Collar and Cuff

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First Posted: 1/12/2015

As the mercury continues to drop to earth-shattering levels, many of us have no choice but to retreat beneath lumpy parkas and ugly hats as we hurry to escape January’s chill. It’s more than easy to look bad in the winter, especially in cold snaps like these, when preserving life and limb seem far more important than remaining fashionable. For many of you out there, though, spring’s thaw will come and go, leaving you in a sartorial state no better than this winter’s. Gentlemen, consider this a wake-up call. The following are just a few reasons your wardrobe sucks.

Your suits don’t fit.

There’s nothing sadder and more frumpy-looking than a man in an ill-fitting, oversized suit. We’ve all seen this guy, swimming around in a sea of excess fabric, looking like a teenager who’s borrowed his father’s suit for the prom. It’s a universally bad look, and yet our sidewalks are still filled with men who insist on wearing improperly sized suits off the rack.

What the majority of men don’t seem to understand is that, in the world of suiting, tailoring is not optional. No man should ever, ever wear a suit off the rack, especially in an age when tailoring has become so convenient and affordable. As little as $35 worth of tailoring can make a man look 20 pounds lighter, 2 inches taller and far, far more comfortable in his own skin.

Your jeans don’t fit.

Proper fit isn’t just relegated to formalwear. Nothing kills a casual outfit like baggy, light-wash dad jeans or, heaven forbid, cargo pants. You don’t have to pour yourself into circulation-constricting girl jeans, but a good pair of dark, slim fit jeans that accentuate the shape of the leg will once again make you look taller, dressier and more put together.

You’re afraid of patterns.

Somewhere along the line, women’s fashion seems to have seized a monopoly on patterns, leaving the men’s mainstream with little more than a few plaids and checks to choose from. There’s nothing emasculating about bold, even flamboyant patterns, though, and these accents can be used to elevate a relatively bland ensemble to the next level. Warm herringbones, bold houndstooth checks and colorful paisleys add punch and character to your outfit. Learn to love them.

You’re not 16 anymore.

Don’t get me wrong, here. I miss the dozens of black, screen-printed band t-shirts I bought at Hot Topic in my youth. I even kept a few of them, and I’ll wear one underneath a sport jacket from time to time. They’re not, however, a central focus of my wardrobe anymore, and your skate hoodies and Vans slip-ons probably shouldn’t be, either. If you’re old enough to drink at a bar, you should be old enough to wear a pair of oxfords and a button-up once in a while.

Keep in mind, this is far from an exhaustive list. Everyone’s wardrobe, including my own, sucks in a unique and individual way. There’s always room for sartorial improvement, and these are just a few suggestions to get your closet back on track.

Do yourself a favor, and make 2015 your sharpest looking year yet.