Back To School Style Mistakes Men Make

You’re headed back to campus and we’ve got some style tips to help you look your best this Fall. We see a lot of these common mistakes young guys make by either trying too hard or not trying enough. You want to find a balance between effort and casual dress, all while staying comfortable.

The good news is a little birt of effort in the style department goes a long way, so all of these back to school style mistakes are easily avoidable.

 

Socks and Slides

There’s no excuse ever. Pick up some Vans slip-ons, they’re just as comfortable and low-maintenance, plus they’re much more stylish.

Slip-On Picks:

Vans

SeeVees

Sperry

 

Too many logo tees

Leave that for all the annoying kids who are decked out in their logo tee, pants, and socks. They look ridiculous, don’t join them. Stick with the basics and go with something from H&M and Uniqlo, they make our favorite t-shirts that Ashley uses all the time with clients.

 

Not Putting In Any Effort

Your wardrobe doesn’t have to be fancy but you should care about what you’re wearing.  That’s why we made it easy on you and put together a list of all the essentials you need for a stylish back to school wardrobe.

 

Basketball Shorts All The Time

Why? Unless you’re on the court or on the couch you shouldn’t be wearing basketball shorts.  Grab some dark joggers instead, they’re just as comfortable and look a lot better.

Jogger Picks:

H&M

PacSun

Gap

Mack Weldon

 

Too much hypebeasting

It reeks of trying too hard. If you want to sprinkle it in here and there, totally fine. But don’t jump in with both feet and wear all the trends at once, all the time. Again, we did a back to school essentials article that sprinkles in just the right amount.

 

Not caring about grooming

Look, there might be days you don’t want to style your hair. Fine, no problem, throw on your favorite baseball cap. But, here’s no excuse to have overgrown, unwashed hair or neglected skin. Your overall appearance, especially when it concerns hygiene, will be a huge make it or break it situation when it comes to people wanting to hang out with you. Check out all of our grooming tips in our grooming section. From haircuts to skincare, we’ve got all the tips you need.

 

Wearing only workout gear

Unless your an athlete and it’s absolutely necessary because of your schedule, then there’s no excuse. It’s lazy and looks like you might be hiding a less than desirable physique. You wanna feel just as comfortable? A pair of some Adidas Ultraboosts, black joggers, a tee or a hooded sweatshirt, and a bomber jacket will look 100 times sharper.  All of our picks are right here.

Men’s Back To School Essentials

You’re headed back to campus and we’ve got some picks to help you look your best this Fall. We know that school can be stressful and the last thing you have time for is thinking about what to wear. However, we can all agree that you still want to look your best which is why picking up these pieces will take the guesswork out of what outfit you should wear because they all can go together easily and stylishly.

The key to solid back to school items are ones that are comfortable, stylish, inexpensive, and versatile, and these back to school style essentials will have you covered for the entire year.

 

 

Sneakers

You need a good everyday sneaker that’s comfortable, stylish, and affordable. We’re huge fans of the Vans Old Skool sneakers which come in a bunch of different colors and patterns, though I love the black and white ones the most. If you’re going to get a pair of white sneakers, I’d opt for leather like the Stan Smiths which are easier to keep clean than canvas kicks.

Picks:

Vans

Stan Smiths

More Sneaker Picks

Jason Markk sneaker cleaning wipes

 

Well-Fitting Jeans

Some well-fitting slim jeans in dark indigo, black or dark grey will get you through the entire year and beyond. Remember you only need to wash them every few months if you let them air out every day on the back of your chair or on a hanger.  Want some fit tips? Check out our jeans fit guide.

Picks:

Levis

Uniqlo

J. Crew

 

Pull-Over Hoodie

A pull-over hoodie is super comfortable and versatile. You can wear it on on its own or you can layer underneath your jacket when it gets cold. Definitely skip the logos here, leave that to the kids who look ridiculous in their all logo fits. One note, we’re not fans of the zip-up hoodies because they tend to look sloppy and have this weird bunching in the front when you sit.

Picks:

Champion

J.Crew

Uniqlo

H&M

 

T-Shirts

Pick up 5 or 6 of these since you’ll pretty much be wearing this every day and stick with basic colors like black, white, navy, and grey. Remember fit is king. Don’t underestimate the power of a well-fitting t-shirt and jeans outfit – it’s unbelievably attractive and that simple knowledge on fit will instantly set you apart from everyone else.

