The Stylish Man: 4 Ways to Enhance Your Office Style and Common Mistakes to Avoid

At FirstSeven, we’re equal opportunity stylists and trainers, and it’s come to our attention that we’ve been focusing all our efforts (at least here on the blog), on women.  We definitely want to be inclusive, so this week, it’s all about the guys. Appearance in the workplace matters for everyone, regardless of gender. We’ve talked at length about the science behind dressing for success, and all of that is relevant for men too. In fact, many of the studies we reference featured male participants.

We’re going to start by addressing five common mistakes men tend to make. These mistakes are easily fixed and by simply eliminating them (starting today!), you'll make huge strides in your office wardrobe game.

  1. Wrinkles:  This is simple, don’t wear anything that’s wrinkled. If you show up to the office in a wrinkled shirt, you’re basically saying you don’t care. You’ll looked frazzled and definitely won’t project an air of confidence. We don’t like to iron, so we opt for a great steamer. It works wonderfully and there’s actually something cathartic about watching the wrinkles fall out of a garment…but I digress...

  2. Short sleeve shirts & a tie:  We know it can get hot out there, and we feel for all you guys in long sleeves on the subway platform (especially when we’re in a sleeveless dress), but trust us, don’t go there. Simply choose a long sleeve shirt and roll up the sleeves. There are tons of great tutorials on YouTube that will show you the polished way to get those sleeves off your forearms, if that’s your goal.

  3. Ties that are too short:  Speaking of ties, make sure they’re the right length.  It should hit right at, or above the belt.

  4. Exposed undershirts:  If you’re going 'tie-less' and plan on unbuttoning your shirt, don’t let your undershirt peak out. Choose a v-neck option and keep the neckline clean.

  5. Ill-fitting items:  We saved this one for last, but it's probably the MOST common mistake we see (women often make this mistake too!). We’ll go into a bit more detail below, but fit is everything, and a great tailor can be your best friend.

Eliminate these mistakes from your wardrobe and you’ll be well on your way to achieving a polished, professional look. If you want to take it a step further and up your style game, start to think about a few of these areas:

Fit Comes First:

We’ll do a post focusing on fit in the next month or so, it's that’s important. Most men who fall into the trap of wearing ill-fitting garments choose pieces that are too large. Not many men can buy off-the-rack and have it fit perfectly, but that’s where a good tailor comes in handy. Also, many retailers offer complimentary on-site alterations - definitely take them up on it.

Once you put on a suit that fits you like a glove, you’ll never want to wear anything else. In a casual office, a great fitting pair of denim will be an instant upgrade. Try a slim fitted button down and you’ll wonder why you ever chose those baggy ones. A sport coat that lies flat at the shoulders, buttons perfectly and shows just the right amount of cuff will make a world of difference. You’ll stand up a little straighter, speak with more confidence and your colleagues and clients will be sure to take notice too.

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Think in Color

With mens workwear, many guys tend to err on the side of safe. We get it, it’s easier to be safe. But let's face it, it’s also boring. Safe has turned into its own uniform; white or blue dress shirt (or polo or tee in a casual office) and black, navy or tan dress pants (or khakis or jeans in a casual office). If this ‘uniform’ sounds familiar to you, we urge you to incorporate some color and maybe step outside your comfort zone just a bit. Pink (soft, not sweet) is a great color on men, specifically in professional wear. Trade in your blue dress shirt for a pink one and see how you feel. Yellows, reds, purples and greens are also great additions. 

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Play With Prints:

Once you’ve mastered fit and color, it’s time to move on to prints. It can seem daunting to some, to mix prints, but it’s actually pretty easy. Once you’ve got it down, it opens up a whole new world of styling options.   

There are 2 main things to think about when you start mixing prints; scale & color. With scale, opposites attract. If one print is a large scale, choose a smaller sale for your second print. When thinking about color, there should be some commonality across the prints, something that ties them together.

The Devil is in the Details

The details of an outfit are what will really set it apart and establish you as the style guy in your office. We talked about ties a bit, they’re a great place to start if you wear ties to the office. We also love a pocket square. A pocket square for a guy is equivalent to statement jewelry for a woman. It has the power to elevate an otherwise basic look. It can also be the cherry on top of a really stylish ensemble. Socks are another thing to think about. If you play it safe, you probably match your socks to your pants and your shoes. There’s nothing wrong with that, per say, but a colorful, even whimsical sock (we know a guy who rocks pink flamingos) can go along way in showcasing your personality and injecting some life into your work look.  

Experiment, have fun and follow us for more specific styling tips for men in the months to come!