For the Gents: Men's Fashion

BY JUSTIN EDGE
For the Daily
Published December 9, 2004

Straight guys, you think you know, but you have no idea. There’s a lot more to dressing fashionably than the button-down, collared shirt and tattered jeans you wear to the bar Thursday through Saturday nights. Not to mention the dirty sneakers that also double as gym apparel.

Beth Dykstra
LSA sophomore Brandon Emperor demonstrates his good fashion sense. (alexander dziadosz/Daily)

To keep you from the ridicule of wearing something out-of-style or less than flattering, I will offer you some tips on the do’s and don’ts of trendy male fashion. Understanding the constraints on a college man’s budget, between buying beer and … beer, here are best stores to go to that won’t completely strip you of your daily alcohol fund. Keep in mind that the key is to identify which styles look best on you and then find variety within those guidelines.

When developing your personal style, it is essential to have a realistic grasp of your body type. Guys with a little extra weight can’t and shouldn’t wear tight-fitting styles that thin men can wear, while tall men can wear looser clothing that short men can’t. And very few men can pull off sheer shirts, leather pants and fur. I’m sure you already have an idea of whether that’s you or not. A fashionable appearance will work in your favor regardless of your profession or economic status. People will always respond to a man who is self-aware and well-dressed.

After understanding how your body type will play into your style, it’s now time to get rid of a couple of those cherished clothing items that are no longer fashion-forward. Varsity jackets, colorful vests, Christmas sweaters (sorry gramps), acid-washed anything, ties with short sleeves (well, unless you’re Mormon), mesh anything, cropped and hot pants, gym shoes with socks, boots with shorts and, most importantly, pleated pants. Keep it to yourself or pack up a bag and leave it on the steps of the Salvation Army. These are some unforgivable crimes of fashion.

Now that you’ve cleared your wardrobe of some heinous, outdated fashions, it’s time to rebuild from scratch. When shopping, these are the most important items that you must remember to buy: two pairs of dark, straight-leg, nonpleated pants, one to wear on casual early-evening dates or dinners and the other for a night at the club. Two different pairs of flattering jeans. Three well-cut, solid-color, button-down shirts. Make sure that one of them is black, as the color black conveys power and confidence and it’s appropriate for any situation. Also, one leather or suede short coat to replace the North Face or Columbia jacket that seems to be a staple in your wardrobe, no matter the occasion. Remember to buy new black and white T-shirts. Trust me fellas, a lady can tell when you’ve been wearing the same white T-shirt for the past couple of days. The wardrobe is complete with a quality pair of designer black or brown dress shoes. The shoes you choose to wear with your new style can completely destroy or compliment your outfit for the night. It’s good to take a female friend with you when shopping. You wouldn’t just buy a new shirt without someone’s approval first, right?

Contrary to popular belief, Ann Arbor is not the fashion capitol of the United States. For this reason, it’s not always the easiest to find the stores that carry those must-have items. But even in this one-horse town, there are some options to solve all your fashion dilemmas.

Banana Republic: Affordable basics for casual dress situations. Look here for narrow-cut shirts, straight-leg pants, long-sleeved tees and sweaters.

Express and Club Monaco: Great staples with a touch more of European style than Banana Republic or J. Crew. Slim lines, solid colors and stylish prints offer variety with small touches that add a bit of extra style.

The Gap: The Gap has definitely improved its image over the years with commercials that feature young and popular celebrities wearing its clothing. The improvement didn’t just stop there, as this store has become a good place to find the most basic of all staples at a low price.

Mervyns: While an unexpected choice, you can find some really nice designer slim-fit button downs if you search. This store is always having some sale to get rid of excess merchandise. It wouldn’t hurt to take a look from time to time to see what they offer.

If you follow these style tips, you’ll definitely have an edge on your competition. Remember to stick to solid colors, darker tones and clean lines for your basic wardrobe items. Your belt and shoes should match even if your shirt is worn untucked.

You guys have some shopping to do. See you out at the clubs …