From how to iron a dress shirt to how to tie a tie, here are the style know-hows you need!
Barret Wertz 1 / 10
1. How to tie the perfect tie
Why? A lot of guys don’t have to wear a tie every day, but it is a basic staple in the modern man's wardrobe arsenal. It’s like tying a shoe—once you know, you know. It just takes a little repetition and practice. But once you get it down, you're ready for that interview, wedding, funeral, or any other event that guys that refuse to wear suits end up wearing a suit to.
Why? There are really only two measurements you need to know when you are picking out your shirt: your neck size and your sleeve length. Easy, right? Knowing the proper size of your neck and sleeves will ensure a better fit, and will minimize any tailoring you may want to do to the body of the shirt.
How: For your neck: Measure around your neck so that you graze your Adam’s apple. You should be able to comfortably fit two fingers under the measuring tape and your neck (both fingers pressing against your neck, not one beside the other adding more space outward). This gives you the room to breathe, while not being loose
For your sleeve: Place your hand on your hip, with your arm bent at 90 degrees (very important.) Have someone (preferably a professional, but a significant other should do, assuming they like you to look good) measure the distance from the center back of your neck (you can feel that bump from your spine about where your neck meets your torso) and go along the outer part of the arm, over the shoulder and elbow all the way to your wrist where your sleeve will end.
For your body: Dress shirts come in a variety of vague sizes. What the hell do they all mean? Here is what you really need to know. You take that same trusty measuring tape used to make that neck fit and that sleeve length right and you take two quick measurements. First, around the widest part of your chest. It probably lands somewhere around the nipple. Don't make it too tight. For the second, measure around the widest part of the belly (so about your belly button.) This should be a comparable measurement to your chest and now you know your torso measurements. You can bring them up when shirt shopping, or reference the size guide when looking online. It will help determine if you need a "Slim" "Regular" or "Classic" fit, or whatever the stores' variation may be. The key in this is being open to tailoring. Off the rack, by definition means, it was not made for your body alone. Yes, you can find some great fitting options, but if you can't find the one that is right in the neck, sleeves, and body, take it to a tailor.
Why? Few things look sloppier or less professional than a man in an ill-fitting suit. That’s why you never see James Bond, Ryan Gosling, or the president in a sloppy suit. These men expect to be taken seriously, dammit. So an easy way to command attention and respect is to get a suit that fits. Let’s start with the jacket.
How: The shoulder of the jacket should hit the broadest part of your shoulders and lightly graze the arm as it falls. Your movement should be slightly restricted. It's a nice suit, not fitness gear. The lapel should not bow up across your pecs. (But if you're constantly bench pressing this might happen, but your superstrong chest will make up for the less-ideal fit.) The TOP button of a two-button jacket, or the MIDDLE button of a three-button jacket should fit snug, but not pull. The bottom button always remains open. Having a button closed when standing without pulling is just about perfect. Your sleeve length, conservatively, should hit at the point where your wrist meets your hand, with your shirt cuff falling between 1/4 and 3/4 an inch below the jacket. Feeling a little more fashion-forward? Shorten your shirt and suit by 1/2-3/4 inches, keeping the ration of jacket and shirt cuff the same. Slimmer, shorter suits (jacket and pants as well) are more of the "trendy" suit compared to the "classic" length.
Why? So they match the fit of your nicely tailored jacket. And don’t rip. Or look crazy.
How: This one isn’t hard, but perhaps more complex than you may have thought. Here are a few things to think about:
1. The obvious place to start is the waist and seat. The waist (the actual waistband) should be snug but not tight, so that it can stay up on its own. The seat (the seam between your two back pockets) should fit slim to the body to avoid any sag. Do NOT put your wallet in your back pocket while wearing a suit, it will just ruin your pants much faster than if you keep it in your jacket pocket. 2. You want the leg to be slim, yet comfortable. These super slim suits may look good on a lanky guy standing up, but we're betting you sit a lot more than you stand. So leave a fair bit of room without covering up your fit physique with too much excess fabric. 3. The pant break: This is up to you, but the rule of thumb is that the slimmer the suit, the less the break. And the break is reserved solely for the front of the pant. If you are getting what is commonly referred to as a “back break," meaning the pants are starting to rumple around the back of your shoes, take the hemline up a notch—you're getting into slouch territory.
Why? Because you’re a grownup. And an analog watch won't go out of style while we are still around. So own it: It only ups your style street cred.
