“Man” is a pretty subjective word when you ask, “how do I dress like a man?” You might have heard the phrase, “clothes make the man” or “dress for the job you want and not the job you have.” Point is, how we present ourselves through our clothing is a big deal and people are quick to make assumptions based on appearance. Dressing like a man could entail keeping up with the latest fashion trends, but in this article, being comfortable in your own skin is just as important if you want to dress like a man. You should look to build your wardrobe by keeping up with current trends but do not forget to mix in your own style and personality. Here is a few tips that will help you own your look:
- Optimize your wardrobe
- Learn how to combine your outfits
- Find brands that are stylish and suitable for you
Optimize Your Wardrobe
If you love funky outfits and buying bold colors, we are not saying not to buy them, but simply ask, “can I wear this on a daily basis?” Whether you are dressing for a nice night out, or for work, buying a neon green hoodie from Forever 21 just isn’t optimal. There are other ways to let your personality peek when dressing up. As mentioned earlier, dressing like a man is subjective and can lead you to different routes. Do you want to dress up like a sophisticated man, a businessman, or an everyday man? Here are a few things to keep in mind when optimizing your wardrobe and going for a specific look.
There are several colors better than others that are safe to wear when mixing and matching outfits. For pants, these colors are khaki, black, navy blue, and gray. As for your upper body clothing, that can vary, and that is your chance to put in some more personality. Of course, if you are dressing for work where the clothing attire is business formal, you may not experiment as much. Reading your environment is essential, but recommended colors for less extreme cases are: white, black, gray, varying shades of blue, and khaki. These are the minimum safe color, but there are different cases where you can stray from the safe zone and try something new. Take these khaki pants for example, and look at the recommended outfits that go with them. As you scroll down, you will find the “wear it with” category. Some ways they chose to mix and match it included a striped shirt and on the rightmost side, they have a red, plaid patterned shirt. As you can see, you can use different colors, but it is also a matter of the style of clothing you choose, which we will talk about next. If you struggle with matching colors, you can always look at outfit ideas to help you create your own look.
Now that the basics of color are out of the way, style can become a little trickier. When we say style, we mean it in the sense of the texture and pattern of your outfit. Let us start by explaining the style of pants.
There are several terms for different kinds of pants to wear but let us focus on the main three: chinos, khakis, and slacks or more commonly referred to as dress pants. They are each a little different, but the easiest rundown is this:
Khakis - They refer to a color, and their own type of pants. You can have khaki chino pants that are a tan or beige color, but on their own, they are made from a heavier cotton material than chinos.
Chinos - Chinos can come in different colors and are made from a lighter cotton material as opposed to traditional khaki pants. They can have a tapered fit or a straighter leg fit.
Dress Pants/ Slacks - These types of pants are not as trim fitting and can be made from different materials like linens, cottons, and wool.
The order of the pants is arranged from least formal to most formal.
Upper Body Attire
Upper body ware is a bit more complicated because this is where you typically start layering your clothing. Let’s break it down into three main pieces: shirts, dress shirts, and sweaters.
Shirts are considered the basics. Keeping the colors mentioned earlier in mind, you want to buy fitted shirts that are either crew neck shirts, v neck shirts, or long sleeves for the colder days.
Next are dress shirts, which can be worn alone or above your shirts. Dress shirts are necessary for a work environment whether it is casual or business format. They can come in different styles and textures and are typically an article of clothing you can experiment with. You should aim for a light, high-quality fabric dress shirt. Another route is oxford shirts, which are sturdier in nature, but these are best worn in business casual settings.
Last is your sweaters. Hoodies should be avoided, and instead opt-in for different types of outerwear like: shawl collar cardigans, blazers, and coats. This is best for colder weather and is a great opportunity to let your personality shine through layering.
Sizing/ Fitted Clothing
We touched upon types of pants and upper body clothing, but correct sizing can make all the difference.
Pants can be a confusing purchase when you walk into a Levi’s store. They have different “fit styles” like straight, taper, slim, standard, etc. On top of that, they also have varying “fit numbers” like 501, 550, 569, etc. To save you some trouble these are the number and corresponding fits associated with them that we recommend:
Skinny: 510 skinny
Slim: 511 slim, 513 slim straight, 531 athletic slim
Taper: 512 slim taper, 541 athletic taper, chino slim taper, chino standard taper
Of course, this depends on preference as many of you may not love tapper fit or don’t fit into skinny pants. Hopefully, this breakdown will make it easier the next time you enter this store and want to try out some clothes. Essentially, look for something that fits well on the waist and isn’t too loose at the bottom. Though Levis is known for selling jeans, it’s a great store for finding fitted pants like chinos and khakis. Take these chino slim, taper fit pants for example.
There are also a number of stores with less complicated fit guides that will just say “chino pants” or “slim fit pants.”. As long as you filter your search to the three pants mentioned above (chinos, khakis, dress pants), you should be fine. Ideally, you want a pant that does not fit too loose or too tight. Pants that are too loose can look a bit sloppy, while pants that are too loose can be inappropriate for some situations.
Upper Body Attire
Upper body attire is not as difficult to find if your body type fits what is considered “average” in the fashion industry. They are usually just labeled small, medium, large, etc. However, not all stores follow the same measurement when labeling their sizes. Above that, there are certain types of clothes that are better suited for different body types.
Shirts - For example, slimmer men want to buy crew neck shirts because they accentuate your neck, giving you a fuller look. Bigger men, on the other hand, should go for v necks as it makes your neck look slimmer. Like with the fit of pants, the occasion can also affect the fit of your clothing. Typically looser clothing is more appropriate for less formal events.