Picks:

Uniqlo

H&M

Amazon Goodthreads

The Best Budget-Friendly T-Shirts

 

A Versatile Jacket

Our favorite being a bomber jacket – whether it’s leather, nylon or cotton. It doesn’t matter what your size or build is, this jacket looks great on every guy and it’s super easy and comfortable.  It’s really easy to add layers, like a hoodie, underneath when it gets cold. Also, it just looks cool-as-hell so wear in and out of school.

Picks:

H&M

Gap

J.Crew

Bonobos

 

A Casual Button-Down Shirt

Versatility is key here and you want one that you can wear untucked or partially tucked in the front. Casual button-downs are shorter in length then dress shirts so they should hit around mid-crotch. Pair this with your jeans and sneakers, maybe throw on your bomber jacket for the ultimate, “Oh this? I just rolled out of bed and threw this on.” It looks cool, stylish, and like you put in zero effort in the best way possible. We recommend solid oxfords and darker, fall plaid casual button-downs.

Picks:

J. Crew

H&M

Uniqlo

5 Shirts Every Man Should Own

 

Crew Neck Sweatshirt

We like sweatshirts because there’s a casualness that compliments your on-campus fits and you can throw them in the wash instead of having to have them dry cleaned.  As with hoodies, skip the logos and keep them clean and simple.

Picks:

Champion

Everlane

Uniqlo

Todd Snyder

 

Backpack

Like everyone, you need something to carry your notebooks, laptop, and gear every day and just like your clothes, it’s important to pick up a backpack that keeps you organized, looks sharp, will last you all year, and won’t break the bank. We’ve discussed the ins and outs of our favorite backpacks before, and the key is finding the right size and style.

Picks:

Incase

Herschel

Aer

Everlane

More Backpack Picks

 

Sunglasses

The right shape can instantly up your style game, but the wrong shape can really work against you. Stick with a classic style that compliments your face shape.  Check out this article for more on how to choose the right sunglasses for your face shape.

Picks:

Ray-Ban

MVMT

Crap

Warby Paker

Additional Picks

 

A Second Pair Of Pants

A man can’t live on denim alone so it’s wise to consider a few more options. We definitely recommend chinos, they’re comfortable, stylish, and affordable. If you go for chinos, go with navy or charcoal grey as that’ll go with everything. If chinos aren’t your style grab some sharp jogger pants for a different option. Go with black or charcoal as they’ll not only look the best but it will keep them from looking too much like your workout gear.

Chinos:

Bonobos

Uniqlo

J.Crew

Gap 

Joggers:

H&M

PacSun

Gap

Mack Weldon

 

Top 5 Men’s Sneakers of 2019

You asked for it and we delivered! As you probably know by now, you can wear sneakers more places than ever these days and that means it’s even more important to give your sneaker purchases extra consideration. That said, this isn’t an excuse to just wear your gym shoes everywhere! Choosing the right pair of sneakers is more than just wearing athletic shoes with jeans or chinos, you’ve got to find the right balance of style and color and also consider the shoe shape.

With that, here are our picks for the Top 5 Men’s Sneakers of 2019 plus a few extra picks we really loved!

Nike Retro Sneaker

We love a good retro sneaker and this version from Nike is a new update on a classic silhouette. It’s got a suede and nylon upper and comes in some very cool bright colorways. A great casual shoe for chinos, jeans, or shorts.

 

Vans

You can never go wrong with a classic skate shoe vibe and this Vans sneaker is a total winner. It’s really well-priced and comes in two basic colorways that will go with everything in your closet.

 

Adidas Ultraboost

One of our absolute favorite running sneakers, this recently updated version of the Adidas Ultraboost is crazy comfortable and comes in a ton of great colorways. We love the bolder versions but the classic triple white, triple black, and grey are always stylish as well.

 

Wolverine High Top

This definitely isn’t a basketball sneaker. As we mentioned earlier, dressy and casual shoes are pretty interchangeable these days, and a nice leather high top can work with a variety of different looks. Wolverine is known for their boots and the leather is really excellent and the shoe is very comfortable. They also come in a sharp low-top version as well.

 

New Balance

Another great retro-inspired sneaker, this one mixes in technical materials and a sleek monochromatic colorway to give it a cool vibe that’s a great middle-ground between retro and modern. It’s definitely got an athletic vibe but it’s still sleek and sporty enough to work with denim, chinos, or shorts.

  

Koio Suede Sneaker

A suede version of a sleek minimal silhouette is a great way to add a bit of extra style and texture to your sneaker rotation. We were fans of their classic white leather sneaker from Koio and this suede version is excellent. We love the monochromatic design and the suede is very soft and high-quality. and there is a range of great earth tone colorways to choose from.