How: There are so many great watches, it's too hard to suggest just one. We love these for all different occocians, for starters. And if you are new to the watch game, here is a little help in starting your new watch collection.
Why? Over-spraying can be a real turnoff. Added fragrance of any kind is intended to enhance, not offend.
How: You have a couple options here:
1. Spray at the pulse points, or the points where your body release heat (not your arm pit or anywhere that also releases body odor). This is the back and the front of the wrists (and I add the center of a bare chest, for good measure.) This allows the fragrance to have a slower release. Then, spray once towards the front of your shirt after you're dressed as you head out the door. Done.
2. Get dressed then spray and walk through. A classic method. The fragrance won’t stay on clothing as much through out the day, so it’s less intense. But for a more concentrated fragrance and a more sensitive nose, this method is the way to go.
Why? So you can wash your own clothes. Are you still living at your mom's house?
How: There are just a few thing that you really need to know: >Dots - 1 means wash on Low/Cold, 2 means Medium/Warm, 3 means High/Hot >Underlined - 1 means Permanent Press, 2 means Delicate/Gentle
>A bucket with water - Wash >Triangle - Bleach >Circle in a Square - Tumble Dry (Look for Dots or Lines) >Square alone - Dry (The picture will look like what it is indicating: Line/Hang Dry, Drip Dry, Dry Flat) >Iron - Iron (That's an easy one) >Circle - Dry Clean (So "X" out means Do NOT Dry Clean)
Why? When you have a good pair of jeans, people notice. Yet, many men dread buying jeans and buy baggy pairs that do nothing for them.
How: Denim stretches out. Most people forget that when purchasing. You want to have them fit slightly tight, approaching uncomfortable, but not fully. You still need to button them, obviously. If the waist is a little big but the thighs feel slim, but not cutting off circulation, get them. Wear them a few times, then take in the waist. You would be surprised with how many people have their jeans tailored, even if just a little bit. The leg on the jean should be a little baggy. You want it to look casual. Now, don’t mistake causal for sloppy, as many do. A pair of jeans can still be comfortable and look good. It’s not impossible. You want the fabric to create about two natural "creases" at the bottom of each leg. This way that have a little extra fabric, but they aren't bunched up.
*Pro Tip*: Buy 2 or 3 pairs. Once you find a pair that works, I can pretty much guarantee you will want to wear those, and only those, every day. Stock up.
Why? A man should know how to iron his shirt. A crisp shirt not only looks the part, but it shows you care. And what happens when your dress shirt gets bunched up in your carry on for that important trip? There is always an iron and board in a hotel room. Take advantage of it.
How: Put water in the iron first. Set to COTTON (assuming your dress shirt is cotton, like most).
1. Iron the collar first. Maybe add a little starch just to keep it crisp. Start underneath, and finish on the outside. 2. Follow by ironing the cuffs, also inside first, followed by outside. 3. Then iron the sleeves. The trick here is to make sure the fabric is very smooth and laid down flat. Glide the iron out to the seam on the outside of the shirt. (This is a good time to mention that the water spray on the iron is good for pesky wrinkles.) 4. Iron the front of the shirt. It’s easier than it looks—you just have to be a little patient. Start with the button side and work the iron around them carefully. Then, move onto the other side and iron it slowly as well. 5. Iron the back of the shirt, flat on the board, allowing all the other fabric to lay down nicely.
Why? They are more important than you think because they are literally the foundation of any outfit. And they leave a lasting impression. It's a simple nonverbal statement that say "I actually give a shit." If maintained, they are a worthwhile investment. We live in a disposable world, but it doesn’t mean everything has to be. Purchasing a nice pair of shoes that are meant to form around your foot will be more comfortable in the long run, saving you money from buying cheap pair after cheap pair after cheap pair. Don't wear dress shoes often? All the more reason to have a great pair on standby to impress those who know you as the T-Shirt-and-jeans guy.
How: 1. Look for the following key terms to know that your shoes are well-made:
“Full-Grain” - Leather that has not been sanded down, or “corrected” to be smooth. It could contain imperfections and texture “Vegetable Dyed” - Natural dyes that age better than chemicals or “chrome” dying which achieves an unnatural even color and cannot be properly shined “Goodyear Welted” - Stitch the soles of the shoe to the uppers, or the leather part, allowing the shoe to breathe and be resoled easily instead of “cemented” which is using glue to hold the sole and upper together.
With regular maintenance, a pair of $300 shoes will last you a very, very long time and only look better with age.