After much consideration and hesitation, we’ve decided to take the plunge and write an article about how all men should dress. Not that we think we know it all or anything (or maybe we do), but because there is such a need for something like this. So many gents out there are dressing in horrific ways and don’t even know it.

It’s not your fault, really it isn’t. You were lied to by the media, your friends, and pretty much every other guy you see walking down the street these days. They’re doing it wrong—you’re just doing what you were taught was right, and there’s a world of difference between those two things.

Below is a list of 15 rules that’ll help show you how to dress like a gentleman and stand out from the sometimes-terrible crowd. Follow these rules and we guarantee that you will look better than at least 90% of other men out there.

Just don’t break them! If you want more info on any of the items below, just click on it and it’ll take you to our full guide or retailer, where we’ve given all the details about each item in question. And remember: while looking good is important—and certainly something we’re not against—we ultimately believe that style should be fun, too; so remember not to get too crazy with your outfits and wear what makes YOU feel confident (i.e., no matter how cool this rad jacket maybe, if it gives you a case of the sads, leave it on the rack).

So here they are: The 15 Rules Every Man Should Know When Dressing Himself.

  1. Thou shalt not wear sweatpants anywhere other than at home. Yep, we said it. They’re nothing more than pajama pants and should be avoided at all costs—especially when going out in public. Sorry, but true. If you must look like a bum or a child, then go ahead and dress that way—just don’t think you’ll be fooling anyone into thinking that’s “cool.” It isn’t. Save yourself from looking like an idiot (and thus creating one), and get something else instead…like these, for instance.
  2. Thou shalt not wear sandals/flip-flops in public. Again, we’re sorry to be the bringers of bad news, but this one is a rule that you simply cannot break if you want to look anything close to decent. These are meant for men with pedicured feet who lounge around their house and lounge around the beach—and no one else. Keep them off your feet at all costs! This means you, too, Canucks!
  3. Thou shalt never button the last button on a sports jacket or blazer. It seems as though there’s a war going on these days between those who choose to leave it unbuttoned and those who don’t. The truth is that neither side is right or wrong—you just do what you want. But as a rule of thumb, leave the last button unbuttoned; it looks much more flattering and stylish that way. Just don’t be one of those guys who leaves every button open – save that look for West Hollywood.
  4. Thou shalt not wear sunglasses indoors. Wow, we never thought we’d see the day where there was actually a need to write something like this out—but apparently, some guys need help with it (something about tinted lenses messing with their optic nerve or something). Seriously though: keep them off your face unless you’re outside walking to your car or locking your front door…or doing anything else where they’ll come in handy (keeping UV rays from damaging your retinas, etc).
  5. Thou shalt not wear white socks with dress shoes. And if you’re now wondering why we just commanded this, it’s because those who do think they’re a part of some secret society, and thus can’t ever be questioned about their behavior. But here’s the real truth: you look like a moron when you wear them—plain and simple. You should never wear them under any circumstances unless you want to look like an idiot, so take ’em off at once!
  6. Thou shalt not pair dress slacks/trousers with sneakers. While breaking this rule isn’t as bad as wearing sweatpants in public or anything, it’s still pretty bad if someone sees you doing it (i.e., they’ll think you’re a total idiot). You never want to wear sneakers with dress pants (or anything that’s even close to being formal)—so if you do, make sure you go sockless and beltless.
  7. Thou shalt not look like an idiot. Look: this is the most important rule of them all since it encompasses everything we’ve already mentioned above—and will continue to mention throughout the rest of this article. The bottom line is that looking dumb has nothing to do with what society thinks: it only has to do with what YOU think. If you learn anything from following our guide and breaking these rules, just remember that no matter how stupid your outfit may seem to other people, as long as you think it looks good, then it does.
  8. Thou shalt not wear anything thy mother wouldn’t approve of . No. Matter. What. This might be a bit of a tough rule to remember (since every guy’s mom has different tastes), but you should definitely know what we’re talking about here: no flip-flops or sweatpants—which is usually fine—but also no baggy pants and wife beaters (which is how some people interpret this rule).
  9. Thou shalt never match black socks with dress shoes. Black socks are reserved for athletic activities only; hence the reason why they come in packets of six or more at any sporting goods store across America—and nowhere else! I think your new wingtips or leather dress shoes look better with black socks, then you need to get a second opinion—fast!
  10. Thou shalt never match brown shoes with a blue suit. There’s nothing wrong with the color brown at all; in fact, it looks extremely classy when paired with virtually anything. However, if you want to try something different one day, why not just opt for black instead? It goes great with every color of suit you can think of—so no excuses are needed here!
  11. Thou shalt not wear sandals/flip-flops except during warm weather. This is an easy one…just don’t do it! Sure, they’ll make your feet feel like they’re on a tropical vacation—but trust us: everyone else will be wondering why you’re not wearing socks instead. It’s a look that only works in the summertime, so don’t ruin it by trying to reuse them during any other season!
  12. Thou shalt always match suits/sports coats with dress pants. Make sure whatever hues of gray they are, or whatever pattern they may have, that you keep your suit looking classy all the time. Do this by pairing your sports coat/suit jacket with some nice dress pants—but avoid matching black and brown (see above) at all costs if you’re going for casual business attire here.
  13. Thou shalt never forget to shave thy neck area! Do you think whoever came up with saying ‘Never judge a book by its cover was referring to the back of your neck? Well, think again—because unless you shave it regularly, then you’re just asking for people to judge you by it. It’s time to take action before all your mates start calling you Neck Beard, or worse yet: Neck Brace!
  14. Thou shalt always match colors with thy belt. You might think that wearing a black leather belt with brown shoes looks good, but trust us on this one…it doesn’t. The only time this rule should be broken is if there are two different hues within the same color family, so look out for those kinds of opportunities instead (i.e., black and navy blue). When in doubt, go with whatever matches best with your suit first!
  15. Thou shalt not match too many patterns at once. Ah…the final rule. Well, the one we’ve been waiting for anyway! It’s true that you can wear as many patterns as you like (just don’t go overboard), but if you want to look stylish and sophisticated then it’s definitely best to avoid wearing more than two at a time. If this is something that just won’t work for you, and you feel like your personality might suffer as a result, then maybe it’s time for a change: after all, jeans and Mens Shirts aren’t so bad either, right?!

And there you have it: our fifteen rules for looking good—no matter what anyone else thinks them. As long as you follow them, we’re sure you’ll have a much easier time dressing well in the future!

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