Fashion 101: menswear rules you need to know

Menswear isn't about quantity. Let’s face the facts, yes, menswear has evolved and trends come with each season; however, a base wardrobe is a necessity

Menswear isn't about quantity. Let’s face the facts, yes, menswear has evolved and trends come with each season; however, a base wardrobe is a necessity. Every man needs to invest in timeless staples for their wardrobe, with quality being the highest contributing factor. The essentials should include: a tailored jacket, a tie (black and dark blue), two white shirts, a pair of dress shoes and a grey suit.

Let’s break those elements down...


A tailored jacket

Giorgio Armani says, “Jackets are the backbone of menswear, so when you buy one, make sure it fits properly. Just because it is a piece of tailoring doesn’t mean it is a magic wand. A badly fitting jacket—however expensive—will look awkward.”

If you are headed to a casual event, you could wear a blazer (still tailored). A “blazer” is a term more commonly used in the US for jacket which doesn't match the pants, or a jacket with a patch pocket on the front breast. If your blazer or jacket isn't tailored, it will not complement your physique. Also, if you button your jacket you will find it to be more slimming.

A tie

When you get an invitation that says 'dress code formal', if you’re in the corporate world or you’re just having a Chuck Bass moment - break out your tie.

A black tie is for the extra formal occasions and is more commonly worn with a black suit. If it’s worn with any other coloured suit, it'll bring the suit down a few notches on the smart-scale. The blue tie suits virtually anyone and is a good base colour to have in your closet. By all means, branch out and go crazy with an array of wonderful colours, but when you’re having a skeptical-clothing day, the blue tie will be there, waiting patiently to be put to good, sensible use.

White shirts

Why two? Because when the washing hasn't been done, a backup white shirt is a lifeline. (You'll thank me later.) When choosing your shirt, don't cheap out. Look at the shirt fabric and the collar. Do you want to be the guy with the sweat patches under your arms because you bought the fabric which doesn't breathe? Also, make sure you select the right collar size. You should be able to comfortabley fit your index finger and middle finger between the collar and neck.

Oh, and boys, keep that shirt tucked in!

Dress shoes

Yes it's true about what they say; women do judge a man by his shoes. Not for, er, size...but rather maintenance and style. It says a lot about a person. If a guy comes to an event all suited up, but has sneakers on – he has no chance. Try some shoes on, ask the salesperson at the shoe shop to help you and pick something that you will feel confident in. 

Grey suit

We've already addressed where to wear the black-tie-with-black-suit combo, but how about the other events which you have to go to that aren't as formal....

These are your grey suit occasions. Be it a nice dinner, a wedding (not your own), a work function or an interview – pull out your trusty, ol' grey suit. If you want to zazz up the trend, add a pinstripe to it.

Words: Stefania Duncan