Posted by: Sonali Velinker Kamat on April 15, 2016
From your preferred drink to your table manners, women have a million parameters by which they regularly critique men. Fashion — and all those nifty bells and whistles that go with it — is a big benchmark for good taste. It is also a tricky arena to navigate for men who aren’t born with an edgy, innate style. Yet, if you focus on our top five recommendations for getting it right, you’ll be well on your way to fashion forward. Just remember, it is important to be informed about fashion, but not led by it. The only way to hit recurrent high notes on the style stakes is to refine your overall style: we’re not recommending a few new clothes or brands to buy, we’re offering up an achievable roadmap to lasting good taste.
PUTTING THE RIGHT FOOT FORWARD
The first thing a woman is likely to judge you by is your footwear. Wearing Louis Vuitton loafers may tell her you’re well off, but if they’re scruffy, she will assume you’re a lazy slob too (and that’s putting it mildly). Good taste — and an appreciation thereof — isn’t defined by luxury brands. Women appreciate a man who knows his chukkas from his monk straps. Even more so, women hand out mental brownie points to men who know what shoes work best with what outfit. You’ll score for backless leather driving shoes (Tod’s get two thumbs up) with a casual outfit. Wear them with socks and you end up with negative marking! Be on-trend and show off your ankles in moccasins, but buy no-show socks for comfort (smelly toes are a total turn-off). Additionally, we’d recommend making a tasteful choice by ditching synthetic shoes — a classic pair of dress shoes, for instance, should never have a rubber sole.
CASUAL VS. GRUNGY
Dressing informally does not mean dressing badly — in fact, good taste is on display most of all when you can pull off casual in an effortlessly classy way. There are shorts and there are shorts. Steer away from frumpy, over-long shorts. Pick styles that finish an inch or two above the knee and leave the boardshorts for your days by the poolside. Buy top quality jeans. Intentionally distressed and torn from overuse isn’t the same thing! Consider occasionally substituting great denims for sharp chinos. Avoid graphic tees and loud logos. Sport good underwear but never put your smalls on display unless you are getting undressed!
FORMAL, NOT FLASHY
Tom Ford, Zegna and Armani — they’re all brands one should aspire to own when it comes to suits. Yet, a well-fitted, custom-tailored suit spells ‘tasteful’ even if it isn’t a high-end brand. We’d recommend matt over a shiny fabric any day of the week and black, navy blue, charcoal and grey before you buy tan or true blue. White suits have their place on the style ladder, but they aren’t easy to carry off or maintain, so a suit novice should strictly steer clear of this colour. Women define good taste in formal wear by your choice of accessories: a slim tie, a pocket square, a bow tie or a tie pin says almost as much about your taste as your suit itself.
CONFIDENT, NOT CRASS
Understanding labels and how to wear them — herein lies the holy grail of good taste. If you’ve ever wondered how a brand like Bottega Veneta, founded over 100 years after major domo Louis Vuitton, has become this decade’s ‘it’ brand, it is because true connoisseurs know that you needn’t flash a label to get noticed. Pick design and quality over brand every time — choosing staples and accessories that reflect your taste, not just your bank balance. Even if you have a propensity for brand buys (which we have absolutely nothing against), remember that the mantra of the elite market today is ‘inconspicuous consumption’.
GOD IS IN THE DETAILS
Wearing a dapper suit won’t fly if you haven’t paid attention to your grooming. It’s off-putting (to say the least) to see dirty, overlong nails or waxy ears that are in desperate need of cleaning — and women have an extra-sensitive radar for that sort of thing. Assuming your hygiene is faultless and you also have a tasteful selection of clothes and accessories in your arsenal, remember that regular maintenance is vital too. Ensure your clothes are always well ironed, stain-free and damage-free. Give away or discard garments that no longer fit you well. And — back to the basics — when you are adding to your fashion stash after sifting out your wardrobe weeds, remember to pick quality over quantity every single time.
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