Fashion. It can separate the cool from the uncool, the “in” from the “out.” People have made careers out of being fashionable, and models are paid huge sums of money simply to wear the fashion designs of others. Fashion is not a phenomenon relegated to one specific location. It makes up 2.4 trillion dollar industry on a global scale.
Whether we are conscious of it or not, each and every one of us has an ingrained sense of what we deem fashionable. If you find this hard to believe, just remember that at one point — except perhaps in primary or secondary formation of new looks can be an extremely rewarding experience. If we never take the time to challenge ourselves, then what is comfortable can become stifling.
Try something new — if it doesn’t work, no one is going to call a lawyer on you. If you want to see plenty of examples of people breaking away from the typical restraints and conventions of fashion, one needs just to visit street festivals or music festivals, where people don all manner of fun, creative designs. While people may jokingly mention the “fashion police,” there are no actual hard and fast fashion laws. Fashion is simply self-expression, and as long as it doesn’t harm anyone, genuine self-expression cannot be wrong.
That said, there are some general guidelines and pointers which can help those who are looking for direction, which is why “mens fashion tips” is such a common topic for blogs, magazines, and various other media. Whether you’re looking for specific mens fashion tips or you simply want to expand your general knowledge of the industry, it certainly cannot hurt to read everything you can get your hands on. Read on to get the scoop on fashion misconceptions that many folks fall for, as well as mens fashion tips specifically tailored (no pun intended) for students.
Common Fashion Misconceptions
Misconception #1: You have to be born with good style
One ubiquitous misconception which can be seen throughout the comments on mens fashion tips has to do with natural ability. A classic refrain from those looking for mens fashion tips is simply, “I don’t have an eye for style.” While it is understandable to feel this way, as fashion can be rather complex and overwhelming at times, this type of mentality can be unproductive and limiting.
Yes, it’s true that some people simply have an eye for design. However, aesthetics are a skill which can be improved upon like any other. Some folks have a natural inclination for painting or drawing, and will be able to craft a gorgeous landscape or portrait. Still, anyone can still take an art class, learn the fundamentals, and start to create some impressive pieces.
Fashion is just the same way. Anyone can learn the foundational elements of style, and build up from there. Which brings us to our second common fashion misconception, regarding the trends vs. the classics.
Misconception #2: To look good, always follow the trends
Fast fashion is an unfortunate development in the industry. With the widespread availability of cheap labor overseas, many companies have chosen to manufacture their products by exploiting these workforces. Demand for these cheap, rapidly-produced goods is part and parcel of what is known as the American “consumer culture” which has accompanied our journey into the modern era.
This system thrives on products which are inexpensive, disposable and short-lived. It operates by convincing consumers to value novelty over all else — if it’s new, it is to be desired. This system has been particularly lucrative for the fashion industry. After all, what better way is there to convince people they need new clothes than to tell them their current ones are “out of season?”
Admittedly, it can feel quite good to participate in a trend, looking just like the celebrities and other fashion-conscious folks in the public eye. However, this is not a sustainable system at the individual or the environmental level. For individuals, it is not budget-friendly to constantly purchasing new clothes and throwing away the old. And for the planet, it is certainly not helpful to be constantly using new resources for no reason other than fueling the profits of fast fashion manufacturers.
Fortunately, there is a way to break away from this unsustainable, exploitative system — and to look good while doing it. The secret is to return to the classics: timeless looks that will never go out of style. How do we know they won’t go out of style? The proof is in their longevity. If a look has been around for decades and decades, rocked by multiple different generations, then odds are good that it will stay that way. When it comes to the “test of time,” these looks have passed:
- Shearling Jacket and a Neutral Sweater: You will notice that many of these looks seem to center around a jacket. This is good news for those who are trying to simplify their wardrobe. Investing in the right jacket can make stylish outfits come together seamlessly. For this look, simply wear a sweater in a neutral shade of grey, anything from slate to charcoal, underneath your shearling jacket. Dress it up with dark wash jeans, or keep things more casual with a lighter or even a distressed pair. The jacket will pull the whole thing together, all the while keeping you nice and warm in the colder seasons.
