Once you’ve got the basics of style down, it’s important to focus on those little things that can make or break your personal style and everyday look. Something as simple as a little mistake can totally throw off your look or ruin otherwise good style choices. Oftentimes its something as simple as how you present a particular choice. No matter what it is, focusing on the proper details and nailing those can save you from potential disaster. Some of these mistakes might be obvious but some you may not even know you are doing!
So, here are 10 ways you may be killing your style!
Being Overly Self-Conscious
Trying too hard can be as bad as not trying at all. Wearing trendy items that aren’t you or not wearing things that make you feel comfortable and confident are quick ways to ruin your overall style. People notice how you feel and if you’re feeling good about what you’re wearing and looking good, it will stand out.
Wearing Clothing That Doesn’t Work for your body type
Working with your body type is a huge part of getting well-fitting clothing. Choosing items that will flatter and fit well is crucial. Some easy items to avoid are henley shirts if you’re not fit or muscular, Chelsea boots if you’re a bigger guy, and classic straight-legged jeans if you’re a thinner guy. Check out all of our Fit Guides for tips about different body types and how things should fit.
Yikes, this can go wrong so easily, over-accessorizing can be a huge problem. Johnny Depp, you are not. Go easy on rings, bracelets, and other flashy items and go for more subtle, refined accessories to show some personality or flair. Stick with 1 or 2 items max, like a pocket square and a watch.
Wearing too much cologne
A little goes a long way, and there’s nothing worse than smelling someone from 5 feet away. Nobody (especially women) wants that. If you can smell yourself, it’s too much.
Not paying attention to the details
Again, the little things matter, so take care to focus on them. Things like not lint rolling your clothing (especially dark shirts, suits, and jackets), wearing wrinkled clothing (just get our recommended steamer), and not tucking in your shoelaces really matter with your overall look.
Speaking of tucking in shoelaces (something Ashley is always super focused on as a stylist), our friends at Straight Laces have an ingenious shoelace set up that creates a clean, tucked look and basically turns all your shoes into slip on’s. It’s such a smart, useful product and we’re using them on all our shoes personally and with Ashley’s clients. Seriously, they’re that good. Just for our readers and viewers, we’ve got a deal for 40% off 3 or more laces! Shop here and use code AshWeston40.
Not dressing your age
We’ve discussed how to dress well in your 40’s before and a big part of it is embracing your age and wearing items that are classy and age-appropriate.
Wearing dirty, old shoes
Hopefully, this goes without saying, but a bad pair of shoes can absolutely ruin your entire look. Keep them in good condition and shined up.
Not Grooming Regularly
Overgrown hair, beards, and fingernails are no bueno. Make sure you’re taking proper care of your grooming and putting your best foot forward. Especially important in professional environments. We’ve got a ton of tips in all of our grooming guides.
When items are faded (especially shirts, pants and sweaters), it’s time to send them off to the donation bin and get some replacements. If your sweaters are pilled, you just need to get a sweater shaver (we like this one best) to remove the little balls and get it back in good shape.
Ties are a fundamental accessory in a man’s essential wardrobe, they can add personality, elegance, and formality to many types of looks, no matter what your personal style is. Rules about style and formality, in both work and social settings, are changing so quickly that it can be tough to know when you should and shouldn’t wear a tie.
So, in this episode of 2 Minute Tuesday we’re discussing when and how men should wear a tie! For a full breakdown on our favorite ties and specific tips, make sure you check out our tie article!
A key thing to remember about ties starts with what you should be wearing them with. Dressier looks like suits and sport coats are definitely options you can and should wear a tie with. For more of a hybrid look, try wearing a tie with a bomber jacket, it can give your casual look a cool dressy vibe. One word of warning though, you don’t want to wear just a tie on its own without a jacket, it just doesn’t look right.
With What Types of Dress Codes?
