I am by no means a sartorial expert and I can’t imagine anyone would ever confuse me for one. I spent the better part of my first three decades dressing like a complete fool. I wore lots of dark plaid flannel, tank tops, baseball caps, and whatever shoes I happened to have handy. I wore ill-fitting suits and ill-fitting t-shirts and white socks with everything.
Luckily I had the good fortune to marry someone who could see beyond my fashion foibles and – to put it bluntly – I learned how to dress.
Both my sons, I assume, will be rebellious and wear clothes that make no sense to me at all. But one day, like me, they’ll likely want to be appropriately attired for life and I hope they’ll take these five tips to heart:
- You absolutely will never ever go wrong with blue jeans and a white t-shirt. This has been true forever and in 600 years when we are regularly visiting the moon and Mars there will be guys wearing Levi’s and white t-shirts and they will look cool.
- Khaki shorts and a white button-down Oxford also will always be a perfect ensemble.
- Don’t buy a suit jacket without getting it tailored. Even if you get it “off the rack” or at Goodwill, you can usually get a sportscoat fitted for less than $20 at most dry cleaners. Your arms will be too long or too short for the sleeves or your chest or your back will be too broad or too narrow and getting it fitted by a professional will make all the difference.
- Unless you’re wearing a dress shirt tucked into slacks, you do not ever need a belt. And there’s never a reason to wear a belt with jeans because you should never tuck a shirt into denim. Don’t wear a belt if you’re wearing sneakers but don’t wear sneakers if you’re wearing slacks. Your shoes and belt need to be the same color, and there are only two colors that matter for dress shoes and belts: black and brown.
- Ties are an abomination in almost every circumstance. They’re uncomfortable and stuffy and you’ll loathe wearing one, but you need to know how to wear one. You will be forced to don a tie for funerals and job interviews and weddings and you’ll hate it, but there’s no point in looking like a fool with the knot crooked or loose. I’ll teach you, of course, but there are also a million YouTube videos you can watch.