- Turtleneck / Roll Neck With a Blazer: While you don’t see too many roll neck shirts on the street these days, at least in America, this doesn’t mean you should rule the piece out. The turtleneck, which has a strong presence in many European countries (your mind has probably automatically conjured images of a Frenchman wearing one, strolling past the Eiffel Tower smoking a cigarette), is still an essential element of classic style. If you’ve been hesitant to wear a roll neck because you don’t know what to combine it with, wait no longer. All you need is a blazer, ideally one that is double-breasted, to dress up this piece into a classic formal outfit.
- White Tee, Jeans, and a Leather Jacket: This may be the most iconic of the classic looks out there. Popularized by such legends as James Dean and Marlon Brando, this ensemble is essentially synonymous with “cool.” The beauty of this outfit lies in its simplicity. With three classic elements that most men already have in their wardrobe, this is a look that is easy to achieve. Just like the shearling jacket outfit, this ensemble can be dressed up or down with different washes of jeans. A darker pair with a tighter fit will elevate the look, while a lighter, looser, more distressed pair will give you a more rough, anti-establishment flair.
School Style Tips for Students
By high school, it’s safe to say that most students are either purchasing their own clothes with money they have earned, or at least telling the parent or family member who’s buying the clothes exactly what they want. By these mid- to late-adolescent years, most teens have a pretty clear idea of what kind of styles they like; they probably have favorite cuts of jeans, favorite shades for each season, and specific shoes for every occasion.
It is well-documented that high school and college are essential periods when it comes to identity formation. It doesn’t take a whole course in child development taught by an acclaimed professor of psychology to figure this out. Just a cursory internet search or a visit to a campus makes it clear that this is a time of experimentation and change for most people. While it is certainly best practice to allow this development of fashion sense to run its course naturally, this is also an excellent time for youth to learn some mens fashion tips that will help to gently guide them toward a style they love.
Tip #1: Comfort Isn’t Everything
College can be an incredibly stressful environment to exist in, and as we well know, the journey is long: two years for an Associate’s Degree, four years for a Bachelor’s Degree, or even longer if you decide to pursue a graduate degree. In this lengthy period of stress and strain, don’t we at least deserve to be comfortable?
There is certainly something to be said for wearing clothes that feel good on your body. If you’re not comfortable, forget about your ability to focus, so think twice before wearing that itchy wool Christmas sweater your aunt gave you to an important lecture — even if it does have an adorable reindeer stitched to the front. That said, there are diminishing returns when it comes to prioritizing feel over form.
Many older folks have decried the trend which has developed over recent years of wearing pajamas or sweats to class. They opine that a learning institution is not a bedroom or a gym, and thus should not be treated as such. While this may sound like a classic case of curmudgeonly juvenoia, there may actually be something to the complaint. In essence, it comes down to two main factors: mental state and impression.
Tip #2: Dress Smart To Feel Smart
We tend to underestimate the degree to which what we wear influences how we feel. Most of us tend to dress as informally as we can get away with; after all, why sacrifice comfort when doing so may not be necessary? Some research, as well as countless individual testimonials, indicate that what we wear actually plays quite a significant role in our emotional state and our behavior.
When you dress for success, you will be in a better frame of mind to succeed. For this reason, it is often recommended that you go into important classes — when you have an exam, for example — dressed up a bit. The formal look will tell your brain, “This is serious and important!” If you’re skeptical, simply give it a try the next time you have a key class coming up. You have nothing to lose, and it just might make a difference to your performance.
The other bonus to dressing well for classes is more self-evident: when you look good, you will make a good impression. Whether you’re in high school or college, it can’t hurt to improve your teacher or professor’s opinion of you. When you dress well for class, it demonstrates that you are invested in the class and care about the sort of impression you give each day. This is surely something that educators will appreciate.
This benefit is not limited just to teachers and professors. Particularly when in college, you never know who you’re going to meet. Important leaders in your field could be visiting the campus to give a lecture. Or there could be a career fair going on that you are not privy to which is full of potential employers. If you make a habit of dressing well each day while your school or university is in session, you will be ready whenever you encounter the unexpected opportunity.
Hopefully you found some of these mens fashion tips helpful. While there are few “one size fits all” (again, no pun intended) mens fashion tips, you can’t really go wrong with the advice contained here. Dress well, don’t neglect the classics, and have fun!