HOW TO | Subtly Avoid Killing Your Style

Hopefully by now, you are all over which buttons on your suit to fasten (never the bottom, unless it’s a one-button), what shade a leather belt should be (the same as your shoes) and the best place to store ‘humorous’/slogan tees (a fireplace). But there’s some subtler slip-ups that even men with otherwise on-point style can overlook. Think of these as the inner sanctum style rules. The kind of things that most guys won’t notice, but which those in the know cannot unsee. Read ahead and let your initiation to fashion’s upper echelons begin.

(1)  Over-stuffing every pocket on your clothing.

Even though technology companies have shifted towards shrinking everything down until it is unnoticeable, when you stuff all your gadgets and extras in your suit pockets, the sleek lines and streamlined silhouette you’ve tried so hard to create are instantly ruined by unsightly bulges. Instead, decant everything, from phone to wallet (it is time to downsize from that old, broken wallet stuffed with coins, receipts and membership cards to long-bankrupt video rental stores) into a bag. If you’re travelling light, a portfolio is the perfect alternative. 

(2)  Wearing A Pocket Square That Looks Like A Japanese Peace Offering

We are not going to weigh into the whole should-you-shouldn’t-you pocket square debate here. But if you do fancy some silk in your top pocket, then at least withhold your origami urges. Your guide here should be the Italian concept of sprezzatura – an aesthetic that looks almost accidental. It speaks of nonchalance, of an understanding that appearance is interesting but not worth obsessing about. A square of silk that resembles the napkin arrangements at a pretentious restaurant only marks you out as a man of fuss. Just slot it in, then don’t touch it again for the rest of the day. The more it collapses, the more Italian insouciance you embody.

(3)  Leaving Your Shoes Laced Like You Wore Them Out Of The Shop

Shoes come with zig-zag lacing by default because it looks tidy without a foot in. But whether you’re more partial to sneakers or brogues, it is a pattern that does your footwear a disservice because the off-centre lacing pulls the upper when you tighten up, warping it. Instead, try rocking an individual lacing pattern, that not only protects and supports your feet, but also personalises your entire look. Since shoes come in such a glut of styles, how you fasten them should also echo their aesthetic. But remember to keep your technique uniform. If you start crossing over-under, keep that pattern all the way up your shoe. Consistency counts.