 

Nike Epic React

In a similar vein as the Adidas Ultraboost, the Nike Epic React is a super light and comfortable modern running sneaker that combines technical looks and a versatile silhouette. Like the Adidas, you can go with a simple monochromatic colorway or try a bolder color for extra personality.

 

Beckett Simonon

We reviewed these in a recent video and we absolutely loved them. The clean design, excellent price point, and high-quality leather make them one of our favorite sneakers this year for sure. A sure-fire go-to for casual or more dressy looks.

Nike React Element

Usually, we’re pretty picky about futuristic-looking shoes and tend to avoid streetwear trends, but this version from Nike features a really cool design but isn’t too chunky or odd-looking. It’s versatile enough to wear with denim or joggers and is very lightweight and comfortable. With a unique design like this, you can definitely lean into the bold colorways but also, you can never go wrong with a simple black and white combination.

12 Men’s Summer Style Essentials

Great summer style doesn’t have to be complicated or fancy, but given the temperatures, sun, and range of occasions, you’re going to need some summer style essentials to have you looking your best. Don’t worry though, we did the heavy lifting for you and put together a list of go-to items that are going to make this summer your most stylish one yet! If you’re looking for some more summer style tips make sure to check out our in-depth Summer Essentials E-Book (free download) and our Summer Style Do’s and Don’ts.

We’ve got a ton of picks below plus some features on key items we’ve covered before so make sure to check out all of our picks!

 

Polo Shirts

Polos shirts are an absolute summer essential because they’re so versatile and great for the hot weather. Wear them with everything from shorts to chinos to swim trunksH&M polos are a longtime favorite of ours, they’re budget-friendly and come in a ton of colors. We also love Uniqlo’s polos as well. Look for the basic colors like white, grey, black, and navy and wear them with everything from shorts to chinos. We’ve got a few tips to consider in terms of choosing the right fabric and style for your body type too.

Picks:

H&M

Uniqlo

Additional Picks

Chino Pants

A tried and true workhorse for your summer style, chino pants are lightweight and super comfortable. These pants look great with everything and can be dressed up or down for daytime or evening. Our favorites from Uniqlo are stylish, versatile, and budget-friendly. The fit is excellent and they even offer in-store hemming for free. They come in slim and straight fits. For a few other options, check out our Budget-Friendly Chinos rundown.

Picks:

Uniqlo

The Tie Bar

Additional Picks

 

NATO / Perlon Watch Straps

Switching up your watch band is a small, subtle style move that can add a little bit of extra personality. NATO and perlon straps are super affordable, come in a range of colors, and can be worn in and out of the water.

Picks:

Nato Straps

Perlon Straps

 

Stylish Swim Trunks

We recently picked our favorite swim trunks for the summer and the right pair is and an indispensable item for the weekend or any trip. Stick to options that resemble shorts and don’t be afraid to try a fun pattern or bold color.

Our picks for the best swim trunks of 2019

 

Sunglasses

Another must-have item, they’re going to add an extra dose of style while protecting your eyes from the sun’s rays. We’ve talked about finding the right sunglass frame shape for your face in the past, so consider that before making a purchase.

Picks:

Warby Parker

Ray-Ban

Salt

Oliver Peoples

Barton Perreira

Additional Picks

 

Hats

Speaking of sun protection, having a stylish hat is key when you’re spending extra time outdoors or at the beach and pool. We recommend a simple, casual ballcap or something more seasonal like a wide-brimmed Panama-style hat for style and sun protection.

Picks:

Brooks Brothers

Stetson

Scala

J.Crew

Herschel

Espadrilles Or Tennis Shoes

We discussed these shoe styles in our top 3 must-have shoes for the summer in a previous post and for good reason, the right casual shoe option that’s both stylish and affordable is important. Solid colors like white and navy are super versatile but don’t be afraid to mix it up with a fun pattern or some bolder color.

Picks:

Sneakers 1

Sneakers 2

Sneakers 3

Espadrilles 1

Espadrilles 2

 

Long-Sleeve Linen Shirts

One of our favorite summer style essentials, a linen shirt looks as good casually with shorts as it does with something a bit more dressy like chinos or cotton slacks. They’re always a great move during the warm weather and our favorites are very budget-friendly. Stick with the classics like solid white or light blue or try some bolder colors like olive, royal blue, or a fresh striped pattern.

