  • Dry clean your clothes. Take care of your nice clothes and always have them properly dry-cleaned. This includes jeans too. There's nothing more ridiculous than wearing a nice button-down shirt that is so wrinkled it looks like you pulled it out of the glove box of your car.