The Gentleman’s Guide to Crafting a Classy Wardrobe
How you present yourself as a man can make quite the difference in your life. How you dress, groom, and comport yourself has an impact on how people perceive you. If you want to come across as a gentleman, take the time to put together a wardrobe that speaks to the image you wish to portray. If fashion isn’t your passion, it can be hard to know where to start. Here are some guidelines to navigate your way to your ideal, classy image.
A gentleman should weigh the style, color, fit, and fabric when selecting which shirts to include in his wardrobe. There are many styles of shirts for men, such as button-up shirts, polos, and t-shirts. Linen and cotton are the most common fabric options, with various weave styles that determine the look and level of formality of the fabric. It’s a good idea to have a few of each to accommodate occasions requiring different dress levels.
When selecting the color of your shirts, consider both the color and tone of your skin. As a general rule, avoid colors that match too closely to your skin color. Select colors that fall in the same category as your skin tone, whether warm or cool, but avoid “disappearing” into your shirt. Contrast the colors of your shirt to the rest of your clothes to prevent a washed-out color palette.
The most important aspect of a shirt is its fit. A poorly-fitted shirt doesn’t look classy, regardless of its other redeeming elements. Your body type will determine the fit that works best for you. Consider having your shirts tailored to fit your specific build. As alterations in the chest and waist are relatively easy to do, pick shirts based on how they fit across your shoulders rather than how they fit across your chest or waist.
The way you wear your pants can make or break a classy outfit. Like your shirt, the fit is crucial. Base your selection of pants on your body type and measurements. If you struggle to find appropriately fitting pants in the department store, hem or tailor them as needed. When choosing dress pants, significant considerations include whether they have a pleated or flat front and whether there are cuffs or not.
While a good pair of dress pants will always be a classy choice, gentlemen can easily pull off a quality pair of khakis, chinos, or jeans. Khakis and chinos are remarkably similar, and both can be an excellent alternative to jeans. Khakis and chinos are a little classier but not as formal as slacks or dress pants. Chinos tend to be lighter, more streamlined, and a touch more elevated than khakis. Dark wash jeans will have a more formal, classy look than light wash “mom” jeans. Avoid prestressed jeans.
By this point, it is probably no surprise that the fit of your suit is the most critical factor in a gentlemanly wardrobe. There are a variety of fits, from the classic fit to the slim fit. Whichever one works best for you will depend, again, on your measurements. Have your suit tailored to fit your specific measurements.
Classic suits are dark, have two buttons, are single-breasted, and are moderate in their level of detailing. These suits tend to be versatile in that they work well in various settings, as opposed to more period-style suits that can stand out (not always in a good way). Always hang your suits up rather than folding them. Store suits in a garment bag to preserve them in their optimal condition.
Gentlemanly dress is not merely about outward appearance, but also an inward sense of confidence and poise. To that end, your undergarments are an essential aspect of your gentlemanly wardrobe. Your underclothing should be clean and free of holes or stains. Choose underwear that is simple and fits your body type. It should not be visible to others. Socks should match the same degree of formality as the rest of your outfit. For a streamlined, unobtrusive look, select socks that are the same color as your pants. If you want to bring a bit of personality to your outfit, consider coordinating your socks, tie, and footwear.
Proper footwear is the foundation of your appearance. A pair of sneakers can ruin an otherwise classy outfit. When it comes to selecting footwear for a gentlemanly wardrobe, there are a plethora of options available. To get the best value from your shoes, select shoes that are sturdy and well-crafted. You don’t have to choose between practicality and attractiveness if you opt for simple designs, colors, patterns, and soles. Oxfords, Derbies, brogues, and loafers are all excellent options for footwear to accompany gentlemanly wear.
Accessories aren’t just for women. Gentlemen can add to their wardrobe by carefully selecting accessories for their attire. A properly fitted watch is a must. A good pair of sunglasses are great as well. Pocket squares and ties can be a great way to add a pop of color to a suit. When it comes to adding accouterments to your attire, avoid overdoing it. You want to have a classy, simplistic look, so keep it clean and minimal.
Grooming and Hygiene
Looking like a gentleman goes beyond just the clothes you wear. Your grooming and hygiene matter, too. Gentlemen should take measures to ensure that they smell pleasant. Regular showers, the use of deodorant, oral hygiene, and tasteful use of cologne can go a long way.
Beyond that, take care of your skin by using moisturizers and sunscreen. Run a brush or comb through your hair to ensure that it is neat and tangle-free. You may find some styling products such as pomade, putties, gels, and sprays helpful if you need to take extra control over your hair. Take care of your nails by keeping them clean, neatly shaped, and trimmed. Think of it as a finishing touch to your look.
Putting Yourself Together
Unfortunately, many men tend to walk out the door without looking in the mirror—a rookie mistake. Part of ensuring gentlemanly comportment includes double-checking that your clothing is in good condition and wrinkle-free. The best way to do this is to inspect yourself in a wardrobe mirror before heading out. Ensure that you’ve achieved your desired style and aesthetic. Watch for nonmatching pieces, wrinkles, and lint. If you don’t have a wardrobe mirror, it shouldn’t be hard to find one for cheap at your local mall or department store. Ultimately, a mirror is a worthy investment for a gentleman.
Beyond curating your wardrobe, it’s essential to comport yourself as a gentleman. Carry yourself with proper posture—stand up straight with your shoulders back. Proper posture is vital to your health and helps you carry yourself with confidence. Choose your words with care, and avoid swearing and inappropriately casual speech. Always be classy and professional in your speech and tone. Master your behavior and always be courteous and respectful to all, regardless of occupation or position in life. Comporting yourself with compassion, confidence, and professionalism is a statement of your character.
For a man aspiring to achieve gentlemanly status, a lot goes into looking like one. Your wardrobe, grooming, and personal hygiene all work together to make you look the part of a gentleman. Take some time to collect quality clothing items and learn how to care for them properly to make them last. Be conscientious about how you treat others. Never has the world been in greater need of gentlemen than now.