When to wear a tie can also be determined by the dress code or how formal your place of work happens to be. Dress codes like “Formal”, “Cocktail Attire” or “Cocktail Party” often call for a suit and a tie. Business casual tends to lean slightly more casual but a tie can be appropriate given the right scenario. One tip we love, try a knit tie in those less-dressy situations, they’re not as dressy as a silk tie and will give your look a cool vibe.
If you aren’t totally sure about dress codes, ultimately you want to go with the crowd and let that dictate when a tie is appropriate. Always being stylish and a bit more dressed up is a great thing most of the time. But, you don’t want to be significantly overdressing for occasions or workplaces that don’t call for it. It can seem like you’re trying too hard or attempting to stand out, and not in a good way.
We’ve talked about how important it is to regularly clean out your wardrobe of items that are old, out of style, and no longer worth it. This goes for your accessories too. Accessories are a key part of your overall style, and a few wrong choices or out of date items can easily ruin an otherwise great look.
1. Wide bracelets
My position on this is well known, it’s time to ditch the stacked bracelets and wide leather straps. Their time has come and gone.
2. Too-wide ties
It’s important to keep an eye on your tie’s width. Not everyone should wear a skinny tie (it should be proportionate to your body type and suit style) but anything wider than 3” is just going to look out of date and out of style.
3. Belts with big buckles or large logos
Another item I’ve talked about before, get rid of ‘em! Belts should be minimal. The same goes for super-wide belt widths and contrasting stitching, definitely a big no.
4. Lapel flowers/pins
I don’t mind a bit of flair, like a thoughtfully chosen pocket square or tie bar, but at a certain point, less is more. You don’t need to add on a lapel pin/flower in addition to all the other accessories you’re wearing, it’s too much.
5. Extra-wide tie bars
If your tie bar goes past your tie, you’re in trouble. Additionally, anything more than 2 inches wide, (unless you’re a broader guy with a 44” chest or larger), is just too long.
6. Colored shoelaces
Another trend that had its day, simple and understated is the way to go with shoelaces. You want that nice pair of shoes to do the talking, not the brightly-colored laces.
7. Big, chunky metal rings
A simple band or signet ring is just fine, but large bulky rings just look dated and over the top.
As I’ve talked about before, details like well-chosen accessories can make a huge impact on your outfit. Whether you call it a tie bar or tie clip, this classic accessory is an easy way to add a bit of extra flair to your dressy outfits. But, there are a few easy tips you need to know when selecting and wearing one.
The two biggest, and really, only, mistakes you can make with a tie bar are: wearing it too high or low and using a tie bar that is not the proper size for your tie width. So let’s fix those problems once and for all.
Choosing The Right Size Tie Bar
The key here is to make sure your tie bar does not exceed the length of your tie width and hang over the edge, definitely not a good look.
For A Slim Tie
If you’re wearing a slimmer 2” – 2.5” wide tie, then you want to choose a 1” or 1.5” tie bar.
For A Standard Tie
If you’re wearing a standard 3” tie, then you want to use a 2” tie bar.
Now that you know how wide your tie bar should be, let me show you how to properly wear one with two different approaches.
How To Wear A Tie Bar
Now that you’ve got the right size tie bar selected, let’s move on to the right way to wear it. I highly recommend sticking to one of these two methods as any other way can throw off your entire look.
The OG Approach
This is the tried and true classic way to wear a tie bar. Your tie bar will be placed lower down on your tie which will prevent your tie from moving as much. It’s a more utilitarian use of your tie bar without it showing much. With your blazer on, attach your tie bar about 2 buttons lower than the breast pocket of your jacket. There you go, the OG approach.
The Modern Approach
The modern approach is my personal favorite because it shows off the accessory a bit more and whether I’m styling for GQ or my clients for the red carpet, this is what I prefer do. To achieve this attach your tie bar slightly below your breast pocket – about 0.5”. Be careful though, any higher and it’ll look ridiculous.
No matter which way you choose to wear it, the right tie bar is an easy upgrade to your accessory game; try one out today!
I’m not going to tell you what the reviewed product is here because that’ll ruin it! But any self-respecting man should own at one of these things if he wants to be well-dressed and look damn good. Check out my other article/video about this very same item.
