Over the past few days, I’ve trawled through the archives here at ‘Guy Style Guide’ to create a compact fashion guide including all the male styling hints and tips that you simply cannot afford to ignore if you want to look smart and chic.

Here’s a list of the top fifteen fashion commandments I’ve given you in the past, revised and expanded, so you’ll have no excuse to break them in the future:

1. Socks and sandals
How many times do I have to say it? Socks and sandals are a match made in hell. It’s like wearing shorts on a rainy day or an overcoat in the height of summer; you either want your feet exposed to the fresh air or you don’t!

If you want to wear something light on your feet, but still keep your socks on, try a pair of light canvas shoes instead.

2. Wearing sunglasses indoors or after-dark
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear! Only the most neglected of individuals would be so bold as to put on shades inside or during the post-evening hours. There’s no need to resort to such a poser move – instead, rest your sunnies over your forehead if you plan to escape outdoors again soon, or fold them up and tuck them in your pocket instead.

3. Expensive umbrellas
As I mentioned in my book “Male Wardrobe Essentials” (yes, I’ve written a book wouldn’t you know) it’s a waste of time buying expensive umbrellas. You’ll either leave them in the back of the taxi cab after a week, or they’ll be blown inside-out after a sudden gust during a blustery shower.

4. Excessive Denim
Denim works brilliantly in small doses. Feel free to wear a denim jacket or a pair of indigo jeans; just make sure you don’t go overboard with it though, otherwise you may find somebody has reported you to the fashion police.

5. Novelty Clothing
We all like a good natured joke, and a pair of jovial socks at Christmas is no bad thing. But please don’t bring it into the workplace; it’s unprofessional, appears garish and nobody needs to know about your affinity for cartoon animals and primetime sitcom characters.

6. Damaged garments
There’s no need to wear clothes that are falling apart. Find a sewing kit to reattach those missing buttons and small rips in the fabric. No good with a needle and thread? Then find someone who is!

7. Bye-bye ‘bling’
Unless you’re an international hip-hop artiste or Mr. T. (congratulations on both by the way), there’s absolutely no need to go overboard with the costume jewellery. As a broad rule, never wear any more than three pieces of ‘bling’ at once; that usually means a wedding ring, a watch and either cufflinks or a tie-clip (depending on what the occasion calls for).

8. The golden rule for baseball caps
This one is simple; if you’re older than your shoe size then your baseball cap should face the front. Again, don’t resort to novelty designs and team logos; cattle are for branding, not humans.

9. Belt sizing guidelines
Remember that your belt should always be one size bigger than your waistline. Therefore if you have a 32-inch waist, you should be looking to find a 34-inch belt. If the belt is pulled too tightly, you’re going to look like a glorified sack of spuds and a loose belt does no good for anyone.

10. Controlling your Windsor knots
Don’t let your Windsor grow out of control! Pay attention whilst you’re tying the knot and make sure you spend a good few minutes working to achieve the perfect trademark dimple.

11. Going on a shopping spree?
Then always take a friend along with you. Salespeople aren’t there for your benefit, they’re there to keep the store in profit; they don’t really care if an item of clothing suits you, just so long as they’re they ones ringing up the purchase on the tills…

12. Sneakers and suits
If you’re wearing sneakers with your suit then you’re in casual attire. Remember this fact always, and never, ever turn up to the office wearing your brand new Converse or Nikes – it’s just not the time or place for it.

13. Clip-on Ties
No adult should ever resort to wearing a ‘clip-on’ anything; you shouldn’t have any problems whatsoever tying a simple ‘four-in-hand’ and if, for some reason you do, there are plenty of great tutorials out there that’ll help you learn.

14. Overcoats and belts
These are a ‘no-no’ for two reasons. Firstly, it has a strong feminine edge to it. Secondly, they look remarkably like dressing gowns, and you don’t want to be wearing night garments in the street!

15. Suits come in pairs.
When you purchase a suit, it should come with matching jacket and trousers. If they don’t arrive as a pair you shouldn’t wear them as such. No matter how hard you try to align the colour, texture and tone, you’ll never get a perfect match and you’ll look pretty ridiculous because of it.

About The Author

Johnathan Bell is the founder, owner and main author of Guy Style Guide, a website dedicated to everyday male fashion, style and grooming. The primary mission? To guide clueless men through the tricky mindfield that is the growing world of male couture. Find him on , Twitter and Tumblr.

