Hey Gents,

Before we get started, I wanted to announce the winner of last week’s Huckberry accessories giveaway. And that winner is… zacskaugset! What kind of name is that, you wonder? Well, it’s not, it’s part of an email address.

zacskaugset, you should be receiving an email from us soon, if you haven’t already. Congrats, and thanks to everyone who entered! Keep an eye out for more EG giveaways in the near future.

Today’s guest article is from Robert of Restart Your Style.


Robert The Style Myth-Buster

You’ve heard them before, right?

Expressions like, “You have to dress to impress,” or, “It’s all in the details!”

You may have heard them from a friend, from your mom, or from the media…heck, these expression are so common, chances are you’ve used them yourself.

And as you learn about personal style, you add even more of these words of wisdoms to your mental notebook. Some ideas get repeated over and over, so you have no choice but to accept them as true.

But what if they’re not?

What if they’re a bunch of big fat myths?

Could they lead you astray? Could they cause you to abandon a look that works fine for you? Could they keep you looking sloppy?

After all, just because many people believe something is true, doesn’t make it so. I mean, people once believed the earth was flat, and look how that turned out.

So let’s challenge some of the most common tips and truisms that you’ll encounter.

Let’s bust some of the most common style myths so they stop holding you back.

And let’s start with the top five:

Myth #1: “Style Is All in the Details”

Admittedly, there is some truth to this one because details do matter.

But some guys believe ALL they have to do is get a few details right, and they love believing it because it makes them feel that improving their style comes down to changing a few small things.

They focus on the color of their socks and the fold of their pocket square, while they’re still clueless about proper fit, contrast or how to match their clothes.

Baggy jeans

“Am I wearing the right color socks?”

As you may know, I used to be a terrible dresser. My go-to clothes were baggy jeans, graphic tees, and mismatched hoodies. But I thought getting a belt that matched my shoes would give my style a gigantic boost.

Of course, I still looked like a fool.

Details can transform an outfit from good to great, but they can’t transform an outfit from bad to good. If you’re wearing a bad outfit, getting a few details right won’t save you.

Suggested substitute: “Style is all in the overall look, but great style is in the details.”


Myth #2: “You Should Wear More Color”

Okay, I’m cheating a little with this one – because I agree.

If your wardrobe looks like you robbed the set of a black-and-white movie, adding color is a good idea.

The problem lies with how guys interpret this advice. They think they should collect colors in their wardrobe like Ash Ketchum collects Pokémon.

“Gotta catch ’em all!”

Or, they start donning so many bold colors at the same time that they would make a rainbow jealous.

But you don’t need a gazillion colors in your wardrobe. Some neutrals and two or three signature colors is plenty. Just vary the lightness and darkness to maintain contrast and you’re good.

Add more colors if you want, but it’s not necessary.

As for your outfits, you only need one color to make an outfit pop.

When I was still a rookie, clueless about color-matching, I gave myself a one-color rule; I would keep my outfit neutral, except for one item (or two in the same color family).

The one-color rule applied

The one-color rule applied

I loved this simple rule because it freed me from worrying about mismatching colors. And to this day, I still rarely cross it, since simplicity is still my thang.

But you can wear two or even three, if you know how to color-match. Just don’t overdo it, and only one bold color max.

(Note: When I say two or three colors, I group every tint, tone and shade into the same color family. So light-blue and dark-blue count as one.)

The idea behind ‘wear more color’ is that you leave your black-and-white rut, not that you pile ’em on.

Suggested substitute: “You should wear more color more often.”


Myth #3: “You Gotta Keep Up with the Trends, Bro!”

Trends are overrated.

Being trendy and being stylish aren’t the same (though, not mutually exclusive). You can be up on all the latest trends, but still look like a jackass.

But many guys’ first instinct when they want to step up their style is to hit the fashion sites and see what’s hot right now.

So if the next big trend this season is glow-in-the-dark platform shoes, guess what they’re putting on their shopping lists?

Glow-in-the-dark platform shoes

This summer’s hottest trend: Glow-in-the-dark platform shoes

Being trendy isn’t necessary to be stylish. And who wants clothes that are gonna be out of style next year anyway?

That’s just a waste of money.

Instead, invest in classic men’s wardrobe staples – dark blue jeans, white shirts, grey or navy blazers, etc. They’ve stood the test of time for a reason, and will continue to do so for a long while to come.

And if you’re worried about looking bland or old-fashioned, you can always add trendier pieces later.

But the classics should come first. Because no matter what comes in or out of style, you can rely on them to keep you looking sharp.

And when you rely on being trendy, you’ll be chasing your own tail, trying to keep up.

Suggested substitute: “You gotta stick with the classics, dude!”


Myth #4: “Every Man Must Own a Suit”

This one is controversial because to some this rule is golden.

To some, the thought of attending a wedding or funeral in anything BUT a suit is ludicrous because you would be severely under-dressed.

And you know what? They’re not necessarily wrong.

But whether this rule applies depends on where you live because traditions differ from place to place. And not just from country to country, but from state to state, and even from family to family.

And in some places, these affairs are less traditional and much more casual.