Picks:

Uniqlo

H&M

Brooks Brothers

J.Crew

 

No-Show Socks

A key accessory in the summer, no-show socks can be worn with all types of shoes whether it be casual shoes like sneakers, boat shoes or driving loafers or dressier options like oxfords, monks, or penny loafers.

Picks:

Uniqlo – our favorite!

Bombas

Mack Weldon

H&M

 

Sunscreen

We can’t stress enough the importance of sunscreen, whether you’re at the pool or beach or just out and about. Don’t forget proper lip balm with sunscreen too!

Picks:

Anthelios

Neutrogena

Jack Black

Burt’s Bees

Jack Black

 

Weekender Bag

The importance of the right weekender bag for summer travel (and beyond) can’t be overstated. You want something sharp and durable with the right amount of space for a few days worth of clothing. We recently picked all of our favorite weekender bags for 2019, so check them out!

The Best Weekender Bags of 2019

 

A Good Book

Whether you’re relaxing by the pool or beach or on a flight out of town, a great summer read is definitely essential. We’ve picked our top 5 books every man should read previously, and our friends at GQ put together a pretty great list as well.

Dorian’s Current Pick 1

Dorian’s Current Pick 2

Top 5 Books Every Man Should Read

GQ Recommendations

 

Sneakers Every Man Should Own

I talk a lot about what a crucial part of your wardrobe sneakers are and they definitely shouldn’t be an afterthought.  There are many great ones out there, but not all sneakers are created equal. Having a selection of classic, versatile styles will definitely take your casual wardrobe to the next level.  With that, here are my picks for the sneakers that every man should own!

 

Canvas Sneakers

PF Flyers 

These were also my top pick this year for shoes you need to own in 2018, and for good reason, they’re cheap, breathable, comfortable and have a unique take on the classic canvas sneaker.

Vans Classic or Converse All Star

If the PF Flyers aren’t up your alley or you want something other than white, consider one of these super classic, never-go-wrong sneakers. They’re cheap and look awesome with pretty much everything. I love them in white, navy, gray or even black.

Leather Sneakers

Stan Smith or Common Projects Achilles

I’ve talked about white leather sneakers a ton; I love how they’re clean, classic and add a little extra polish to a casual outfit. If you’re not a fan of white, definitely get the gray or blue versions of these.

Running Shoes

New Balance Retro Sneaker

Like I mentioned in my top shoe video, these New Balance retro running sneaker are affordable, look great, and are very comfortable. I love the woven upper, as it makes them extra breathable and very comfortable-just like wearing socks.

Adidas P.O.D. S3.1 or Ultra Boosts

Ultra boost soles are like walking on marshmallows, they’re the most comfortable sneakers I’ve ever worn. Plus these are cool and unique without being crazy loud like other running shoes can be. If you want something less flashy, the classic Ultra Boosts are the way to go.

High Top Sneakers

Converse All-Stars

I like the all-white over all-black because the all black is really heavy-looking on your feet. If you want black, I’d actually suggest getting a version by John Varvatos, they’re a well-designed take on the classic Converse-style high top.

Nike SF Air Force 1

For those of you who really like a sporty high top sneaker, here’s one of my favorites that I’ve styled on a couple of my clients. I like the black and white colorway of these but the all-white ones look great too. I love the clean silhouette and the dual zippers at the heel make these shoes super easy to get on and off.

So those are my top picks for sneakers every man should own, hopefully you’ve got a few of them lined up in your closet!

The 5 Shoes Every Man Should Own

In my Men’s Wardrobe Essentials Series, as well as my Summer Essentials Ebook, I touched on shoes a little bit, but the most-requested video/article for a while has been the number and type of shoes every man should own.

So here it is: These are the quintessential shoes that every man should have in his closet for year-round wear. Anything outside of these are specialty items, like snow boots, so they’re not included in this article.

Have questions? Curious what others think?

Join us in the comments section of the video above.

1. Athletic/Running Shoes

Nike Roshe FlyKnit - Grey

Buy the Nike Roshe FlyKnit in gray

There’s nothing better than a sleek pair of athletic shoes. Not only can they function as your gym shoes, but they can  be worn with your casual outfits, as well.

I recommend sticking with a black/white, black/grey/white (like above), or navy/white color to ensure that your sneakers compliment all your outfits. Other crazy colors like neon green or a bright red will only draw attention away from your outfit which is why I’m not recommending those colors. You probably wouldn’t know it, but these shoes are one of my clients and almost a year old.