Watches are one of the few pieces of jewelry that any man can wear that is universally acceptable. Other jewelry like rings, earrings, necklaces and bracelets will have their detractors (myself included).
So for that reason alone, a watch is an accessory that every man should have. From a practical perspective, they are also nice for telling the date and time. But obviously not as required now that we’re carrying smartphones around with us all day long.
Just like I discussed in the series intro, there’s something amazing about owning a finely crafted piece of history and engineering perfection.
Whether you’re a watch guy or not, I think any self-respecting man should own a watch or two.
Before I get into the exact watches you should own, let me first answer the most common questions I get from clients, readers and viewers about watches:
What type of watch to wear with what outfits?
Suit = Dress Watch – you should never, ever wear a diving/chronograph/sport watch or anything but a leather or other hide strap with a suit. It drives me crazy when I see metal bracelets or nato straps with suits because they’re so casual in nature and they take away from the formality of a suit. It’s a SUPER amateur move.
Business Casual or casual outfits – Dress watch or Sport watch with a metal bracelet, leather/nato/rubber band. You can also wear a dress watch with them, but it depends on how “polished” your casual outfit is. If you’re in shorts and flip flops, that might not look right with a dress watch.
How to Match a Watch To Your Outfit
It’s pretty simple. If you’re wearing:
A suit with black dress shoes and belt. You should be wearing a dress watch with a black leather strap.
A Suit with Brown dress shoes and belt. You should be wearing a dress watch with a brown leather strap.
Anything outside of a suit, even if you’re wearing dress shoes, you can wear any type of watch you’d like – that includes dress watches as well as any sport, chrono, diver, pilot, etc. type of watches.
What size should your watch be?
If you have a smaller wrist, around 6″, then go with a 40mm or smaller.
If you have average to a wider wrist, around 7″ or bigger, then go with a 40 to 44mm sized watch.
Most older watches, including Rolex’s diving watches, were 38mm or less, but they’ve since shifted to 40mm to follow the trend of larger watches now.
Traditionally, dress watches were made to be smaller and fit under your shirt cuffs, while diving or chronograph watches are bigger so they’re easer to read while doing the activities they were designed for.
It’s really up to your personal preference. I’m a little new school in that I think dress watches don’t need to be tiny – my favorite IWC dress watch (below) is very large for a dress watch, but I still love it. Unless your wrists are extremely small, then any size between 36 and 44mm will be fine. Which is fortunate because almost all watches fall within these sizes anyways. It’s when you get into vintage watches that the sizes tend to be smaller. So if you prefer a smaller watch, then vintage may be right for you.
How Many Watches Should You Own?
To cover all your bases, you should own 2 to 3 watches. You can absolutely get away with owning only one (which I’ll discuss shortly), but 2 or 3 different types of watches will cover you for all the outfits and scenarios you’ll encounter. A lot of my clients who are into watches own usually double or triple that amount, but we’re talking about the barest of essentials right now and anything else would be a speciality or just not used as much.
What Watches Should You Own?
1. Silver Dress Watch with a Black Leather Strap
Here’s the basics of what this watch should be. If you own one watch, this should be it. That way it’ll cover you for the most scenarios. You’ll also need a brown leather band to swap out as your outfit accessories dictate according to the matching rules I discussed earlier. So scroll to the bottom to check out my favorite band/strap site to get your extra straps.
Your black leather strapped watch should have the following features:
You want a silver case because, just like with the hardware on your belts, it’ll match with everything. If you were to get a watch with a gold or black case and black leather band, it won’t match as well or be too sporty to complement the rest of your essential wardrobe items.
As for the size of the case, that’ll depend on your preference and what looks best on you, but a classic dress watch is supposed to be very thin and small (sub 40MM, usually), but I’m a little new school in this regard and don’t mind a taller or larger case, something like the 44mm IWC cases is fine, but right on the edge, for me. Honestly, go smaller if you have a small wrist, and bigger, if you have a wider wrist.
