6 Fashion Fundamentals You Should Never Forget

Words by Becky Gillard


Dressing well can be overwhelming. You only have to step into a high-street store to see a huge variety of fits, styles, patterns, collars, cuffs… and, well, you get the idea.


If you’ve ever stood in a shop or browsed clothing online with a slight envy for those guys who just always seem to get it right – don’t worry, we’re here to help. What follows won’t necessarily automatically have you featured on the front of Esquire – but it’ll give you some strong foundations that you can build your wardrobe on.


Behold; 6 fashion fundamentals that’ll help you create the basis of a solid fashion sense:


Buy clothes that fit


Buying clothes that fit sounds like such a simple rule – but a quick glance up and down the average city street will illustrate quickly that a GREAT number of people just do not know what this means.


It doesn’t matter if you’re a big guy, a super-slim guy or somewhere in between – you can look awesome – but you’re going to look bad and feel uncomfortable if you’re in clothes that just don’t fit.


The first step involves getting some professional help. Most department stores or dedicated men’s fashion stores will happily measure you – whether it’s your inside leg, waist, collar size or anything else that’ll help you get a good fit. When you’ve got some sizes, make a note of them and reference back every time you’re looking for an item.


Here’s the thing – a stone-cold classic pair of Levis will look awful if they’re meant for someone much bigger than you, just the same as a classic white Oxford shirt will look terrible if the buttons are heaving open. Don’t get hung up on worrying about your physique and trying to compensate with bigger or small garments – clothes that fit WILL make you look good.


Button your blazer properly


Most of us will wear a suit at some stage – and, assuming you’ve followed the first rule and you’ve got one that fits, you’ve then got the issue of buttons to address.


What I’m about to tell you can be carved into stone and never reassessed – no matter what the other guys in the office/at the wedding are doing. Here goes:


A one-button suit jacket: Have the button done up when standing – and undone when sitting.
A two-button suit jacket: Only ever fasten the top button. Never fasten both – and always undo your button when you sit.
A three-button jacket: When standing, your middle button should always be fastened. Your top button is optional – but the bottom button should never be fastened.


That’s cleared that up! If you see someone doing something different, they’re doing it wrong.


Wear good shoes


You’ve probably heard that thing about people noticing your shoes – even if shoes aren’t the first thing you notice. Perhaps it’s true – perhaps it’s not, but one thing is certain, you don’t want to risk someone judging you on a poor quality or lacking style of footwear.


Please understand – I’m not saying you have to go and spend four-figures on footwear, I’m simply saying that you should go for the best quality you can afford. This will get you a shoe that last longer than cheaper alternatives and is likely to be more timelessly stylish.


Consider a pair of brogues, Derbies or Chelsea boots if you want a style that’ll always look good with jeans or a suit – and always, I repeat; ALWAYS keep them clean and polished. A small tin of quality polish costs next to nothing and can transform your look.


Buy timeless staple pieces


There are some items a men’s wardrobe should never be without. Similar to shoes, the more money you can afford to spend on some staple items, the better quality you’ll get – and quality tends to last well.


Here’s the list:


A white button-down collar Oxford shirt
A quality white t-shirt
A quality navy t-shirt
Slim fitting straight-leg indigo jeans
Navy blue crew neck jumper
A textured pair of mid-grey wool trousers
Denim jacket
A pale blue cotton fine twill shirt
Chambray grandad collar shirt
Navy blue two-button suit
Brown Chelsea boots
Tan/brown Derby shoes
An unstructured, unlined blazer in charcoal


Any sensible combination of those things will look great – and form an exceptional basis for building a different look.You don’t have to build this wardrobe quickly – if you want to keep an eye on your funds, buy slowly, concentrating on quality. Consider each purchase – and check for sites that offer money off with voucher codes if you want to make sure you get most for your money.


Avoid novelty items!!!


This is a tricky one for some people to hear, but ‘novelty’ and ‘comedy’ don’t tend to do well in men’s wardrobes. If your Mum or your kids have bought you a novelty tie as a present, wear it out of the house and slip someone more grown-up on when you’re out of sight.


As for socks, novelty is fine around the house – but you stand a very real chance of being considered seriously misinformed, even in relatively smart-casual workplaces.


In terms of comedy – a slogan t-shirt really takes the biscuit. Again, if it’s a present, say thank you and wear it on a lazy day around the house – it’s going to give off a completely uncomedic impression in public.


Avoid suit jackets and jeans


This one might, on the surface, seem like it’s going against the grain of what you’ll read elsewhere – but stick with me, there’s an important lesson here.


A suit jacket and a blazer are different beasts. A suit jacket is a structured item with a lining – it’ll often have slightly padded, formed shoulders that give it a distinct shape. A suit jacket is to be worn with suit trousers.


On the other hand, an unstructured blazer is something entirely different. With no predefined form and no lining, it’s a far more casual item that goes just as well over a plain -t-shirt as it does a twill cotton long-sleeve shirt. Assuming you’re pairing an unstructured blazer with a nicely fitting pair of jeans, you’re safe.


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