Unlike with women, it often isn't hard for a man to stand out from the crowd as most men are such piss poor dressers (remember a peak in a guys underwear drawer speaks volumes about how he dresses - See our upcoming post, "Reading the Underwear When He Leaves").
Often one of the easiest ways for a man to stand out is to wear a bow tie (a real one, not one of those clip on types). This means that you have to be able to tie one and as the saying goes, if you aren't smart enough to tie one, you aren't smart enough to wear one. The other drawback facing political pundits who wear bow ties is that they often ruin their effect by talking, as bow ties make most wearers look smart. Then they talk and quickly dispel this aura.......
Now lets take a look at shirts. A few issues to deal with here for most men.
- Unlike the miracle that is the elastic waistband, no one has yet to develop an elastic shirt collar, which is a problem because not only do men, like women, gain weight, shirt collars often shrink when cleaned (if only people could shrink when they get cleaned). This often gives the effect that the tie, rather than the top button, is being used to hold the shirt together at the top. In this situation, you have two options, one more optimal than the other. The less optimal option is to use the collar expander. The better option is to get new shirts, but buy them in a range of collar sizes (yes, by our late twenties and early thirties we should all have some fat-me and skinny-me clothing, it is only good common sense.)
- Shirt Styles. List Rouge is an excellent resource for men's shirts. Go with an Italian, Venetian or Elysee collar. Don't even consider a European style collar unless you want to look like an extra from Good Fellas and if you are not Montel Williams, don't think band collar for even a second. Remember, when you buy, think of versatility. Can you wear the shirt with both a suit and do the open-shirt, khaki-pant (do not, I repeat, wear Dockers, they scream suburban dad) venture capitalist thingy?
- Suits. Let's assume, safely or unsafely, that as a guy you have suits and schlepping clothing with very little in between. Let's also assume that the Bryanboy (Andrew Sullivan's alter ego?) look isn't for you, so we are going to stick you in some suits that suit.
- Get yourself some classics, don't chase the fads unless you want to keep doing that season after season. It is one thing to have a few styles of suits that you stick with, it is another to buy some ridiculous big shoulder pad jacket or zoot suit just because it was "in" that year. You'll get one season out of it before it looks like a Halloween costume. Here is a classic 2-button, peak lapel that you should pay some attention too. Consider it a $500 well spent. Maybe you already spend more than $500 on a suit, but I happen to believe that one should also invest in other things, like ties and more importantly, presents for the wife (hint, hint). Or, if you aren't feeling very generous towards your wife, you can always visit Savile Row (or just steal their cartoons here)........He does all the work, you take all the compliments..........just bring your wallet :)
Up next, shoes to groove in........