Everyone’s seen that commercial where the car releases a gentle “honk” every time its owner starts to take something too far. Y’know, the one where he lands a first kiss but goes back in for tongue, goes all in at a poker table when he shouldn’t, and almost spritzes his junk with cologne. It’s a great spot. Makes you wish there was a similar device to let us know when we were over-inflating our personal style tires. There are tons of scenarios in men’s style where it’s just too easy to go overboard. These are a few of them.
1. Pattern & Piece Mixing
Here’s a dirty secret: The more “difficult” a well-put together outfit becomes, the less universal appeal it has. Meaning, your loud corduroys, tweed blazer, patterned shirt, knit tie, pocket square, leather bracelet, fine watch, and expensive welted boots might all look amazing to those who spend hours on men’s fashion forums, but to the rest of the world it looks like you’re trying too hard. And it also looks like you’d be a great target for getting mugged.
2. Matching Loud Leathers
Yes you’re supposed to match your leathers (shoes, belt, watchstrap). But they don’t have to be dead on perfect every single time. Especially if it’s a real noticeable shade, like a chili red or light walnut. If your belt, watch strap, and walnut Strands all look like they were cut from the exact same piece of leather, then you risk evoking that matching tie & pocket square look. If they’re reasonably close, you’re good.
3. Hair Product
Just before you think you’ve got enough in there, consider stopping.
4. Watch Face Diameter
This is a tough one. A medium sized guy can wear a watch that’s 43mm or more, but just make sure it doesn’t shout. You don’t want to project a “I drive a big truck to overcompensate”-esque impression from your wrist. Unless you’re Ce-Lo and then… well that’s just so damn over the top it’s something completely different.
It fits great in the shoulders, the chest, you love the color, the fabric, and the price. But you turn around in the mirror and you can see a shadow of a rumple on the back if you stand a certain way. So you take a picture, and you study it and you think you should maybe return it and JUST WEAR THE DAMN BLAZER ALREADY IT LOOKS GREAT.
6. Waist Suppression
A waist is a terrible thing to waste. But you have to be able to move in the thing. That said, some guys have broad enough shoulders and little beef in the middle, so they walk a fine line between looking cut and looking too sculpted. Meanwhile, if you think you’ve gone too far, well just remember #5. Most aren’t going to notice.
7. Pant Break
You don’t want your ankles to be drowning in fabric, but you don’t want high waters either. Keep some kink in there.
8. Living like a “real man”.
Live like yourself. That’s the most “manly” thing you can do. Of course there’s tremendous resources for learning new things and bettering yourself (AoM = one of the best websites out there regardless of genre). But to puff your chest out and proclaim you’re going to chase some hyper-idealized version of masculinity, instead of just trying to be a really good version of you, then that can be counterproductive. And maybe even a little sad.
Agreements, disagreements, etc… are more than welcome in the comments. Remember, there are always exceptions. The point here is that these are all great as long as they aren’t taken too far, which most of us have done with at least one of the examples.