a style guide for men "getting back in the game"

photo j crew

at this dating stage in my life, i'm finding that i'm dating men in their 30's and 40's. generally, these are the men who never thought they'd ever be dating again, but due to divorce or death, they're forced to get back in the saddle. 

dating after a multi-year hiatus is a new and scary territory. dynamics and communication have changed dramatically and so has the fashion....

now, it is my staunch opinion that MOST (not all) men stop their fashion evolution when they get married. what worked in 1999 still works, right?!

suddenly, they're thrust back into the dating shark tank and they are reverting back to their fashion comfort zones while we have evolved quite dramatically....since these men are going to great efforts to spruce things up, let's just guide them in the right direction... no matter what their personal style may be...

after dating THE DUTCH (who had impeccable classic style), i learned that there are really some basic male fashion rules and most women appreciate a man who just looks good in the basics. 

to ease this transition, i've put together a list of male fashion don'ts.... feel free to forward this onto your newly single friends so i don't have to make them over....

please avoid:

  1. frosted tips.
  2. clothes that don't FIT you. are you REALLY an XL? maybe you're an M and in the 90's we wore things big... just looks like you lost weight and haven't invested in a new wardrobe....
  3. puka shell necklaces- male jewelry of any kind is DICEY... beware. 
  4. hair color of any kind-it looks desperate and grey is sexy. 
  5. anything with a giant logo. 
  6. braided belts.
  7. doc martins from the 90's.
  8. short sleeved button down white dress shirts (you're not on a mission in thailand anymore).
  9. wide legged pants.
  10. carpenter jeans/shorts.
  11. anything with the words, TRUE AFFLICTION, ED HARDY, ABERCROMBIE & FITCH, or OBEY on it. 
  12. any T shirts that have a scripty big font, rhinestones, or the fleur de lis.
  13. jeans with any of the following anywhere: wide white stitching, flourishes on the back pockets, rhinestones, frayed hems, whiskering, whitewashed thighs. 
  14. wide brimmed hats (they are you 22? do you work for vivant?) 
  15. oakley wrap around sunglasses.
  16. sculpted facial hair. 
  17. flavor savors, soul patches, you name it.... 
  18. earrings. 
  19. overly groomed eyebrows. 
  20. hair that requires a flat iron or a whole lot of spiking. 
  21. sports team jerseys (wear it to your pick up game! not a date). 
  22. plastic shoes of any kind... pleather, crocs. 
  23. pleated dress pants. 
  24. wide-cut suits. 
  25. cartoon ties- just because it's silk, it doesn't mean it's "dressy."
  26. button down shirts with loud prints (are you "cam" from MODERN FAMILY?) or embellishment. 
  27. leather jackets with too much going on. 
  28. aggressive cologne.... if you want a list, i'll give you one.... 
  29. tank tops. ever. 
  30. cut off shorts. 
honestly, men's fashion is really quite simple. stick with the classics! james dean. still looks cool. 

invest in:
  1. T- shirts and button down shirts (without embellishment) that flatter your skin tone... blue, green, brown, white, black, grey... great! be careful with pink, red, orange, yellow. 
  2. a great pair of well fitting darker washed jeans - i really like AG. 
  3. a nicely tailored suit. 
  4. a few really lovely and SIMPLE ties. 
  5. a hoodie without a brand on the front or back. 
  6. well fitting chinos without pleats.
  7. a great leather belt in black and brown. 
  8. a great pair of casual leather shoes/tennis shoes.
  9. simple sunglasses- rayban wayfarers look amazing in most men. 
  10. a great classic hair cut that flatters and is low maintenance. 
  11. a great coat. basic. a trench is ALWAYS sexy but if that is too much of a fashion risk, just stick with ONE color coats with classic stitching.
  12. a good sunscreen. 
  13. a nice watch. it doesn't have to break the bank. white faces are always classic and modern. 
  14. socks. (maybe play with a fun color)
  15. a classic pair of boots- frye and SHABBIES (amsterdam) are fantastic and they last forever. 
ladies, did i leave anything out?

now... before you attack me for being a snob, i'm honestly just trying to help. none (well... maybe the ed hardy) of these are total deal breaking offenses.... lets be honest, i kissed a flavor savor for MONTHS before my darling graciously shaved that off for me (what a happy day that was to see his handsome chin)! but isn't it just easier to have a few basic guidelines? keep it simple. 

now let's go out!


Burgess said...

I think the 30s are a transitional fashion time in every man's life -- married or single. My husband has definitely gotten stuck in a way of dressing that doesn't really work anymore for his age and/or station in life now. So I will be using this for him (I will send it to him, but let's face it -- its me that shops). Thanks! And...I agree with everything you just said.

Fistylist said...

I will add the items that have made my husband comfortable and confident in his casual wardrobe:

Bruno Magli Raging loafers- worth every penny!
Thomas Dean button down shirts
Hugo Boss quarter zip sweaters
AG Protege straight leg pants in multiple colors

We also have found using a personal shopper at Nordstrom incredibly helpful. Perry pulls items for my husband ahead of the Half Yearly and Anniversary sales. The most important thing is avoiding the overly square cut that is prevalent with many American designers. If your man has an athletic build, he needs a fit to accentuate it. A skilled sales associate knows how each line fits and can help you pare down options.

Great post, Natalie!

sydney gillman said...

Ha these are too good. I feel as if you'll enjoy this http://www.buzzfeed.com/justinabarca/things-men-over-30-should-never-wear?bffb&s=mobile

Terri said...

I participate in that same dating pool and you are dead on!

The Suzzzz said...

Excellent lists! You listed all my pet peeves and all my favorites. I especially like the "get a good coat" part. I hate it when I going somewhere nice and I'm dressed up and wearing event appropriate outer wear, and my date shows up in a suit and a ski jacket.

Hellmuth said...

frosted tips. clothes that don't FIT you. are you REALLY an XL? ... buttondownshirtdress.blogspot.com