The 5 style mistakes guys can fix right now

Everyday, whether I’m at work or socializing on the weekend I see bad style choices men make. These mistakes can be easily fixed and today I’m going to show you how.

1.  Throwing money at brands doesn’t mean you have good style

The first mistake most men make (and this includes myself when I was younger) is to equate the price or brand of clothing to having better style.

The price and brand of a clothing item has no direct correlation to style. It’s mostly just marketing. Yes, there are some brands that are known to have better quality materials and longer lasting clothes, but just because the material is more durable it doesn’t mean you have great style.

If you think about “what is style?” you may come to a conclusion similar to mine: style is the chance to externally express our inner personalities. 

Some people may view style as a utility based game. I have my programmer friends who think in such a way. As long as they serve the function of me going to work and achieving my work goals I’m fine. Think about Mark Zuckerberg’s T-shirt and jeans or Steve Job’s turtleneck. It’s one less decision he has to make everyday.

I would argue that style has other functions and that Mark and Steve have already made it where they can make anything they wear iconic. As an up-and-coming man, style has a cultural function -serving as communication and representation of people in a certain tribe, be it your company or the people you work with. It has a romantic function – better dressed people tend to have more dating prospects, and it has artistic function – it’s an opportunity to express yourself and to control how you come across to other people who may help you on your journey.

I have met rich men who spent thousands of dollars a month on clothing and have no style, and friends who are students / uber drivers who have amazing style. When I was younger I’d spent money on big brands hoping that would compensate for my lack of understanding. All I got were expensive clothes that didn’t match. If you take it upon yourself to see it as a challenge to get the best clothes by optimizing your spending, you win.

Plenty of stylish guys and female friends often go to bargain stores and have amazing style. They mix and match. Here’s how they do it.

Think about the total cost to put together a 9/10 look. A look can be a completely outfit, which is made up of (usually) at least 3 items. We often use lookbooks to concept art this out in modeling shoots. Here’s an example. Budget for this look: $700.

On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 is no style and 10 is maximum style. You want your Style Attraction Points, scale of 1 to 10, to be maxed out given a budget. Let’s say you want a 9 Style Point outfit within $700. That becomes your goal. Match fit, color and a lookbook to a maximum of $700 spend. Calculate how much you can spend on each item. Average jeans are more expensive than other items. As you get better you can put together outfits for cheaper prices because your style sense and bargain hunting instincts improve.

Style points can be measured based on effectiveness in a dating situation, job situation or personal expression situation. For example, 10/10 style attraction points in a professional setting may not translate to a dating situation, and vice versa. In dating, your style should express who you are as well as create instant attraction so your dates go smoother. You’re visually appealing. In professional situations, you want your style to convey trustworthiness, stability and dependability and perhaps a touch of dominance to show leadership if that image is advantageous to your work situation.

As you get better, you can balance the style points between helping you advance your goals and feeling like you’re expressing who you are.

In the beginning you may need to follow a template or training wheels to get the hang of it, and in that process you discover unique things about yourself.

For a quick style template and tips, download the 10 little style tips here.

2. Fit

How your clothing fits you is crucial when it comes to looking good. Many guys tend to wear clothing that is too baggy for them. Baggy clothing may have been popular in the 90s, or may still work in certain situations, but the balance of probabilities in social situations is not in your favor.

What do I mean by good fit? You want clothing that fits you well and is tailored to your figure. A first visit to any tailor will involve measurements of your neck, shoulder width, length, waist circumference, leg width, and length among other areas. Having clothing that fits well shows off your body and displays a clean silhouette, whereas baggy clothing hides your body in a negative way most of the time.

Contrary to popular belief, well fitted clothes feel very comfortable. Comfort doesn’t have to be sacrificed for looking good. Also, well-fitted clothes look better even if your body is a work in progress compared toe ill-fitting clothes.