Robert as a slob

Don’t worry…we don’t go like this, either

Where I live, for instance, few people wear a suit to a wedding celebration.

I worked as a waiter at a party-centre when I was young, so I’ve attended my fair share of weddings. The only people who usually wore suits were the groom, the dads, and a few of the older guests.

And suits are a rare sight at funerals around here too. Most people don’t even wear black.

To some guys, who come from more traditional places, this sounds like heresy.

To other guys, this just sounds familiar. And those guys may never need a suit. Chances are the suit that they must own will end up collecting dust in their closets.

So never feel like you must get a suit if you don’t need or want one.

If you do ever need one, even only once in a blue moon, then get one. But personally, I’ll wait until the need arises.

Suggested substitute: “Every man who needs a suit should own one.”


Myth #5: “You Have to Dress to Impress”

This advice makes sense because you often find yourself in situations where you want to impress someone.

But when you have to dress to impress, you need to look inside the minds of others to discover what will impress them. And most often, you don’t know the people you want to impress well enough to do this.

Also, when you try to impress people, you put them in a position of higher value. You put yourself in a position of neediness. You don’t wanna do that, do you?

Nothing makes you look worse.

So instead of dressing to impress, how about you dress to express?

When you have a job interview, express that you respect the opportunity. When you have to meet an important client, express that you’re trustworthy and you take their business seriously. When you have a date, express that you’re a cool, confident guy.

Couple on a date

Dress to express the best-possible version of yourself. Be the best you that you can be, and let them all take it or leave it.

That shows confidence, which is the most attractive quality to wear. People like confident guys. They respect confident guys. They do business and have second dates with confident guys.

Dress to express the best-possible version of yourself, and you’ll make the best impression possible.

Suggested substitute: “You have to dress to express”


Style Is Personal, So Make Up Your Own Mind

If you disagree with any of the above… then GOOD! 

We give you advice to send you in the right direction, but style is personal. Style is what you make it, so only you can decide what’s right and wrong for you.

Challenge what you’re told, test it, and make up your own mind.

That’s how you develop your own sense of style  – that’s the point.

That’s how you develop a style that’s YOU.

Thanks, Robert!

If you want to get your style upgrade off to a great start, check out Robert’s E-book The Beginner’s Guide to Dressing Better. (Or if you want, you can read my review here)

What do you think about these common style myths? Agree or disagree, and why? Let us know in the comments below.

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26 Responses

  1. VitaminCM on

    I’m totally with you on 4 of the 5. I still think EVERY man needs to own at least one good suit.
    Weddings, Funerals, Job Interviews, or just looking awesome. If you never have any possible occasion where you might want to look awesome, maybe fashion isn’t your biggest problem.

    • Robert van Tongeren on

      Haha, I hear you and good job on challenging it. I would never say that suits don’t make a guy look awesome. I would say though that guys can still look awesome in casual to smart-casual clothes, especially if they feel more comfortable in those.

      As for job interviews… I would agree with you there, except fields exist where wearing a suit would be overkill to wear to a job interview.

      Many men should probably own at least one suit, but I’d never say everyone, and I wouldn’t say it should be a priority. You should get one when you need it, not in case you ever need it.

      • Alex MIller on

        I think that’s the operative word: “priority.” I agree that having a suit tucked away doesn’t hurt, but is it a priority for some men, particularly those just starting their style journey? I don’t think so.

      • Patrick on

        But when you need it, you may not have time to go get one. While weddings are generally planned in advance, funerals and interviews can sometimes happen on very short notice. A half-decent suit doesnt have to cost much and if your body doesnt change much it could last you a decade or more. Think of it as insurenance, you may never need it, but it’s comforting to know you have it when you need it.

        • Robert van Tongeren on

          I agree and if you need a suit for funerals, you should get one. But like I said, wearing a suit to a funeral isn’t required everywhere.

          Also, you may not work in a field where you need a suit for a job interview. Let me grab something out of thin air, and say a guy wants to be a surf-instructor. Does he really need a suit for that interview?

          To clarify, I’m not saying no man should own a suit. I think suits look great. I’m only saying not every man needs to have one. In many men’s case, it’s a good idea to have one.. But for some men in certain environments and with certain circumstances won’t soon come into any situation where they need it.

          But like I said in the article, if you’re not one of those guys, this may sound like heresy.

  2. Rollo on

    I will only wear my charcoal grey suit to funerals and maybe a wedding or two, if that, so I bought a cheap one, making sure of course that it fit reasonably well. The quality of the material is low, but it won’t matter since it is sitting in the closet for a decade or two. Fit not quality.

      • beardedman on

        Because low quality suits rarely look good… especially off the rack. But it’s easy and inexpensive to get a decent quality suit made to measure these days.

        • Robert van Tongeren on

          If you ask me, they can look good enough that you can get away with it, especially if you only wear them on very rare occasions anyway.

          And while you can get m2m suits for a better deal than you could n the past, what you call ” inexpensive” is still a bg chunk of change for a guy who’s on a budget. Those sites you listed in your other comment, their suits are still around $500. That may not be much for you, but for other guys it’s a big investment. Is that so hard to imagine?

