The Clothes Make the Man: Trends that can elevate your business style
Most people are intimidated by fashion. Looks constantly fall in and out of favor, and understanding the best fit for your body can seem maddening.
Still, your style is the first thing people will notice when they meet you. Do you look professional and put together? Do you look like you care about your appearance? First impressions are everything—there’s even a psychological phenomenon called the “halo effect,” a cognitive bias partly caused by perceptions of attractiveness. That is, the more visually appealing a person is, the more likely other people are to think they’ve got plenty of other good qualities.
If you’re a man in need help on your style, there’s no reason to go it alone. Bespoke suiting company True Gentleman, LLC, based in Salt Lake City, has stylists willing to go to a client’s home or office in order to best recommend styling tips for them. And, if that’s too big a step, try some of the following tips:
Invest in a bespoke suit. While bespoke suiting can cost in the ballpark of $1,500, it will last far longer, fit much better, and look better on you than a suit you buy off the rack. “You can give it your character, rather than relying on Hugo Boss or Nordstrom suits,” says Trapper Roderick, president of True Gentleman, LLC. “Even if it’s the same color as the guy next to you, the fit, the liner, the button thread colors are all different.”
Custom suits are tailored to fit you perfectly, avoiding any split seams or bagging areas, and are constructed from full canvas, which is much more malleable and longer-lasting than the half-canvas (or even glued fusible interlining) off-the-rack suits are made from.
When it comes to patterns, go for solids for a conservative look—but other patterns, such as a windowpane, houndstooth or a subtle plaid, are making a strong comeback. For jackets, a wide peak lapel is currently en vogue.
Add a pocket square to your suit when you want to stand out. If you have a bespoke suit, get a pocket square made from your liner, says Roderick. Do not wear a pocket square with the exact pattern of your tie, but rather pull from its colors. Match the fabric to your buttonhole thread colors for extra chic.
“Have a nice set of colored laces. It goes a long way. It makes your shoe stand out but it’s not so bold that you look like a child,” says Roderick. “A lot of my older gentleman clients, it makes it more fun for them to dress up. Where dressing up used to be a hassle for a lot of people because it didn’t show off their character, now, with bespoke, and with the larger and funkier patterns that are back in style, and so many small things make it more fun for men.”
Try not to be a mish-mash of colors and styles. Keep yourself looking sharp by making sure elements of your outfit go together. Roderick recommends the belt matches the shoes, while the tie, pocket square, shoe laces—and, if possible, button thread color—all match.
Shoes are another investment piece, says Roderick. Get a higher-end, classic shoe—brown being the current (and longstanding) favorite color. While younger men are gravitating toward boots, a classic monk strap always looks good.
“People are spending money on shoes and going through them so fast. But if you make a bigger investment in the beginning, you get a better shoe,” says Roderick. “And when they wear out eventually, you just get them resoled, and it still has your imprint on the inside. That way you build your wardrobe rather than replace it. A man’s shoe can be more timeless.”