Classics: 5 small details that make a BIG style difference

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Originally Published 8/29/2011

Like Chinese water torture or Rudy, small things can make a big difference.  Often times it’s only a slight change in a detail, an addition or subtraction, that makes a guy look and feel better than he otherwise would.  Look for this series to appear with absolutely no regularity. 

1. Wearing a Pocket Square

Wearing a pocket square, especially casually, can be like learning how to drive a stick shift.  It can be weird as hell at first and downright awkward.  But after you get the hang of it, you’re glad you did and it sets you apart.  Pocket squares came roaring back with Mad Men and have since tapered off.  Consider sticking with them.

2. How you lace your shoes

95% of men are walking around with their shoes laced up in the same criss crossed way that we all learned in Kindergarten.  And there’s no harm in that whatsoever.  If you want your shoes, especially your dress shoes, to have a much cleaner look, take a look at Ian’s Shoelace Site and specifically his tutorial on bar lacing.

3. Ignoring your mobile phone in public

Every spare second shouldn’t be used to play Angry Birds or to check in with twitter.  If you’re standing in line for a cup of coffee, resist the urge to reach for your smartphone.  Who knows, maybe you’ll catch the eye of the Barista, you two will fall in love and get married, and one day when you’re out enjoying a small meal and drinks at a favorite bar, you can ignore your phone again when she excuses herself to go to the bathroom.  Because if you don’t and she comes back to find you still locked into Angry Birds, then you’ll have a problem.

4. Knowing how to tie more than one necktie knot

Yay for the four-in-hand.  It’s a fine knot.  But if you want a knot that’s more substantial, it’s nice to know how to tie a half or (brace yourselves) full windsor.  Or, if you want something just a bit bigger than the 4iH?  Try a Kelvin.

5. Using Collar Stays.  As often as possible.

A limp and lifeless collar isn’t quite as bad as a limp and lifeless handshake, but it sure doesn’t help make a good impression.  Avoid shirts without slots for collar stays or buttons to button down the collar.  Seriously consider investing in Wurkin’ Stiffs.

Your turn guys.  What else is a small detail that seems to make a big difference when it comes to style?