Dress Shirts - Dress shirts are a bit tricky and it is usually recommended that you take your measurements before buying one. There are several factors to take into consideration such as the collar, whether the material is breathable, and if it fits right. At Nimble Made, we have a section on our website that lets you find a size that most people your weight and height found to work for them. For other stores, you may have to try your luck at the store itself. There are several tips you should follow to make sure you find the right fit. The first is the seam on the shoulder. If it is too close to the neck, the dress shirt may be too small. On the other hand, if the seam is past your shoulder towards your arm, then the shirt is too big. You need the seam to be resting on your shoulder so the sleeves won’t be too baggy nor too short. A second tip is to make sure it is fitted around your waist. You don’t want it to be too small that it may reveal a muffin top if you have one, nor too big that it looks sloppy. A neat and fitted look exudes confidence and a masculine vibe.
Sweaters - As for sweaters, you don’t have to worry about finding the right size. Since they are the outermost layer, they usually tend to be bigger. As long as you find one that goes slightly below your belt line and it matches with your outfit, the fit won’t be difficult to find. Make sure the sweater is not too small, as it can prove to be uncomfortable throughout the day.
How to Combine Wardrobe
Now that we got the basics down, the hardest part is combining all the articles of clothing and creating one completed look. The great news is that if you take our color recommendation and styles of clothing into account, you can practically throw on some clothing that will naturally mix. We are going to be using Banana Republic’s website for our quick tutorial. Here are two types of outfits. The first is a more casual-looking crew neck sweater. If you scroll down, you will find different ways to mix and match it. I particularly like the second outfit because it shows a dress shirt being the first layer, with the sweater being tastefully placed as the outer layer. Add some nice beige pants and you go from a casual sweater to a business casual outfit. The next outfit is for our more business formal audience. These slim tapered wool-blend pants are perfect for a formal outfit. In the “wear it with” section, the first and third outfits are prime examples of how to accessorize around the pants to create an outfit fitting for your business meetings. As you probably noticed, all the colors and styles are flexible and with the “wear it with” tool, you can see just how different pieces of clothing add a new dimension to the outfit.
Brands & Stores You Can Count On
We don’t want to leave you hanging with all these tips and no store recommendations. Here are some of our favorite stores that meet both the mission to empower you to make you feel like a man, while simultaneously making you feel comfortable in your own skin.
Nimble Made - Upper Body Clothing
Lastly, we have us, Nimble Made, which is a clothing company dedicated to providing clothing for slimmer men. We stress providing high-quality clothing while being accessible to smaller men who don’t exactly fit the “average” standard of clothing. We provide all of your upper body attire needs from regular t-shirts to professional dress shirts. One of our more popular selections is the striped blue dress shirt that is perfect for both formal and business casual settings. Our website offers a fit guide that gives useful tips on how to find the perfect fit dress shirt, and a care guide so you can have long-lasting clothing. If you want to find that perfect fit that compliments your body and gives you confidence, you should definitely check us out. A great advantage of this store is that you are able to get great fitting dress shirts from the comfort of your own home, through the easy-to-navigate website.
- High-quality clothing for casual, business casual, and formal events
- Fitted clothing for slimmer men
- Friendly website great, for finding the perfect size
- Trendy accessories
- Does not sell lower body ware
Levis - Lower Body Clothing
Levi’s is recommended for their number of fit choices that take into account the many male body types. All men are built differently, and you are sure to find something that feels great, and makes you feel like a man. A fitted look is more recommended and any style of khakis, chinos, or dress pants work well for the office, though dress pants are not typically sold here. Take a look at these Chino Standard Taper Fit Pants that are made for tall and bigger men, showcasing how they account for the men who find themselves to be the outliers of “average.” The Levi’s store not only takes into account your waist and height but how loose or fitted the crotch and leg area are. Overall, it is a great store to find both casual and formal pants.
- High-quality pants
- Several styles to choose from
- Wonderful fit guide to find the perfect fit
- Not much selection in upper body clothing
- Lack of dress pants
- Size charts can be confusing for the average consumer
Banana Republic - A Great Inbetween
Banana Republic is great for someone who likes variety. Like Levi’s, there is a wide selection that caters to varying men’s body types. It’s a good spot for both upper and lower body clothing. They offer some great dress pants for those looking for clothing in a more professional setting. They offer clothing that meets all types of needs whether it be a wardrobe for a date night or a suit for professional meetings. On top of that, they have a section for the articles of clothing that give you suggestions of what to mix and match it with. This is perfect for someone learning how to combine their wardrobe and give it a different vibe each time. One downside is that they can run a bit pricey for the quality. You can find some great sales that make the clothing more worthwhile. Another downside is that their clothing may not be representative of all sizes. It is the type of place where you want to try on the clothing in the store, or order in advance to make sure it fits before the occasion.
- Wide selection of styles to choose from
- Sells both upper body and lower body clothing
- Great place to build your wardrobe
- Friendly website that provides fashion inspiration
- On the pricier side
- Not friendly to all body types
Hopefully, you get the message that dressing like a man means to dress in clothing that leaves you feeling confident. There is not a certain look you need to match in order to look like a man, but there are pieces and outfits that can help you look and feel great. The key to this is the right fit and appropriate pieces for the occasion. Regardless of your body shape, you can find high-quality clothing that meets your needs, keeps up with the current fashion trends, while letting your own style shine. With all the different options out there, do not be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and try new clothing pieces.