The dial of your watch should be white because it’ll match perfectly with everything you could possibly throw at it. Black, blue, skeleton or other dials won’t match as well or will come off as too sporty or gaudy. I just think of all the sleezy salesman guys wearing their Movado watches at the bar after work – bleh.
Black Leather Strap
You can also use a leather alternative or other hide – kangaroo, ostrich, alligator, etc. The one thing you should never do is wear a nato or rubber strap with a suit. If I can be blunt – it looks like shit and is an amateur move. The quickest way to look like a teenager or style blogger is to wear a nato or rubber strap with every outfit. Those should be reserved for casual outfits only.
In regard to the stitching on the strap, I’ll forever dislike contrasting stitching, just like I do on wallets, so ideally, the stitching should match the color of the strap.
Subdials or complications
I’m a little new school in that I don’t believe a dress watch needs to have the cleanest dial possible. I don’t mind a few subdials or complications like a power reserve, subdial seconds, moon phase or month/day date. Just don’t go crazy and use a chronograph with a leather strap as a dress watch, please.
2. Silver or Gold Dress watch with a brown leather strap
The requirements for your brown leather-strapped dress watch are nearly identical to the black leather strapped dress watch above – with one major exception:
This is the one time when a gold case is acceptable because the dominant color of the accessories you’d be matching with would be brown, regardless of the hardware color of your belt. I’d still prefer a silver case if given the choice, but a gold case would work just as well.
If you have the budget for only one watch, or only want to own one dress watch, then make sure to get a brown band to swap out with your silver cased watch as your outfit accessories dictate. It’s a little bit of a pain, but not so much that this isn’t an option. Changing watch straps is quite easy and I have a great place to get really nice straps for cheap.
These watches are often called Sport watches, as well. You want this type of watch to round out your collection because it goes with any outfit from business casual on down. Unless you’re wearing a very sharp casual outfit, you shouldn’t be wearing a dress watch. That’s when a sport watch comes in to play. And please, for the love of all that is holy, please don’t wear your sport watch with a suit. I immediately know a guy doesn’t know much about looking good when I see a sport watch with a suit.
Here’s the details of what I look for in a good sport watch.
Black or Blue Dial
If I had my choice, I would choose a black or blue dial, with a slight edge to blue, as long as it’s more navy like Omega’s Speedmaster in Titanium (below) and not a royal blue like the Rolex Submariner in 16k white gold. The latter is just way too loud.
Silver Metal Bracelet
There’s nothing better for casual outfits than a diving or chronograph watch with a metal bracelet – in either titanium or stainless steel. Just like in the dress watches above, I prefer these materials and colors over a black or gold bracelet because it goes with everything and all the hardware on your belts, tie bars, etc. I also really love to see the metal bracelets swapped out for leather, rubber, perlon or nato straps, as well, but metal bracelets are a necessity for any sport watch – so you want to make sure it comes with that, first. For different watch straps, scroll down to the bottom of this article for my favorite place to get additional straps.
First and foremost, there’s no substitute for OEM straps or bands. But a really close second is my favorite aftermarket strap/band site – CheapestNatoStraps.com. Don’t let the name fool you, they’re neither cheap, in terms of quality, and they make a lot more than nato straps. I’ve been swapping out watch straps and bands for clients for a long time now and this is the only place I go for aftermarket straps.
I talked to the owner, Sofie, and she was kind enough to offer you an additional 10% off your purchase if you use offer code: AshleyWeston
A big thanks to reader/viewer Travis and the team over at www.Horobox.com for letting me bounce thoughts and ideas off them and providing their expertise and insight for this story. Definitely check them out!
If you’re relatively new to pocket squares, the worst thing you can do is go overboard with them. I see it all the time. It’s a very fine line between looking sharp and tacky. Classy and subtle wins out over loud and flamboyant every time. So please don’t complicate your pocket squares any more than necessary.
Before we get into the pocket squares you should own, let me answer some of the common questions I get asked about pocket squares.
