With Spring weather in full effect and Memorial Day weekend just around the corner, it’s time to switch up your wardrobe to embrace the season. It’s time to ditch the dark colors, thick fabrics and heavy jackets. However, without the protection of layers, a lot of guys lose their way with style. Whether it’s a pair of ill-fitting shorts, a crazy mix of patterns or outdated choices, shedding that extra layer doesn’t always work in your favor. You might be a style rule breaker and completely unaware of it. If you need some guidance, start by avoiding these 5 mistakes.
Whether or not you’ve been skipping leg day is beside the point. Bad shorts can make you look ridiculous even if you’re a physique competitor. If you’re not sure about the taste level of your shorts, ask yourself these questions. Do your shorts fall to your ankles? Do your shorts have cargo pockets big enough to hold a piggy bank’s worth of change? Are the legs wide enough to fit another person inside? If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s time for an overhaul.
The Fix: The modern man’s shorts are, well, short. Your hem should fall in the 5-7-inch range. This means they’ll hit just above your knees. Your shorts should also be cut slim like a pair of chinos. They shouldn’t grip your thighs like suction cups, but they shouldn’t be so loose that a strong wind turns them into a parachute.
Regardless of your level of fashion knowledge, you’re probably aware that Spring is an appropriate time for patterns. Seersucker suits, madras shorts, plaid shirts, gingham, polka dots—you name it, you can wear it now. Just don’t wear them all together. If you show up for an event in a plaid shirt and madras shorts, you’ll look like a bad rug from the guest room of your grandma’s house.
The Fix: The key to pulling off bold patterns is balance. If you opt for the plaid shirt, pair it with shorts that are solid. The vice versa combination works as well. Too many patterns in one look can clash and make you look like a billboard for bad style. By incorporating a little subtlety, you can let one pattern shine while keeping your look cohesive.
While Spring is the perfect season to welcome color variety into your wardrobe, it’s not a free for all. If you have yet to make it to the tanning bed, steer clear of neon yellow. Experimenting is one thing. But the wrong skin tone and color pairing can wash you out completely.
The Fix: Use complementary colors. It’s weird to think about it this way, but your skin tone plays a role in the effectiveness of your look. If you have light skin, choose darker colors. For Spring, this means salmon instead of light pink. For guys with darker skin, brighter colors like yellow can work well for you.
We get it. You’ve been working out all winter, and you’re ready to show it off. However, don’t assume that everyone wants to see the goods. You’ve surely seen the guy (or you’ve possibly been this guy) who wears a skintight shirt as snug as Saran wrap. Unless you’re hitting the weight room in a compression top, there’s no reason to wear a shirt this tight.
The Fix: Pay attention to the fit. A slim fit polo can accentuate all the fine points of your physique without being obvious. The sleeve fits around your bicep, flattering it without squeezing it. The torso is cut just right to show off your chest and back by simply hanging there. Fabric and cut can achieve the same effect.
Casual Suiting in the Wrong Place
Spring is great because the weather is finally warm enough to stop wearing those lightweight wool suits. Fun fabrics like cotton, seersucker and linen are breathable and filled with personality. However, showing up for that major business meeting in a seersucker suit might get you banned from the boardroom.
The Fix: Take a read of the office culture. If you work in a stuffy environment, you might need to stick to your lightweight wool suits during the week and save the casual suiting for Fridays or special occasions like outdoor weddings and happy hours.
Spring can be a glorious time for your style but only if you do it correctly. Avoid these pitfalls and you’ll be the best dressed guy in any room.