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Men’s Fashion: What Not to Wear

As a child, teenager, student or world traveler, there were many things you could get away with; now that you’re an adult the same rules simply do not apply!  It’s time to take a closer look at your image and fashion sense; you may be offending the people around you and damaging your social life or career.  Looking good this fall or winter involves knowing what to wear but is also a lesson in “what not to wear!"

The Backpack:  This should never be an item of choice unless you are carrying a heavy load of books to the classroom. This is an acceptable bag for hiking or camping only.  If you are climbing the corporate ladder, leave the backpack at home.  There are other ways to carry stuff hands-free without being viewed as a walking fashion disaster.  The key is to find a stylish alternative bag that is not limited to walking and will match most of your garments.  Leather duffle bags are good option as long they have a secure closer.  If all your stuff falls out when you bend over, it could be a disaster!  If most of your garments are on the darker shade for fall, then try a chocolate brown or black leather messenger or duffle bag.  The messenger bag is a good option for those who carry a heavier load and walk a lot.  It helps to keep papers, documents or folders from bending and crinkling.  The shoulder strap is a great way to balance the weight of your load on your back.  A duffle back is good for a short commute because you can toss it into the car.  This is a great option if you are going to the gym before or after work.  The duffle bag is also great for carrying miscellaneous stuff.  Either way avoid anything that is canvas or woven cotton, it looks cheap.  If you are a young professional, stay away from bags with flashy hardware or outlandish graphics and keep it simple.  If you happen to work in a casual creative industry then you have a little more room to express yourself.  There are several brands that makes bags from recycled materials like airbags, seatbelts, tires, etc… these also make for great gym bags!

Obnoxious Shirts:  Wearing over designed shirts is unacceptable for any man.  Brands like Ed Hardy with gaudy graphics, rhinestones, and tattoo style art is enough to make anyone vomit.   Usually these tee shirts can be seen on men traveling in packs.  One shirt is enough to give someone a seizure, let alone 5.  Robert Graham is another brand notorious for over designed shirts.  The button down shirts include everything from contrasting prints, colors, stitching, graphics and grommets.  These shirts are usually accompanied by bedazzled jeans and in some cases, an equally disturbing hat.  When men wear over designed garments they are committing fashion suicide.  In suburbia, men are limited by their shopping resources and settle by compromising style.  If you go to South Beach, you will see 8 in 10 men wearing these obnoxious shirts. Need I say more? The trendsetters who started this look in 2006 have already moved on and so should so you.  More suitable casual clothing includes marled v-neck tee-shirts or 2 tone designs that offer a creative edge to an otherwise boring item.  Keep it simple with a tonal design and avoid anything that looks like a tattoo shop or graphic artist threw up on it.  It’s ok to have button down shirts with contrasting plackets, sleeves or collar bands; just make sure that they are not over designed! 

The Skinny Jean:  When men wear skinny jeans, it is an embarrassment to all men worldwide; there is simply no exception or reason for any man to wear mantyhose.  Skinnier or manorexic men can sometimes be found wearing skinny jeans which exposes their pin-like legs and well… the junk in the trunk.  This style also being referred to as the “Men in Tights” syndrome and was part of a trend made popular by rock stars.  So unless you are plan on being the 4th Jonas brother, just say no to the skinny jean!

 Mom Jeans:Yes, men are guilty of wearing this outdated denim style. Obama’s “mom jeans” incident at the MBA All-Star game had fashion bloggers working overtime.  The incident has received more press then the actual first pitch itself.  Mom jeans are frumpy, high waisted and acid washed jeans that resemble something Jordache made in the 80’s.  The style is boxy and simply just outdated!  You don’t have to spend a fortune on jeans but you do have to update your style every now and then.  It is important for men to wear jeans that are fitted in the seat but looser in the leg area.  Dark denim is a better choice of color.  It works better to accommodate things in your wardrobe like tee-shirts, button downs, polos and sports jackets.  Denim is a casual fabric but dark denim can be dressed up or down based on what you pair it with.  Light denim does not have the same appeal and cuts the body in half when worn with darker shirts.  Your garments should work together by complimenting one another.   If you are holding onto jeans from 5 years ago, chances are they are outdated and worn out.  Time also contributes to pilling on the bottom of the jeans as well as wallet marks in the back pocket.  For men, jeans are an important tool for a functioning casual or weekend wardrobe.  Make sure you spend the time to try on several different pairs.  Rock and Republic is a great brand for men’s jeans. A cheaper option is Levis or Banana Republic; just make sure they are DARK denim.  Avoid Black jeans and chino colors.

Baseball Cap & Trucker Hat:  Ball caps were made specifically for those who play the game of baseball.  Some armed forces also use baseball caps as part of their uniforms, especially the US Navy.  If you decide you are having a swimmingly bad hair day there a variety of hat styles to choose from; a baseball cap is not one of them!  The only time one should wear this sporty head gear is to the gym or the beach.  Please don’t put it on when you are leaving work in your suit.  A Trucker Hat is another form of a baseball hat.  It’s also referred to as a “Feed Cap” because feed and farming supply companies used them for promotional giveaways.  These were once a popular trend made famous by celebrities like Ashton Kutcher.  This trend is long gone so sew your oats and move on.  Before you decide to put on a baseball cap or trucker hat opt for more stylish and acceptable head gear like a fedora, fiddler hat (newspaper cap), poor boy cap, or a simple skull cap will suffice!
Multiple Accessories:  A man’s most important accessory is his watch.  There are a variety of different watches on the market that vary in style and price.  Watches with a leather band are considered dress watches to wear with suits.  Watches that have a metal band are athletic and sporty to be worn with casual clothing.  If you decide you want to layer on necklaces, bracelets or rings; think again!  It’s ok to wear a necklace or ring, just keep it simple.  Avoid anything loud and obnoxious and if makes noise when you walk, avoid it entirely.  If you are wearing big bulky chains or links downsize to something more subtle.

White Tube Socks:  For the most part, your socks should match your shoe color, pretty simple right?  There is no reason why you should waist money on white tube socks.  The only time you should even wear white socks in generally is when you are wearing white sneakers.  No exceptions!  If you do wear white socks with white sneakers then they should be ankle socks not tube socks.  When choosing a sock color navy, black, tan and brown are the best options. These will match most of your fall dress shoes.  Wool socks or hunting socks should only be worn on snow days or the ski slopes, not with your dress slacks.
Cross Trainers & Sneakers:  The only time to wear gym sneakers is in the gym or running outside.  Big chunky sneakers look terrible with jeans.  If you want to wear comfortable casual shoes try a driver or flat European leather sneaker with a dark sole.

Turtlenecks:  In the winter time men are guilty of wearing turtle necks and some may even tuck them into their jeans.  An equally warm alternative is a V-neck sweater.

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