15 Responses

  1. senatorrosewater

    No team logos on baseball caps?

    Seriously? Not even like, baseball team logos???

    I think you’re British, yes? Maybe this is a cross-the-pond difference, but the logo of a baseball team (Professional, minor league, or college) is perfectly acceptable on a baseball cap.

    • Johnathan

      Ah, some controversy 😀

      Yes, I’d say even team logos on baseball caps are pretty bad. You’re probably right about it being a cultural difference, however, we still experience similar problems with other sporting paraphernalia – for example, in the UK it’s a common sight to see young babies shovelled into the hot, itchy-nylon reproduction uniforms of our soccer teams; even the thought makes me shudder!

      Again, like everything I think it comes down to context and tone. I don’t think anyone would object to a team logo at the stadium (just as nobody would a pair of novelty socks at Christmas), but nobody in the office or around the town is that desperate to know about your sporting passions. You’d also be amazed at the number of guys who don’t even consider how it fits in with the rest of their outfit; for some reason, just because it’s a cap and not a fedora, they think it somehow doesn’t count…

      Anyway, thank you for your comment; it’s always good to have a bit of contention 🙂

  2. Van Charles

    Johnathan, I completely agree on the issue of sportswear branding.

    I just found this site, and wanted to give you high five for the great design and content. Keep up the great work!

    P.S. Love the highlighting!

  3. Courtney

    Are you kidding me? The whole point behind baseball caps is so you can show support for your favorite team. Blank hats are lame!

  4. Nene33

    Some are really good in this one(like the clip-on tie 😆 , seriously, don’t wear a tie if that’s the only option 😀 ), but some(including the baseball caps one) are personality killers, and as much as I don’t believe in a grey mass of slobs, I also don’t wanna see a designer mass of look-a-like’s, because that’ll go grey on you to.

    It’s all about the balance to me, style, and personality can mesh beautifully, as they should.

    • Johnathan

      A good point well made!

      My golden rule around here is to understand the rules but follow your own judgement. These are all broad ‘no-no’s rather than absolutes.

      I don’t think that suggesting ‘avoid novelty hats and team logos’ is the same thing as saying ‘make it bland, grey and samey’; there are an endless selection of colours, fabrics, textures, patterns, graphic designs, materials, etc available. I think there’s a long way to go before the world is consumed by ‘designer-bots’ 😀

      Thanks for the great comment Nene33!

      • Nene33

        That’s true, and it’s good to put the fundamentals up like that, so people have a foundation to build a style from(and can add personal touches as it develops).

  5. Yehoshua

    I agree with everything on the list except for no team logos on baseball caps. I wear a baseball cap to support my team — it’s about heritage and tradition, not some arbitrary style rules. Blank ball caps are completely lame.

  6. ZimonZi

    Just as a point, I don’t think I have ever heard of anyone who is younger than their shoe size.
    I mean, do you know any 10 year olds with size 13 feet? I know I don’t.
    I assume that because you’re British you mean the UK sizing system? My point becomes invalid when using European sizes, but then again, so does yours.

    • Johnathan

      Do I know any 10 year olds with size 13 feet? Plenty! In fact, I had size 11 feet at ten years old; freakish? Perhaps… 😉

      Okay, so I was using a little hyperbole in the article to exaggerate my point somewhat; essentially, I’m suggesting that unless you’re a pre-teen it’s best to keep that cap facing front.

      Thanks for the comment ZimonZi

  7. Peter

    I still have every umbrella I have ever bought….but I would still never spend more than $10 for an umbrella.

  8. Elza Burkart

    I would never let a client buy something that didn’t suit him, a good floor stylist’s job is to make a good profit for the store, by making their customers look good! I know that plenty of sales people don’t do that and will just nod and smile even if you look ridiculous, but there ARE those of us that will try hard to find what really suits someone. sorry, end of my little rant. Great blog!

    • Johnathan

      Hi Elza. A worthy rant if I ever read one. I by no means wanted to suggest that floor stylists are devious ne’er do wells, out to do wrong by their customers; merely that no one should feel pressured into buying something they’re not entirely happy about. Ultimately, it’s a store’s function to sell goods and a friend’s function to do right by their cohort – a good, honest friend will be always be straight with you, whereas a sales assistant may not always be on your side.

      Naturally, there are good floor stylists to be found, and I hope to author a post on finding out the good ones very soon. Thanks for the comment Elza!