          • beardedman on

            I respect your opinion too. But are you saying “good enough that you can get away with it” is a style? Isn’t that what guys are here to learn about… doing better than just getting by on minimums? Not all “styles” are good. Clothes are indeed a big investment. Retail on jeans $59 to over $300. T-shirts $25 – $50 – $100. J.Crew button downs $100+. And something like a bomber jacket… anywhere from $125 to $500 in cloth, over $1K in leather. Sick sneakers from one to many hundreds.

          • Robert van Tongeren on

            Okay, I worded that poorly. What I meant was, that if it looks good, you can get away with it. Not all guys come here to learn how to do better than getting by on minimums. They come to learn how to make clothes look good on them.

            I’ve talked to many guys about their style-goals over e-mail, and not everyone’s interested in being the best-dressed guy in town. Most guys seeking style advice just want to learn how to dress better than they’re doing now. They just want to stop looking like a slob.

            And many guys want to learn how to do it with clothes they can actually afford. For many guys, getting a wardrobe full of $100 shirts and $300 jeans is just not realistic.

            And a well-coordinated, well-fitting outfit made from average-quality clothes will look almost, if not, as good as one from high-quality clothes… If I would rank different factors of what makes an outfit look good, quality would be far from the top factor.

            That said, I do recommend guys invest a little more in certain items, such as suits, blazers, shoes. Just saying it doesn’t have to be top-quality.

        • Gazman on

          I believe low quality suits can look good provided they – a) fit, b) are designed well and c) suit the wearer. To many, ‘low quality’ may mean suits by Zara, Uniqlo or H&M but I’ve seen men look fantastic in such suits and usually it is because of the above.

  3. Rockford on

    There are too many choices (JCF Thompson, H&M) at MalWart pricing to not own at least one grey suit.

  4. Daniel Brown on

    “Dress to Express” = perfect. Thanks, needed to hear that along with your thinking behind it. Great article!

  5. JMK on

    Sorry, but EVERY man needs to own at least one suit. Robert– I don’t know where you live that people rarely wear suits to weddings or funerals. Somewhere out in the boons?

    • Robert van Tongeren on

      Haha, nah. I think people out “in the boons” would generally fall on the more traditional side, actually 😉

      But travel a couple hundred miles in any direction, and you might be surprised how different their culture is.

  6. beardedman on

    I agree with a lot of this, but I think the take on dressing to “express” is a mistake, or it *can* be a mistake in the hands of the inexperienced. If you’re dressing for a job interview and your sense of style for such things is still under development, sticking to the more common view of dressing is something to consider. A charcoal suit, white shirt, black shoes, sensible tie, fresh haircut… this is pretty universal. You can let your hair down later. Or… are you wanting to take your love interest to a really nice restaurant? Again, something classic might work best… depending on where you live and dine. Dressing traditionally doesn’t make you look needy… unless you think applying for a job or taking your girl out makes you look needy. Classic dress done well is going to impress people, no prior knowledge of the people involved is needed.

    And yes, I’d say a man should own and occasionally *find a reason* to wear a suit. I personally don’t believe anyone can claim to have “style” without a tailored suit in his arsenal. (Off the rack doesn’t count.) Easy and inexpensive to get one today. Black Lapel, Indochino, J.Hilburn, and others make it as easy as getting jeans from Amazon.com.

    • Robert van Tongeren on

      Hey beardedman. Thanks for your well-thought-out comment.

      I just want to clarify though, that dress to express doesn’t mean you have to dress outside the norm. Expressing yourself doesn’t have to be artsy or different or whatever. A traditional suit, in many cases, would be the best choice for a job interview, because it expresses qualities like professionalism and respect.

      I’m not arguing that fact. I only think that guys should decide for themselves whether it’s right for them, rather than let other people decide. If they wear a suit to an interview, I want them to wear it because they want to express those qualities, and not because they hope it will win somebody’s favor.

      I don’t think dressing traditionally makes you look needy at all. That’s not at all what I meant. But Isn’t it better to dress traditionally because you want to vs. because you think someone else wants you to?

      Instead of saying “Look sir, I put on my costume for you, so please hire me”, you’re saying, “This is me putting my best self forward. Hire me if you like what you see.”

      You don’t believe anyone can claim to have style without owning a tailored suit, but that statement’s only based on your own view of what style should be. Should everyone else abide by that view?

      Does a person who looks amazing in casual wear stop having style because he has no suit in his wardrobe?

      While I honestly respect your opinion, I think that’s a very narrow view on a very broad concept. Style comes in many, many flavors, and the whole point of this article is for guys to think for themselves and decide what they want it to be.

  7. Brett Vaughan on

    This information is solid gold. I like the idea of not dressing trendy, though if you’re already a trendy person that might be harder to accept. I suppose some people absolutely must have the latest and greatest “thing” that comes out, regardless what it is, and even if it means the thrift shop is going to get it later. I took quite a lot of good out of that one color rule, I like things to be more simple but I could stand to have a bit more color in my wardrobe. Thanks for putting this out there, a lot of it seems like common sense, but funny how it only appears so after you read it.