Since all of the shoes I’m recommending have white soles, I highly recommend Jason Markk’s Essential Shoe Cleaner Kit. Just give the soles a quick scrub with the included brush and soap every few weeks and they’ll look good-as-new for a long time.

Other Options

Nike SB Stefan Janoski Max
Adidas Pureboost LTD Shoe
Nike Roshe Two FlyKnit

 

2. White Sneakers

 

Buy the Adidas Stan Smith Sneakers

The second pair of shoes you should own, is what I’d consider an absolute essential to any well-dressed man’s wardrobe, which is why they were also included in my Men’s Wardrobe Essentials series.

They’re clean, classy and look great with a lot of your casual, even up to a little more dressy, outfits. Throw on a nice fitted blazer and some dark wash jeans with them and they’ll look amazing. See here for outfit inspiration images.

Under no circumstance should you wear these with a suit, though. That’s a trend that’s been floating around for a few years and I just think you’re not doing a suit justice by dumbing it down with sneakers.

A quick note, because it’s been brought up in the comments of my White Sneaker Video – Jordan’s and Air Force Ones are not the same as these – even if they’re white – because the shape and profile of those shoes are completely different. Notice how sleek and simple the profile of the above shoe is – THAT’S what makes all the difference. Jordan’s and Air Force Ones are chunky looking and have a very specific look that a lot of men can’t pull off.

Designer Options

 

Saint Laurent leather sneakers
Acne Studios leather sneakers
WANT Les Essentiels de la Vie leather sneaker
Common Projects BBall leather sneakers

Budget-Friendly Options

Converse Chuck Taylor All Star II Ox’ Canvas
Converse Jack Purcell Sneaker
Nike Tennis Classic Ultra Leather
Vans Authentic Sneakers

 

3. Suede Driving Moccasins

 

Tod's Gommino Driving Shoes in Suede

Tod’s Braided Tie Drivers

The third pair of shoes you should own are suede driving moccasins. I’ve already covered these in my Summer Essentials Ebook, but they’re also great shoes during the other parts of the year, depending on your climate.

If you’ve never worn a pair, then you really should try them because they’re the most comfortable middle ground between a dress shoe and a sneaker and after they’ve been broken in a little bit, they’ll feel like you’re wearing a pair of socks.

I have these ones here by Tod’s that I really love. Stick with dark brown first, then you can add a tan color and then navy which will cover you for any outfit you can wear outside of a suit – which you should never wear driving mocs with. The construction is fantastic and they hug your feet nicely –
which is important because a lot of cheaply made driving mocs tend to look loose around your feet which is to be avoided.

There’s three things to remember about driving moccasins:

Only wear no-show socks with them. I did a whole video about socks so check out the link in the video description.
Before you wear them for the first time, make sure you Scotchguard them in order to protect the suede from dirt & liquids as much as possible.
They’re going to get dirty, it’s inevitable with suede. So buy them knowing they’re going to have a shorter shelf life than the rest of your shoes, but trust me, you won’t care because they’re so damn comfortable.

Designer Options

Tod’s Textured Suede Tie Drivers
Tod’s Braided Tie Drivers
Prada Suede Slip-On Moccasin, Oltremare
Brook’s Brothers Suede Driving Mocs

Budget-Friendly Options

Jack Erwin Parker Driving Loafer 
FRYE Russel Venetian
Johnston & Murphy Perforated Driving Loafer 

4. Oxford Or Derby Dress Shoes

ferragamo-marte-plain-toe-derby-ashley-weston1

Prada Plain Toe Blutchers

The fourth pair of shoes you should own are Oxford or Derby dress shoe with a sleek profile and round toe. I’ve covered these extensively before, but every man needs at least a black and possibly brown pair of dress shoes in his wardrobe. They go well with all outfits outside of a super casual outfit (think: t-shirt and jeans). And since you should at least own one suit, these are necessary because you can’t get away with wearing any other shoes with your suit. Remember: the goal is to have you looking amazing, no matter the scenario or outfit.

I prefer plain toe, but you can also get cap toes, but I will grab a pair of plain toed Oxfords or Derbys over any other kind of dress shoe 99% of the time.

As for brogueing, burnished toes, oxblood or other unique colors, don’t get me wrong, I love them, but that’s like two levels down the road if you’re new to dressing better. They’re very specific and won’t go with a lot of your outfits, so grab them after you’ve invested in a classic black and dark brown oxford.

