Should you follow trends?

Being able to dress well is a skill you’ll have forever – mastering what’s on the runway right now is fleeting. Yet even if you are not one for trends, there is good reason for you to know what’s going on in the world of fashion.

It’s undeniably far more useful to have an instinct about what looks good, rather than being able to follow current trends which will not necessarily look good on you or fit in with your personal style. Although, if you have an interest in trends and the disposable income to back it up, then you may as well keep up with what’s in style at the moment.

You don’t need to adopt every trend that emerges, but keeping your wardrobe fresh is one of the keys to looking stylish. My advice is to know what the trends are and work out which ones to avoid, and which ones you like and want to incorporate into your style.

However, the main reason why you should know the current fashions isn’t about how you look this season. It’s about how you’re going to look in the future.

The reason to be aware of what’s trendy is that it will help you to stop wearing out of season garments. Say you’re in the market for a leather jacket in a year when collarless jackets are the height of fashion. Naïvely, you would find a collarless jacket, not knowing that it was representative of a trend, and continue wearing the passé jacket for years to come. Not only are you wearing a hideous jacket (I don’t understand why collarless jackets even exist), but you look outdated and poor too.

Know the trends, but don’t be a sucker for all of them (sometimes designers come out with some pretty ridiculous fads).

Ed Hardy douchebags
Ed Hardy is a prime example of why you shouldn’t follow every trend.

 

How to dress for church

Every congregation has their own dress code, whether it’s stated explicitly or everyone just somehow knows what level of formality is expected. If you have been to the church you’re going to before, there’s no problem: simply dress like everyone else did. However, if it is an unfamiliar church and you’re apprehensive about what to wear, here are some failsafe tips on dressing appropriately.

__Macau_-_St._Dominics_Church
You might want to dress fancy for this church.

Dress respectfully

You’re entering a place of worship which is likely populated by conservative types, so dress accordingly. Don’t wear anything sloppy such as trackpants or a top with this morning’s cereal spilled down the front. Slogan T-shirts, beanies and pants worn low so that your underwear can be seen are never a good look, but are completely inappropriate for a religious setting.

Wear full length pants. Jeans are acceptable in most establishments, but do wear a leather belt.

A button down shirt is a safe choice, although usually any fitted long-sleeved top will do. Tee shirts are too informal for most churches, so don’t attempt to wear one until you have been there and know it’s the done thing.

Dark coloured, closed toe leather shoes are the most conservative footwear choice.

Your outfit should be perfectly ironed and free of any distractions such as stains or stray lint.

How religious is the church?

As a rule of thumb, the more conservative and religious the church, the more formal you have to dress. If you’re going to an Orthodox church, dress in business casual at a minimum.

It’s different on religious holidays
You may have been to the church previously for a regular Sunday service, but if you turn up on Easter you’ll find that the style is quite different. It could be that the dress code never changes, but chances are a more formal style is expected on religious holidays. If turning up to a special holiday such as Christmas or Easter, you can’t go wrong with suit pants and a nice shirt. A suit jacket and tie in most churches is too formal.

It’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed, and going to church is no exception. If you’re not sure if what you’re wearing is formal enough, don’t wear it just to be on the safe side.

How to dress for an informal lunch date

Dressing for an occassion is always stressful, but no man should stress over what to wear for a lunch date unless it is to be held at a particularly fancy location. Here are some tips on dressing to impress for a low-key cafe lunch.

Closed toe shoes

While it is a casual occassion, closed toe shoes are a must. It’s rude to walk into an eatery of any calibre wearing flip flops or sandals. Moreover, exposed shoes are usually hideous particularly if you have ugly feet. Don’t go too casual, but also be wary of wearing shoes too formal. A pair of black leather Oxfords may be a gorgeous and respectable footwear choice but is far too pretentious for a casual lunch. Try wearing canvas or suede shoes instead.

Keep it casual

A t-shirt and jeans will do the trick for a low-key date. Mix it up and make it more interesting with a pair of coloured chinos or a top with an unusual print. Shorts are a bit iffy and could be too casual, so steer clear unless an unbearably hot day forced you into donning shorts.

Three outfits perfect for a date.
Four outfits perfect for a date.

Do your hair

If your hair needs to be combed in a particular way or requires a little product to look its best, do it. You want to look well groomed and stylish.

Take your good wallet

At the conclusion of the date you’re going to need to get your wallet out. It’s the small touches which make you look stylish. Having a quality leather wallet will make you look like a man of distinction; a cheap cloth wallet from your local K-Mart just doesn’t have the same effect.

Use your own style

The informality of a casual lunch gives you plenty of freedom to wear what you like and what looks good on you. Be yourself and indulge in your own style. Any unique pieces that provide a talking point are a fantastic asset on an awkward lunch date.

Finding your personal style

Your own sense of style is the most important aspect of how you dress. Once you’ve pinned down your style, you’ll know which trends to follow and which to eschew.

You’ll develop your own personal style through years of outfit selection, but you can hasten the process by asking yourself a few simple questions about yourself and your body.

Find out what’s comfortable

The key to looking good and carrying off any outfit, is looking comfortable in what you’re wearing. That’s something you can’t fake. If skinny jeans result in you wriggling in discomfort all day, abolish them from your wardrobe. If socks make your feet overheat, find footwear choices that don’t require socks. No matter how in-season a particular piece is, you won’t look good in it if you’re not comfortable wearing it.

Know your body

Be realistic about your body shape and dress accordingly. For example, if you’re on the slim side and want to look bulkier, make layering clothes a defining aspect of how you dress.

Pick your colours

colours

This is not just about what colours you like, but also what shades suit you. Tip: yellow of any shade rarely suits anyone so you may as well cut it from your wardrobe now.

Fit your style to your life

You may crave the formality of a tie, but that isn’t an appropriate choice for everyone. It’s easy to develop a sense of what looks good in terms of formal dressing, but you need to work out how to dress for everyday life.

Welcome to Men’s Style and Fashion

The internet is so packed with useless information that it’s hard to imagine that there is a deficit in any particular topic. Yet, in my experience as a men’s fashion writer, I have often turned to the internet as a source of inspiration and information only to find that it is quite bereft of useful men’s style advice.

This blog aims to fill the gap in practical fashion tips for guys. No out-there haute couture or weird trends that you will cringe over wearing in years to come.

If there is anything you would like me to cover or offer advice on, drop me a line at natasha@mensstyleandfashion.com.