Menswear 101: fitting shirt, clean shoes, no problem

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I admit I’m not the most up to date on men’s fashion — mostly because I don’t have to wake up every morning and put together an outfit from a man’s wardrobe. But, I do know a well-dressed man when I see one, trust me. So, for all the guys at Stevens, here are a few tips on styling.

First things first: wear clothes that fit. This may seem obvious, but it makes a big difference when you’re not squeezing into a shirt that’s too small or drowning in one that’s too big. You might also want to dig through your wardrobe and think about getting rid of anything old and ratty, or retiring them to the “yardwork and only yardwork” pile. It’s worth it to invest in a nice pair of jeans without holes or ripped hems and pair of shoes that don’t look like they just survived the zombie apocalypse.

The good news is that dressing well doesn’t equate to dressing up. You can still look trendy in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt, so long as they meet my previous criteria. The key to jeans is finding the perfect pair, which can be different for everyone. Personally, I’m a big fan of a slim to straight leg jean in a blue dark wash. A happy medium cut that works well on most body types. Of course, you want to buy what feels most comfortable to you, and luckily, most cuts of jean, from skinny to wide-leg, are currently in fashion. If you want to get technical, the general rule of thumb is this: for a thinner frame, gravitate towards slim cuts. A stockier frame should lean towards looser fits.

For coloring, a dark wash automatically looks dressier, but a light-wash looks more laid-back and relaxed in warmer weather. If you want to try adding some variety to your wardrobe, fall is the perfect time to try out maroon, tan, and dark green jeans. A pair of khaki jeans can be a nice change from the usual blue. If you want to take it a step further, step away from jeans and try a pair of chinos or dress pants.

So what about the top? On crisper fall days when it pays to layer, there’s a little thing I like to call the three-piece outfit. For whatever reason, adding one extra piece to your outfit instantly turns you into a Ralph Lauren ad. In reality, this works because layering means you have the opportunity to add more color and texture to an outfit, which creates more interest. This can be done in two very simple ways: the open shirt and jacket. The first is just adding a button down over your favorite tee without doing up the buttons. This works best with denim or flannel over a plain or graphic tee. The second is as easy as adding a lightweight jacket to whatever you’re wearing. This look has room for tons of options but I really think it’s worth investing in a black or brown leather or suede jacket in either a motorcycle or bomber style. A blazer can also be a fun alternative to jacket and works over either a T-shirt or button-down shirt.

If you’re willing to get a bit more dressed up, sweaters are great options for guys in the fall. Plain or patterned, a complete outfit would pair a sweater over a button down and maybe even throw a blazer over top. A button down cardigan works as an alternative, which can be styled in much the same way.

Last, but certainly not least, are shoes. If you take anything away from this article it should be to simply pick a shirt, pair of pants, and shoes that are all clean and all fit. You could have put a while into choosing the perfect outfit but if you throw on your muddy running shoes it’s not going to matter. Sneakers can be incredibly fashionable, just keep your “going out” sneakers clean and separate from the ones you run and work in. You also don’t want this pair to look like a pair of track shoes. Vans are a good example of a lifestyle shoe but Nike, New Balance, and all your favorite brands make sneakers that double as comfy and stylish. From there, if you’re really committed, you could try a pair of ankle boots or loafers in brown or black leather to dress up your outfits that much more.