There are already too many rules in life. Some, on the other hand, are there to assist. The rules that govern how to dress well, for example. Of course, every man or woman who has an opinion on such matters does so based on personal experience – and what works for one person may not work for another; or what works for one person may be considered too pedestrian or too avant-garde by another. As a result, they must always be taken at face value when it comes to dressing. They are just suggestions, not the final word on fashion.
In moments of confusion and self-doubt, having a valuable fall-back position that cuts through the clutter can help. As menswear becomes ever more rich and varied, ever more experimental and abundant, ever more trend-aware, it can help to have a valuable fall-back position that cuts through the clutter.
These ‘rules’ are usually based on history – they have worked for generations, so they are likely to work today as well. And they are usually based on the obvious, which is often overlooked: a preference for good fit, high quality, versatility, good value, avoiding extremes, and keeping things simple.
There are undoubtedly many more rules than those presented here. Some of these may have already been discovered by you. After all, trying new clothing on, seeing if it suits you, and seeing how it makes you feel is part of the fun of dressing, which no rule should prevent. These rules, on the other hand, have stood the test of time and, when combined, serve as a failsafe guide to dressing well today.
1. Put on a Well-Fitting Suit
The most important aspect of a suit is appearance is its fit. If you are buying off-the-rack, Davide Taub, head of bespoke suits at Savile Row tailor Gieves & Hawkes, recommends focusing on the fit across the shoulders because altering the chest and waist is relatively simple. “Unless you are going for a total period look, avoid wearing a period suit because it starts to look like a novelty when worn alone,” he adds. The best and most useful style is the classic – dark, two-button, single-breasted, with moderate details. “It is not dull.” A suit is a form of dress code. The idea is to think of this suit as a blank canvas on which to paint various expressions of individuality. It is how you wear it, not the label on the inside, that makes an impression.”