10 Menswear Mistakes To Avoid

a man in a gray trouser suit three-piece

Formal and semi-formal mistakes can be less obvious than the universally hated sock-with-sandals – especially if you’re a novice.

To look better, feel better, and appear like you know what you are doing, avoid these 10 most common menswear mistakes.

Dress Shirt Too Baggy

There is no greater rookie mistake than this one. If you wear a dress shirt that is too large, it will make you look fatter, frumpier, and stumpier than you actually are. In a nutshell, it doesn’t look good at all.

Check to see that your collar has no more than two fingers of room, that your shoulder seams hit your shoulder, and that you don’t have excess fabric hanging around your torso.

With so many affordable options for dress shirts available now, there is no excuse for wearing an ill-fitting shirt anymore. With so many options available, it is no longer necessary to spend many dollars on an ill-fitting shirt.

Limp, Curling Collar

Dress shirts have slots in the underside of the collar into which collar stays are inserted if you’re new to them.

Keep your collar flat against your collarbone with a simple pair of inexpensive metal collar stays.

We also recommend that you dry clean your dress shirts instead of washing them in a washing machine. This will greatly extend the life of your shirts, and will also keep them looking fresh and crisp for a longer period of time.

Trousers Too Long

A pair of baggy trousers that have too much break do two things very well: They make you look shorter as well as they make you appear sloppy.

Despite the fact that a full break might be acceptable to some, even that look is a bit outdated.

A good option would be to choose trousers with a length that barely skims the tops of your shoes if you want to look stylish. 

If you want to show off your collection of socks, you could have them cropped or cuffed by your tailor – especially if you want to wear them with a dress shirt.

Square Toe Dress Shoes

Our guess is that these square-toed monstrosities still find their way onto department store shelves.

If you prefer, you might consider rounded toes over square toes, or even moderately pointed toes. 

Both of these styles have a classic, timeless appeal. When choosing dress shoes, we recommend brown or black leather uppers and leather soles whenever possible.

Wearing White Socks

Time and time again, we find old gym socks in our sock drawers.

Why do we hate them so much? Suits shouldn’t be worn with exercise apparel, as they look cheap and get dingy quickly

Wear white athletic socks if you’re not breaking a sweat.

Wear classic black or brown dress socks to complete your outfit – or opt for some fun, colorful pairs that will add a bit of personality.

Jacket Sleeves Too Long

It is very rare to find a suit jacket that fits perfectly right off the rack. Getting an ill-fitting jacket tailored is even harder to find.

As a rule, the sleeves of a jacket should hit just above the wrist bone and allow 1/2 inch of the shirt cuff to show through. 

A tailor worth his salt should be able to handle an alteration like this with his eyes closed – and it’s a lot more affordable than you think it would be.

Too Many Shirt Buttons Undone

Despite the fact that we agree that wearing a dress shirt without a tie can seem a bit odd, do take care when letting loose when wearing it.

Never unbutton more than two buttons at a time. At best, it appears unprofessional, and at worst, it might come across as downright sleazy.

Buttoning Too Many Jacket Buttons

If you are wearing a two-button suit or a three-button suit, never button the bottom button. As long as you leave the bottom button undone, you will be able to enjoy enhanced comfort and natural movement as a result.

You may be wondering why there is a bottom button in the first place if you’re not meant to button it — but some mysteries are better left unanswered.

Untucked Dress Shirt

Our sincere apologies for sounding like your mother, but please be sure to tuck in your dress shirt.

It is important to note that dress shirts are designed with extra length so that they DO NOT come untucked when they are worn.

Choosing a shirt style with a shorter, casual cut is a good choice if you don’t like the formality associated with a tucked-in buttondown shirt.

It’s always a good idea to tuck your shirt into suit pants.

Visible Undershirt

Your undershirt should never be visible, just like your underwear.

Undershirts with v-necks can be hidden from view if you like leaving a few buttons undone.

The undershirt used to be mandatory, but nowadays, going without one is more acceptable – better no undershirt than one on display.