Designer Options

Giorgio Armani Plain-Toe Patent Leather Bluchers
Allen Edmonds Park Avenue Cap-Toe Oxfords
Allen Edmonds Carlyle
Prada Plain Toe Blutchers

Budget-Friendly Options

Aldo Craosa 
Jack Erwin Joe Cap-Toe Oxford
Johnston & Murphy Hyde Park ll Cap-toe

5. Brown Leather Boots

Purdey Brown Men's Grain Leather Boot With Dainite Sole

Crockett & Jones Islay Wingtip Boot

The final pair of shoes – in this case – boots you should own are a pair of brown leather boots.
They’re utilitarian in that you can wear them in a lot of adverse weather situations as well as in more elevated casual outfits. I prefer brown because boots are usually more geared toward the cooler months, and brown is a great fall/winter color and it goes AMAZINGLY well with the dark wash jeans and wool trousers you should already own. But don’t be mistaken, you can also wear these year-round.

It’s been asked this a few times by viewers, so unless you’re going for the lumberjack or American/Japanese worker-style look, don’t wear these boots with a suit because these ARE NOT DRESS BOOTS.

I love the pebbled brown leather and goodyear welting of the Purdey boots above, which is why they’re my top choice. Trust me, I spent a lot of time finding the best boots out there and these are hands down my favorite.

If you want to know how to tie your boots properly like this so don’t have a bunch of excess laces flopping around, check out my video about how to properly tie men’s shoelaces.

Designer Options


O’Keefe Algy Split-Toe Weatherproof Pebble-Grain Leather Boots
Crockett & Jones Islay Wingtip Boot

Frye Jones Lace Up Boots

Budget-Friendly Options

Aldo Acerrassi
Johnston & Murphy Karnes Cap Toe Boot
Aldo Etausen Boots
Wolverine 1000 Mile Boot 

The White Sneaker

White Sneakers AKA Tennis Shoes are like jeans – everyone has them, but not everyone has the right ones or knows what to do with them.

Sneakers look good with any casual outfit (no suits, PLEASE!) and your color choice and how you care for them will have a big impact on whether you’ll look sharp, or just… blah. 

Have questions? Curious what others think?

Join us in the comments section of the video above.

 

Why White Sneakers?

If you’re reticent about white sneakers, I get it. My clients are a little freaked out by them in the beginning, too. But the reason I prefer white is they look super sharp and literally go with everything you’d wear casually. A pair of white sneakers instantly elevates an outfit to be a little sharper than it would be with other casual shoes. In my book, that’s a good thing.

As a woman, when I see a sharp-looking guy, I want to learn more about him. It’s impressive and intriguing. I’ve been busted for staring a few times because of this 🙂

If you really, really don’t want to get white shoes, go for a navy color then. They’ll still go with a lot of the other essentials on my list, but not as well as white.

High Tops or Low Tops?

For a foundational piece like this, leave the high tops for later. They’re not appropriate in many occasions where low tops are. High tops are definitely more sporty looking and with pants will bunch up around the ankles and can create a lot of stacking.

Canvas vs. Leather

This is when I’ll leave it up to your preference. Either one will work for the same occasions and outfits. Some people prefer natural fibers over leather. I prefer leather because it doesn’t stain as easily and they’re easier to keep clean, but they’re also (slightly) more costly. It’s entirely up to you. I’ll provide both options below.

Cleanliness is next to Godliness

I’m always shocked to learn that most guys don’t know that women look at 3 things, in this order, when first meeting a man:

  1. Your face/head (duh!)
  2. Your fingernails
  3. Your shoes

Dirty or worn out shoes are a major turn off. Spend 30 seconds and take wet cloth or a Magic Eraser sponge and give your shoes a quick wipe down. I personally love using Jason Markk’s cleaning kit – check out my video about How To Clean Dirty Sneakers. A little effort goes a long way and will keep your shoes looking good for much longer.

