If you’re a man, you’re well aware of the fact that there are roughly 4,293,091 “style rules” online telling you how and how not to dress. Don’t mix black and brown! Always tuck in your shirt! Never wear white after Labor Day!
But guess what? Many of them are totally bogus! To learn the ones you should always brush aside when you want to up your style game and look your very best, read on. And for more amazing style tips for upgrading your look, check out these 50 Essential Accessories for Men.
1 Don’t wear white after Labor Day
This age-old fashion “faux pas” couldn’t be more passé. Its origins date back to the late 19th century, when white was the choice color among wealthy summer vacationers. When fall rolled around, they’d ditch the white for darker clothing more fit for the workplace, to signify a “get back to work” attitude. (The soot-heavy industrial environment at the time wasn’t exactly friendly to white linens, and darker clothing masked any stains.) Next time the fashion police try to scold you for running afoul of this rule, kindly point out the fact that your office is spotless—and carry on your way. And for more sage fashion advice, check out these 20 Men’s Style Trends You Should Actually Try in 2019.
2 Don’t wear sneakers with dress pants
In the event you haven’t paid a lick of attention to menswear in the past, oh, decade or so, sneakers are cool now. Like, really cool. They’re not reserved for athletes and tired dads any more. If you want to wear sneakers with slacks (or even a full suit!), don’t let anyone stop you. In fact, a nice pair of sneakers—like, say, this deliciously textured leather pair from Common Projects ($450)—beats the stuffing out of a meh pair of Oxfords any day.
3 Don’t wear socks with sandals
Yes, discretion should always be used whenever you choose to wear sandals outside of a pool or beach setting. But if you style the look right, the combo can come off quite fashionably—as long as the rest of your outfit is on-point. Oh, and for the love of all that is holy: stay away from the flip-flops! And for more ways to look great, check out these 15 Killer Style Accessories You Never Knew You Needed.
4 Don’t wear brown and black at the same time
It’s a rule as old as time. So, yeah, it makes sense that it’s outdated by now. There’s no reason to limit your color options, especially considering black and brown can look amazing together. The key, as with all things, is to keep it simple: no bright colors, no fancy bells and whistles, no more than one pattern (and a minimal one, at that). Otherwise, you’re doing too much. Mixing black and brown is itself a statement.
5 Socks should match your trousers or your shoes
Leave this rule to the hardcore suit traditionalists. With so many fun sock options on the market, why stick to the same-old-same-old? Footwear is the quickest and easiest place you can score some style points, and that applies to your base layer as well. For ideas, take cues from stylish sock maestro Justin Trudeau.
6 Jackets should always be worn with French cuff shirts
French cuff shirts don’t always have to be worn so formally. Often, they work just as well (if not better) with casual looks. For maximum laissez-faire attitude, pair with a leather-strap chronograph and some dark-wash denim.
7 Dress shirts should always be tucked in
Menswear is more diverse than it’s ever been, and guys have become way more creative in the way they style themselves. Dress shirts don’t always have to be so stuffy; the fashion set have been spotted wearing them untucked, and even a bit oversized, for an edgier, more relaxed fit. For ideas on what to rock, check out The 10 Best Button-Down Shirts You Can Wear Untucked.
8 Always wear a belt if your pants have belt loops
We’re not sure who minted this rule, but whoever it was, they clearly took things a bit too literally. The fact is: A belt-free pant is a happy pant. If your pants stay up no problem without a belt, that means your look is tailoring to perfection—a sign of high-level style. (Of course, don’t be discouraged from wearing one if you want to. Personal preference is always key!)
9 Silver and gold should never mix
This is another common “rule” that really just comes down to personal preference. Silver and gold can definitely live together harmoniously. Just don’t overthink it. To wade into the look, pair your go-to watch with one of these 7 Cool Cuff Bracelets You’ll Wear With Confidence.