There are an infinite number of rules you could place on yourself when it comes to fashion.
However, Richard Nixon put it best when he said, “Rules are made to be broken.” Regardless of your thoughts on his presidency, if you apply his thoughts to fashion, he was right.
All that aside, here are some basic guidelines that I hold myself to, and I think many young people would benefit from considering as well:
- If you’re wearing suspenders, why do you need a belt?
Suspenders have made their way back into the fashion conversation over the past several years. Many people under 60 who wear them like the contrarian aspect associated with them, “Oh, I also used to wear belts, until I switched to these huge loops I throw over my shoulders–changed my life. So much more room around my hips now.”
I can live with people who commit to this nod of the wide bellied, cigar munching, balding gentlemen hugged by their striped suspenders. (Am I the only one who gets 1950s newspaper editor vibes?)
What I can’t stand are the people who wear suspenders AND a belt. Umm, excuse me, do you know why you’re wearing suspenders?
Wearing both does two things. First, you send a flair saying, “I really don’t know what I’m doing”, at best. The second being that you are turning your chest into a box with straps on three sides.
I’d never say these words beyond the pages of the UB Post. I really don’t want my ass kicked by a man who looks like he picked his wardrobe out at Oshkosh B’Gosh.
- Don’t swim in your clothes
For starters, don’t go swimming fully dressed. Seems that should be clear, but you never know these days.
However, I’m actually referring to a bad habit many insecure people pick up. The culprit, typically, from my experience, has been young men with really bad fashion ideas. . Among the worst of these ideas is that wearing shirts with more Xs on the tag than a bottle of moonshine would prevent people from knowing that they’re overweight.
In fact, however, it does the exact opposite. Wearing ill-fitted clothing will often add weight to your appearance, not conceal what you already have. If this is you, next time you’re shopping for clothes, try to create an ensemble that compliments your proportions. Consider going down one X on the tag.
Take it from someone who has been there–you are not fooling anyone.
- Don’t worry about the price tag of a piece of clothing
I am not telling you to go out and spend your entire paycheck on one piece of clothing–you aren’t the loafer clad Niles, afterall.
What I am saying is just the opposite; thrift stores, consignment shops, and other Goodwill-esque stores often have decent clothing at affordable prices.
Growing up, Disney Channel led us all to believe that if someone at school found out your clothes weren’t designer, you were effectively canceled. I’m not sure this was ever really the case, but I’ll be damned if Lizzie McGuire ever lied to me. By the time you’re in college, nobody really cares what name or logo is on your outfit. In fact, more often than not, broke college students will be impressed that you didn’t break your bank while building your closet.
- Be weary of denim suits
Listen, everyone should own a jean jacket. Not only are they extremely popular, they are light and easily accessorizable.
Everyone should own a pair of jeans or two, preferably a few in various cuts and and washes. Jeans are extremely versatile, and can compliment just about anything. Anything that is, except more denim.
Think back to the wise words of Dr. Ian Malcome from Jurassic Park,“Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.”
Just because there is no law stopping you from wearing a jean jacket with jeans–should you really be doing that? Instead opt for chinos. Or joggers. Or literally almost anything else. Jean on jean will have you looking like you fell out of an Old Navy catalog, and then someone picked up that catalog, and proceeded to beat you senseless with it. The result is a black and blue mess of denim–denim and regret.
- Leave the cowboy hats in Texas–Or Wherever You Got Them
Many young men feel the urge to try on a cowboy hat. Leave it at trying on, maybe even a Halloween costume if that’s your custom. Fight that urge to wear one seriously. Fight it with every fiber of your being. If you aren’t a ranch hand, a cowboy, or a Texas Ranger, you shouldn’t be wearing a cowboy hat.
If I’m being honest, I would say that even they shouldn’t wear them. But, you couldn’t pay me enough to say that to men who wrestle bulls for a living?
- Never let your wardrobe make anyone ask, “Did you just put something in my drink?”
If you’re wearing a polo shirt, don’t pop your damn collar, Chad.
You know what? I said rules are made to be broken, but you really should just follow this one.
Ben Kahn is a staff writer for the UB Post. He writes a weekly column, KahnJunction on fashion trends.