The Best White Sneakers For Men

Designer Options

$495 – Givenchy Urban Street Leather Sneaker – all white (for white with a touch of blue on the heel, get these)
$495 – Saint Laurent SL/01 leather sneakers
$370 – Acne Studios Adrian leather sneakers
$410 – Common Projects Original Achilles leather sneakers

Budget-Friendly Options

$65 – Converse Jack Purcell Canvas Sneaker (leather option buy here)
$55 – Vans Old Skool Sneakers – in True White
$60 – Adidas Stan Smith Sneakers

3 Ways To Wear

$200 – Topman Khaki Suede Bomber Jacket (the burgundy is no longer available, but I love this green suede version)
$10 – H&M Crew-neck T-shirt in black
$165 – J. Brand Tyler Taper Fit in slate resin (Love that the color, stitching, and hardware are similar color)
$65 – Converse Jack Purcell Canvas Sneaker (leather option buy here)

$13 – H&M Polo Shirt Slim Fit in black (**THESE ARE THE BEST POLO SHIRTS!!!!)
$40 – Uniqlo Slim Fit Chino Pants in navy (Fit is awesome and they’ll hem your pants for free)
$55 – Vans Old Skool Sneakers – in True White

Burberry London  Slim Fit Travel Tailoring Wool Jacket
$78 – J.Crew Cotton Cashmere Slim Fit Cardigan in heather charcoal
$69 – Brooks Brothers Non-Iron Milano Fit Button-Down Collared Dress Shirt
$170 – Diesel Buster 0607A Tapered Jeans (I’ve bought my fiance 3 pairs of these – they’re that good!)
$73 – Brooks Brothers Leather Formal/Casual Belt in brown
$65 – Converse Jack Purcell Canvas Sneaker (leather option buy here)

White Sneaker Outfit Inspiration/How To Wear White Sneakers

The Dark Wash Jean

Jeans, Denim, Blue Jeans, whatever you call them – the bottom line is that they’re a staple in every man’s wardrobe. But that doesn’t mean most guys know how to choose the right pair.

Every day, I see looks of dissapoinment slapped across people’s faces as the men in their lives waddle around in poopy-pants, flop about in the moo-moo version of jeans or show off their twig and berries.

Let’s fix this.

Have questions? Curious what others think?

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Every single man, no matter their size, age or body type should have a few pairs of dark washed jeans in their closet. They work for nearly all occasions outside of a formal setting and look good with virtually everything- especially my list of men’s wardrobe essentials. They’ll never steer you wrong and are likely the pants you’ll wear a majority of the time.

The 5 Aspects Of Jeans

1. Wash or Rinse

This dictates how light or dark the jeans are as well as how they’re treated. Light wash = lighter colored. Dark wash = dark.

My preferred wash is dark blue, sometimes called indigo, depending on the brand.

Because of the title of this article, you know I’m recommending that you own dark wash jeans. The reason is because this wash looks great on everybody, hides skinny or thicker legs better than any other color and can be dressed in a casual or less-casual way. I love them so much that I put them on every single one of my clients.

2. Style

This is also called the “cut” and sometimes also called the “fit” of the jeans. Depending on your body type, you should be wearing a certain style. We’ll get into that in a minute, but the most common styles are (in order of slimness):

  • Skinny
  • Slim
  • Straight
  • Boot Cut
  • Relaxed

3. Size

The waist and inseam (leg length) measurements of the jeans. Ex: 32×32 (inches).

If you’ve seen my Fit Guide, you know appropriate jeans sizing, but here’s a quick refersher:

  • They should fit your waist without needing a belt. They can even be slightly tight, as denim will loosen as you wear them.
  • The inseam (length) should leave a slight or full break where they meet your shoes. Anything shorter will look odd and anything longer will bunch at your ankles and throw off your proportions.

4. Denim Type Or Fabric Blend

Denim material can be blended with a variety of other fabrics. Some jeans may have two to three percent spandex and others might have polyester blended into them.

A quick thought if you go with spandex blends:

  • Spandex blends, while a little more comfortable and forgiving in the thighs, tend to stretch out and not retain their shape as well as 100% cotton blends. I’ve definitely seen some “poopy pants” as a result of this.

It’ll depend on what you prefer, I can go either way on this – some of my recc’s below are blends, some are 100% cotton.

5. Fit

I get asked all the time “How should men’s jeans fit?”

Here’s the the trifecta of how your jeans should fit, regardless of age or body type:

  • You should be able to pinch a minimum of 1 inch of fabric, but no more than 1.5 inches on either side of the thigh.
  • They should fit your waist without a belt.
  • They shouldn’t be too short or too long – having a slight or full break. 

Check out my Fit Guide for more in-depth info.

The Best Dark Wash Jeans For Your Build

A quick note about your height: It doesn’t matter. My clients range in size from 5ft 3in to almost 7ft and I’ve never put them in different jeans because of their height. These are the best jeans for short men, tall men, medium-sized men and so on. The only thing that matters is your build: slim/regular or larger.

Slim or Regular Build

You’ll want to get a “Slim” fit. Slim-fit jeans tend to slightly hug the thighs, knees, and calves while tapering down from your knee to ankle.