Do I always need to wear one with all my suits and blazers?
No, but I’d suggest wearing one more often than not. To me, the more casual the outfit, the less necessary one becomes. But even then, the quickest way to add a little extra polish to an outfit is with a pocket square.
How Do I Match My Pocket Square to my outfit?
First off – if you’re matching your pocket square to your tie exactly – stop immediately.
Matching your pocket square to your outfit is pretty straight forward.
The safest thing you can do, which looks great 100% of the time, is to match your pocket square to your shirt. You will NEVER go wrong there – as long as you’re not wearing some obnoxious dress shirt color like red or orange. Even then, it wouldn’t look… horrible. So do that if you’re going tie-less or wearing a black tie.
Solid tie that isn’t black
Make sure your pocket square is a similar color (not exact) to the color of your tie. Or, if you’re using a white pocket square with colored tipping, make sure the tipping is a similar shade of the same color.
Find a color in the tie and have your pocket square, either the tipping, pattern, or solid color of your pocket square have a similar color in it. It doesn’t need to match perfectly, but it should have a similar shade of the color as your tie. So if you’re wearing a blue tie, have a blue shade in your pocket square.
Match your pocket square to your dress shirt. It doesn’t need to be perfectly matching, just a similar shade of the same color. That will keep a nice contrast between the items you’re wearing.
Again, match your pocket square to your shirt color.
So if you’re wearing a blue suit and white dress shirt, then you can wear a white pocket square.
What Material Should My Pocket Squares Be?
This one is simple: cotton.
Cotton works in 100% of situations, no matter the outfit, color, etc. and goes perfectly with your essential silk ties. So don’t waste your time or complicate things further by even considering other materials.
I occasionally use wool or linen pockets squares with clients or on shoots, but they have very specific use cases and cotton pocket squares would still work in all of these situations, so stick with cotton and you’ll be just fine. For silk pocket squares, I think I can count on one hand how many times I’ve used them over the course of my career.
What Colors and Patterns Should My Pocket Square be?
I’ll always default to classic and timeless colors and patterns so stick with these and they’ll go with any suit or jacket you’ll own:
Plain white (if you have 1 color, this is the color)
White with gray or navy tipping
Navy or gray gingham patterns
Any other types of patterns or colors and you’re venturing into territory that’s outside the scope of this series and where things can go wrong very quickly if you don’t know what you’re doing – and trust me, most guys don’t know what they’re doing in this department, even the so-called “experts”.
I’ll do a whole other video or series about patterns and materials later on, but that’s next level stuff and is not appropriate for the Essential Accessories Series since these are the items that need to work with my Men’s Wardrobe Essentials and also need to work for every guy, regardless of his age or body type.
Honestly, it’s hard to go wrong with any pocket squares, as long as they’re cotton and you’ve stuck to plain white, white with colored tipping and navy or gray gingham patterns. So if you have a preferred place to get your pocket squares go ahead and use them.
I get hit up by a gazillion tie and pocket square companies all day long, but for all my pocket square needs – and they’re not paying me to say this – I use TheTieBar.com.
I’ve been a customer of theirs since they were a little company, who didn’t know who I was or what I did for a living and and they’ve continued to impress me each and every time I order from them. Suffice it to say, they’re amazing. And trust me, I use them A LOT.
The Tie Bar Solid White Cotton Pocket Square
The Tie Bar Solid Pocket Square with Navy Border
The Tie Bar Cotton Pocket Square with Dark Charcoal Border
Just like all the other essential accessory pieces, you want your ties to work perfectly with all the items in your essential wardrobe. If you own a suit or blazer, then you absolutely need ties! Unfortunately, I see a lot of guys also completely crapping the bed with their ties.
the wrong material or fabric weights for the outfit
A big mistake most men make, whether they’re just starting out or have a little better handle on their personal style, is thinking they need to go overboard and have their accessories be these big statement pieces. That’s when men get into trouble.