Bottom line: no matter how expensive or nice the clothing is that you’re wearing, it’s not going to look good if it doesn’t fit you properly, so always think about fit first when trying on new clothing. Here are some guidelines from Seduce With Style to help the next time you’re shopping for clothes (right click, “save as” to download):

3. The importance of colors

Colors are another key element of style. This is another topic I will cover in-depth on our YouTube channel, but keep in mind that you can express a lot about yourself through color. A lot of guys play it too safe by wearing drab colors like blue, grey, and black, but I’ll show you how to experiment and step outside of your comfort zone.

Another important thing to consider about colors is color matching. You don’t want to wear colors that clash with each other, making your look disjointed. Here are some examples of each color and how to mix and match them.

You can match colors with the following combinations. Analogous and complementary is easier and split and triadic requires a higher level skill set:

Here is an example of men using colors to match an otherwise boring beige suit:

4. Simplify

In the beginning guys often do too much, too soon. Trying to do too many things at once can make you look cluttered. Some guys put on too many accessories or too many layers.

Focus on one thing at a time. If you’re just starting out, practice buying at a discount clothing store so you can make mistakes while you mix and match. Then, focus on getting the right fit. After that, try matching different colors. Keep your progression simple and realize that this is a fun learning process.

As you get better you will experience you own style evolution to higher levels with greater ease.

Here are 2 examples of style evolution charts:

5. Adaptation

As you get better you’ll learn to adapt. There are 3 main adaptations: geographical, cultural and event specific. 

Adapting to the geography is key. For example, Miami style is different as it can rain at a moment’s notice, whereas LA doesn’t rain that much and you could be in the car a lot driving from one part to another. NYC summertime is completely different than summer time in San Francisco (coldest summer in the world).

You also have to adapt to the culture of the location. For example if you’re in college your style will be different than if you’re in a professional networking event. They say you can never be overdressed, but imagine wearing a suit to a beach party. Understanding what type of event you’re going to and how to adapt is key. Here’s guy who’s out of place at a formal event

Reversals/Exceptions

You may have realized a paradox in my advice – “Giovanni, how can I express myself, but then give me all these rules to follow? Isn’t that contradictory?”

Think of these rules as guidelines. Once you understand the rules, you can bend them. In certain instances, you can break them. For example, you can dress totally differently at an event and have the congruence to pull it off. Think of Hugh Hefner or his son Cooper wearing pajamas at their own party. That’s someone completely changing the style rules within their domain.

Usually most guys can’t do that when they are new to learning this. Starting out, you need a working hypothesis as a template – think of it as training wheels. The better you get, the more you can adapt to your own personality.

Another common compliant from students is “Isn’t it annoying to think about how you look all the time?”

Yes. Let the skill enrich you, not define you.

If you’re learning how to speak – let’s say at toastmasters – it doesn’t mean you’re public speaking all the time. You put it to good use at the right moments and you practice in-between.

Another common request is “my company culture is different”

Yes, be aware of your work culture and what’s appropriate. You may want to start experimenting outside of work first.

NY is different than California and other cities. For example, Silicon valley has a lot of engineers in sandals and shorts. In a financial company the work attire may be very formal. You can adapt accordingly to the work culture. The point is to be conscious about it.

My last point is – remember your target audience and your goal.

If your goal is a promotion and your target is your boss and the other directors of the company, consider what type of attire they wear, what would be pleasing to them, and somehow match that with something that fits your personal style and the company’s style culture. If your boss values stability, dependability and loyalty, stronger, darker colors with analogous matching may be better. If your boss values creativity and you are a graphic designer, a more creative color match may help you stand out. Generally speaking, in my humble experience, the bigger the company, the more you have to find little areas of creative expression in your style as you advance in your career.

If your goal is dating, consider the type of girl you like. What is her stereotype and what does her stereotype usually like? For example, the cheerleader and the jock. The nerdy librarian with the alpha nerd guy. Magician and dancer. Etc. Sometimes you have to dress the part to access that world. As you improve, you can incorporate your own personal style sense while paying respects to these other worlds of influence.

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