A lot of my slim & regular built clients initially believe this style will make them look too skinny. This couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s just that they’re used to wearing super baggier clothes to try and hide their slimness, which, coincidentally, just makes them look slimmer. A proper fitting pair of jeans just looks right, regardless of your build, and doesn’t make you look one way or another – I promise.

Things to avoid:

  • Don’t make the mistake of thinking “Skinny” fit is the same as “Slim” fit. “Skinny” fit jeans are usually skin-tight and not appropriate
  • Avoid “Straight Fit” jeans. Like the name implies, the leg of the pants are looser and will be cut straight down from the knee to ankle. This cut will look terrible on you. 
  • If you can pinch more than an 1.5 inches of denim on either side of your thighs, you need to move down to a slimmer cut or get the legs taken in. If you can avoid it, don’t rush to the tailor. Try a size down first or another brand. This is costly for a tailor to do. Having too much fabric on your thighs will make you look smaller, shorter or wider than you are.

Designer

I’ve personally worked with and touched each pair of these jeans (in all sections) and they’re awesome. The fit is very accurate, the pocket placement and stitching is great. Diesel runs a little larger in the waist, so go down a size (ex: if you’re a 34 waist, get a 32).

Tom Ford Slim-Fit Stretch Indigo Denim Jeans
RRL Slim Fit Selvedge Jeans
JBrand Tyler Taper Fit in Rasalas
JBrand Taper Tyler Fit in Blue Hood
Diesel Buster Jeans

Budget Friendly

I love these because the quality in relation to the price is very good and you can never go wrong with a classic like Levi’s and I love Uniqlo’s wash and they also offer free hemming!

Uniqlo Stretch Selvedge Slim Fit Jeans
Levi’s 511 Slim Fit Stretch Jeans

Larger Build

The classic “Straight-Leg” fit is perfect for you. No matter a man’s build, but especially in your case, it’s all about balancing your body’s proportions to make sure your bottom half complements your upper half.

There are a few great brands out there that offer straight-legged jeans with a slightly roomier thigh area which will hopefully solve your frustrations with finding jeans that fit properly.

Things to watch out for:

  • Avoid any cut of jean (all pants in general, for your build) with a taper in the legs. A taper will make you look really top heavy.
  • If you can pinch more than an 1.5 inches of denim on either side of your thighs, you need to move down a size, go to a slimmer cut, try a different brand, or get the legs taken in by a tailor. Don’t get the legs taken in if you can help it, it’s costly for a tailor to do. Having too much fabric on your thighs will make you look wider than you are and completely throw off your proportions.

Designer

The wash, quality and fit of these are great and I use them all the time for my larger clients because it makes them look really sharp.

AG Graduate Jeans
JBrand Kane Jeans 

Budget Friendly

Just like I said for the slim to regular built options in this category: I love these because the quality in relation to the price is very good and you can never go wrong with a classic like Levi’s and Uniqlo’s wash is great and they offer free hemming!

Levi’s 514 Tumbled Rigid Jeans
Uniqlo Selvedge Straight Leg Jeans
Gap 1969 Straight Fit Jeans

3 Ways To Wear

Ashley-Weston-Dark-Wash-Jeans-Look-1-Full

Levis Sunset Pocket Tee
JBrand Tyler Taper Fit in Rasalas
Allen Edmonds Wide Basic Belt
Vans Authentic Sneakers

Ashley-Weston-Dark-Wash-Jeans-Look-2-Full Ashley-Weston-Dark-Wash-Jeans-Look-2-Detail

Brooks Brothers Suede Barracuda Jacket
J. Crew Garment-Dyed Henley
JBrand Tyler Taper Fit in Rasalas
Allen Edmonds Wide Basic Belt
Vans Authentic Sneakers

Ashley-Weston-Dark-Wash-Jeans-Look-3-Full Ashley-Weston-Dark-Wash-Jeans-Look-3-Detail-2 Ashley-Weston-Dark-Wash-Jeans-Look-3-Shoes

Modern Fit Travel Tailoring Virgin Wool Suit
Brooks Brothers Red Fleece Spread Collar Sports Shirt
JBrand Tyler Taper Fit in Rasalas
The Tie Bar Knitted Tie
The Tie Bar Cotton Pocket Square dark Charcoal Tipping
Johnston & Murphy Fielden Cap-Toe Dress Shoe
IWC Portuguese Automatic Watch

Outfit Inspiration