Skip to content

Ask Harry: Common Menswear Mistakes

Prevent your next fashion faux pas with our guide to spotting and stopping these classic menswear mistakes.

By: Harry Rosen StaffDate: 2024-06-13

While fashion is largely subjective and general guidelines exist to be broken, some rules really shouldn't be ignored. Addressing those menswear “cardinal sins” is our handy guide below – everything else, we’ll leave it up to your best judgement.

Remove External Fabric Labels

This all-too-common menswear mishap is one of the easiest to spot. All outward-facing fabric labels (usually spotted towards the cuff of your sleeve) must be removed before wearing your new garment.

While these labels are a mark of quality, touting them out in public can come across as ostentatious or attention-seeking. Carefully remove these labels with a pair of fabric scissors or thread cutters, or simply ask an associate to do so for you before leaving the store.

Open Your Pockets and Vents

Keep those fabric scissors handy for this one! The pockets and vents of tailored garments are often held shut by threading for shipping, storage, and merchandizing purposes, however, this threading is always meant to be removed so they can function normally. What use are pockets or vents if they don’t even open?

Don’t Fasten Your Bottom Button

This is an age-old rule that largely stands for tradition, though also exists to avoid altering the intended silhouette of your tailored jacket. No matter your jacket’s button configuration – two buttons or three, single-breasted or double-breasted – you should never fasten the bottom button.

Every jacket is cut to create a masculine V-shape (to the best of its ability) and the way the jacket’s skirt tapers up towards its natural buttoning point is integral to creating that. By fastening your jacket’s bottom button (below the intended buttoning point), you mitigate the jacket’s skirt silhouette and, as a result, the athletic V-shape.

Match Your Shoes & Belt

When wearing both shoes and a belt, it’s always best practice to try to match their colours (and, if possible, their materials). Leather with leather, suede with suede – you get the idea. The most egregious error is mixing black and brown colours together, which results in a jarring, unharmonious appearance.

While your colours and materials don’t need to be an exact match to avoid breaking this rule, the closer you can get to matching them, the more pleasing your outfit will be on the eye.

Don’t “Orphan” Your Suits

Let’s settle this terminology once and for all: wearing a jacket and trousers together only qualifies as a “suit” when they’re both made from exactly the same cloth. When your jacket and trousers are similar but not exactly the same, this is referred to as an “orphaned” suit.

Even if your jacket and trousers are the same colour and are made of a visually similar material, it’s obvious to other people that they aren’t exactly the same fabric, and it looks like you’re trying to pull two different suits together (thus, the “orphaned” terminology).

Instead of trying to pass off your own version, we suggest embracing your “suit separates” and pairing them individually with garments made from distinctly different materials for a style that’s uniquely yours.

TAGS:#Style Advice,#Ask Harry,