I love men’s fashion. What got me hooked was buying three custom tailored business shirts at James Fashion in Bangkok, Thailand. I wasn’t really into the clothing game before that point, but when I got my shirts and tried them on, it was an experience that changed my mind. The fit was perfect, they looked great and my self esteem was instantly raised. That’s the moment I became interested in timeless men’s fashion – a dressed up style that NEVER gets old and always looks good.
I recently got my diploma as a men’s style consultant, and one of the biggest takeaways I learned during the course was to avoid what teacher Antonio Centeno calls “The whimsical winds” of fashion.
What does he mean by that? Trends fluctuate, and what’s hot today will highly likely be passe in three months. Don’t fall for the temptation to jump on these trends. Instead, a man should slowly build his wardrobe based on timeless pieces of clothing that looked great 50 years ago and likely will look great during the next 50 years. Following the whimsical trends will leave you with an empty wallet and a chaotic and growing wardrobe of low quality garments that you can’t mix and match and can’t wear anymore because they aren’t in style.
Here are three current whimsical trends that particularly burn my eyes, and that many guys seem keen to jump on. Best advice? Avoid like the plague.
Extravagantly unbuttoned dress shirts
I started noticing this trend on Instagram a while back. Suddenly, it seemed cool to wear a dress shirt like flamboyant Mediterranean beach hustler. Not far after, I saw men of all ages and styles jumping on this ridiculous trend.
I remember sitting in an outdoor cafe in central Singapore and a few tables away from me, a middle aged, over weight office worker with a very hairy upper body tried to pull this off. His shirt was unbuttoned down to the belly button, exposing his hairy chest and stomach for everyone to see. Needless to say, he looked like a clown.
Guys, just don’t go there. Think hard before unbuttoning the third button of your dress shirt – and for gods sake, start using an undershirt with your dress shirts. The benefits are just too many to not do it.
I can’t think of many occasions where it would be OK to unbutton this much. But in this situation, I’ll let you off the hook.
A very clownish style that burns my eyes at the moment is this notion of wearing too short pants. Do I really need to explain this further? Nobody has ever looked good in 3/4 shorts, and the last thing pants and trousers need is to imitate that. Don’t do it guys. You won’t be able to wear the pants in 3 months and it will be a poor investment that rots in your closet until you donate them.
How long should your pants be? There are a few factors to consider. Do you want to appear tall or short? A short guy would want to create vertical lines for the eye to follow, witch makes him appear taller. In that case, aim for a length of the pants that ends exactly where the shoe begins – touching the shoe slightly but avoiding a crease.
A tall guy who wants to appear shorter to blend in could have a pants length that makes a full crease and breaks up his vertical length a bit. Just don’t do anything extreme like too saggy (or too short, like above), and you’ll be able to wear your pants for the rest of your life. A good example:
Skinny & spray on
This trend has been particularly pervasive, and every night before I fall asleep I say a silent prayer to the fashion gods to end it immediately. Guys all around the world are walking around in pants that resemble female leggings and tights more than men’s clothing.
The sad thing is that the trend even has spread into formal office wear, like trousers and suits. You see them all over Instagram – the flashy guys who nail the color combinations perfectly – but fail miserably on the fit.
Leave the tight fitting clothes for your workouts guys. The fit of office clothes and most street wear should follow your body shape but not be sprayed on. A good fitting garment is meant to compliment your body – not be your body.
What to do instead?
I definitely recommend every man to learn the basics of men’s timeless fashion. Check out Antonio Centeno’s stuff. He has courses, and a good place to start if you don’t want to invest in one of them, is his YouTube channel with tons of free videos for men. Time to leave boyhood and start dressing like a man. A good Instagram account, one of my personal favorites, is modern man collection. I’ve gotten lots of inspiration there. Tons of looks and good color combinations of timeless fashion.