by Clay Barbour
Fashion has so many dos and don’ts that it can be overwhelming. So we asked a collection of menswear experts for one simple rule to help the fellas dress a little better.
Fit is the biggest factor.
A well-tailored cheap suit often looks better than a poorly tailored expensive one. So spend the money and get the fit right. And remember, that trendy slim fit doesn’t look good on most men.
– Ulysses Johnson, consultant, The Quality Shop, Norfolk
Pursue style, not fashion.
Fashion can be purchased but individual style is something you should strive to cultivate over a lifetime, a reflection of you as you evolve and grow in life.
– Bill Jordan, consultant, R. Bryant Ltd., Williamsburg
Start with a good sport coat.
Think of a good, versatile sport coat as a blank canvas on which to paint your own personal style. You start with it, but each piece you add on – dress or sport shirt, jeans or pants, loafers or sneakers, tie, socks, etc. – will create a work of art that reflects your personality or particular mood on that day.
– Steve Rapoport, co-owner, The Quality Shop, Virginia Beach and Norfolk
Coordinate pocket squares and ties. Don’t match them.
Matching a pocket square to a tie might seem like high-level fashion math, but it really isn’t. I prefer my square highlight the tie, without copying. Some men, however, like to go bold and will look for a square that just explodes out of the pocket. That’s OK, if you like that. But never, ever match the colors exactly.
– Clay Barbour, editor, Distinction
A pink shirt should be in every guy’s closet.
A pop of color perfect for the right setting: Think summer wedding, barbecue or even work. It pairs seamlessly with all of the basic whites and blues you already have in your closet.
– Paul Trible, co-founder and CEO, Ledbury, Richmond
There is no such thing as a dress jean.
Denim is meant to be lived in. Don’t keep your jeans caged up waiting for a special occasion; wear them, ride your bike in them, live in them and yes, change your oil in them.
– Anthony Lupesco, owner, Shockoe Atelier, Richmond
Consider your height when choosing your hat.
The taller you are, the more brim you can pull off.
– Mike Benton, owner, Stark & Legum, Norfolk
Burn your pleats.
They will definitely come back in a couple decades (as all things do), but in the meantime burn them all.
– Craig Beecroft, owner, Beecroft & Bull, Virginia Beach, Richmond and Charlottesville
Ignore the size on the box.
Sizes don’t really mean anything anymore. Just look for the shoe that fits.
– Paul Thomas, consultant,
Franco’s Fine Clothier, Richmond
For a briefcase or travel bag, venture beyond the standard brown or black. When investing in a leather briefcase or travel bag,
it makes sense to gravitate toward traditionally neutral colors, but my suggestion is to consider expanding your definition to include shades like navy and olive. You want to stand out – not stick out – and these colors can add a great dimension to your style, whether you’re en route to the office or on the way to the beach.
– Thomas Brennan, director of design, Moore & Giles, Forest, Virginia