Some men think it’s “boring” to stick to the basics, but they’re basics because they work for everybody and look timeless and sharp. And with the right accessories to round out your outfit, you’ll look well-dressed throughout your entire life. If you never own another type of tie in your life, my suggestions will cover you for every situation you’ll ever need.
How to Match Ties To An Outfit
The most common question I get about ties is how do you match them to and outfit. And it’s pretty simple:
The safest thing you can do, which looks great 100% of the time, is to have a similar color in your tie (not exact, just a similar shade) to any other color you’re wearing in your outfit – outside of your dress shirt.
So if you’re wearing a gray suit, white dress shirt and black dress shoes, wear a tie that has black or charcoal/gray in it. If you’re wearing a navy suit with brown dress shoes and charcoal socks, wear a blue or charcoal tie. If you’re wearing a gray blazer with dark wash jeans and brown boots, wear a tie that has some blue or charcoal in it. Brown leather jacket and boots, wear a tie with some brown in it.
Anything outside of that is next level stuff and can go wrong quickly if you’re not sure what you’re doing. You can go your entire life only following this rule and you’ll never go wrong – I promise.
What materials should your ties be?
You really only need ties in two materials to cover you for the whole year.
Silk Ties Silk ties work year-round with every kind of outfit where a tie can be worn – dress, business and casual.
Knitted/Woven Ties For the Spring and Summer months only – Check out Summer Essentials Ebook for details about those specific ties, but since they’re not for year-round wear, I won’t cover them in this article.
Any other types of materials, like pure wool or linen, have pretty small use cases and definitely won’t be as versatile as the above options and you should wait to get them until you’re much further on your style journey.
What color ties should you own?
Like all the items I recommend in the essential wardrobe series, you want to stick to black, charcoal, and navy, with one exception – which you can throw in there, if you like, and that’s silver or light gray.
These colors will go with 99% of the outfits you’ll wear. Just like with tie materials, any other colors will have specific use cases and are outside the scope of this series.
Once you’ve gotten those basic colors, then and only then can you start expanding to lighter shades or darker or brighter colors like burgundy, brown and other pastel or jewel tones. Again, that’s once you get more comfortable and really understand how to add them to an outfit.
But if choosing tie colors is still tough for you, then those default colors go with pretty much everything and you’ll never have to worry about not looking sharp and put together.
What patterns of ties should I own?
First, stick with plain, solid colored ties in the colors I discussed in the previous section. Then, you can move onto some striped ties with no more than 3 colors in them (ensuring at least the major color in the tie is one the colors I discussed above) and you can also throw in some smaller polka dotted ties in there, too. Also in the same colors I discussed previously.
What Size Tie Shoud You Own?
Follow these rules for your tie widths based on your height and body type so your proportions will always be balanced. Trust me, I deal with clients of all shapes and sizes all day long and these tie widths will work for you.
Tie lengths really don’t come into play because most places you’ll go don’t make tall or short versions anyways and they’re not entirely necessary unless you’re ridiculously tall (over 6’5″) or short (under 4’10”).
To take your tie width measurements, just use the widest part of the tie near the bottom.
Under 5ft 8in and very thin
You need to get a 2″ width tie. If you’re not sure if you’re very thin, then you probably have an average build. Under no circumstance should you ever wear this width of tie unless you’re very thin and under 5’8” because it will look silly on you. I’d say that at least half the men I see wearing skinny ties shouldn’t be. Don’t fall into that group!
Under 5ft 8in & average/broad Build
Wear a tie that is 2.5″ wide.
5’8” to 6’3″ tall
thin to average Build
Wear a 2.5″ wide tie.
You need a 3″ wide tie.
6’4″ tall and above (no matter your build)
You need a 3″ wide tie no matter what. This will help balance your proportions.
The Best Men’s Ties
I’ve been a customer and user of TheTieBar.com for years now, and they continually prove to me that they are, by far, the best place to get quality, affordable ties. I have never taken a dime from them to promote their products because they deserve all the praise and business in the world. Unless a designer has specifically made a tie for a client, I use them every time.