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What Not To Wear: The Manfriend Makeover Edition

What Not To Wear: The Manfriend Makeover Edition

Dear Boys,

A few months ago, I had the pleasure of informing you that my boyfriend’s opinion on my clothing choices really doesn’t matter to me. I cackled with glee as I spurned out jibe after jibe, passive-aggressively wreaking my hashtag-petty-revenge on the man who told me that my penchant for high-waisted shorts was a fast-track ticket to a phenomenon known as “horse-ass” (psssh). However, today, I am presenting myself to you with sincerest apologies. I am terribly sorry for my facetious vitriol.

You see, today, I want to address the art of style, XY-edition. A “Dummy’s Guide” to dressing up good, if you will. At best, I am hoping that this article will give way to new legions of well-dressed menfolk. At worst, I’m hoping at least a couple of the scruffier male readers and LD men-friends will be spurred into shunning their cargo shorts. And/or burning those god-awful Adidas sandals.

First things first. If you’re guilty of wearing any of the following items when you’re not in the comfort of your own home, it might be time to re-evaluate your sartorial decisions:

Cargo shorts. Because, believe it or not, you don’t need all those pockets. You should have stopped hoarding candy years ago.

An ill-fitting suit. This is just tragic.

Jeans with flip-flops. Barf.

Obnoxious logos/slogan tees. Away with your Ed Hardy, your “hilarious” slogans, your crazy patterns, your label-flashing. Or get thee to Jersey Shore.

Hunting gear. No, you don’t need to wear camo in the middle of Staples while you’re buying new printer ink. Surely your souped-up truck is big enough to fit a change of clothes for after that long day of hunting?

Adidas sandals with socks and gym shorts. High school is over, you don’t need to prove you’re on a sports team, and unless you’re at the gym, we expect you to buy real shoes.

Marijuana print. Oh dude, so edgy.

Soul patches. Okay, it’s facial hair, but it’s unnecessary and disgusting. It’s like if Hitler needed a place to catch his food. It’s like you’re advertising that you sing un-ironically to Backstreet Boys songs. Shave it.

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Yup, those were the unanimous pet peeves amongst my (gorgeous/talented/wonderful) lady friends. So, there you have it, lads … #sorrynotsorry for any offence we may have caused. I’m speaking up for womankind here.

Now let’s get to it. Here are our golden rules and an overall action plan to upping your style game for good.

Get a haircut. This is of utmost importance. Women notice hair. We just do. Get a haircut that suits you, that compliments the way you dress, and says something about how you’d like to be perceived. We’re not asking for an army of military-regulation fades (although there is definitely something to be said for a sexy soldier). We’re asking you to pick a haircut based on your personal style, your facial structure and your hair type, and own it. If that sounds intimidating, talk to a sister/girlfriend/hairdresser/etc. We’ll honestly be delighted to help.

Invest in a really good suit. The way you rock a suit is an all-or-nothing situation for any man over the age of 20. There are few things more tragic than a man in a suit with sagging shoulders/too-long trousers. Please refer to this top-notch GQ guide for the ultimate suit-buying masterclass, and do not deviate from it.

Tuck your shirt in. I mean… OK, if you’re wearing a tee with jeans, maybe not. But if it’s a shirt, tuck it in. Just tuck it in. You’re an adult.

Your pants matter. Yes, we’re checking out your butt. Straight-leg jeans and khaki pants (chinos, for my British friends) are both winners, as are skinny jeans, if that’s what you’re into. Classic blue denim is good, dark wash is cool, black/white/burgundy/khaki can be excellent. It’s pretty simple. Just make sure your pants are classic, well-fitted, and make your butt look good. And steer well clear of light blue denim, unless you’re trying to channel your inner N*SYNC.

Your shoes also matter. I cannot stress this enough: We’re judging you, and your shoes make or break an outfit. If you’re even contemplating wearing mandals, crocs, Muggs, athletic shoes or Adidas sandals with your everyday attire… just be aware that you’re resigning yourself to life as a laughingstock among women. Don’t feel forced into wearing something you detest, just pick a stylish, classic option that works with your tastes. Sexy boots are always a winner.

Think quality, not quantity. When it comes to buying clothes, I’m a real stickler for quality: good fabrics, good cut, a great fit. This is an absolutely crucial rule of thumb, especially for the modern gentleman (which is, I hope, what you’re aiming for here—however you might construe this phrase). Don’t go for the ultra-cheap Korean imports from Amazon, save up a little instead. If you’re on a budget, root through sales and clearance section of higher-end stores. Just make sure the clothes on your back are clothes you’re proud of.

Mind your sizing. Banish all thoughts from your mind that an XXL shirt on your M frame is going to make you look good. It won’t. Nor will that sweater you bought back in eighth grade that clings to you like a wetsuit. You like it when girls wear clothes that flatter their figure and fit them nicely, don’t you? Well, that’s what we like on guys, too. It doesn’t matter if you’re not going to be a body double for Bradley Cooper any time soon; just wear clothes that fit you well, because no-one will take you seriously if you don’t.

Accessorize! Okay, so you’ve mastered the art of a classic, fitted, sexy wardrobe. Now give it your own twist. You may have noticed how your girlfriends wear big earrings, or colorful purses, or necklaces (and a myriad of other confusing items) to make their outfits look different. This is how you finish an outfit. Classic Ray-Bans, a great leather belt, a scarf, a beanie hat—whatever floats your boat. However, tread carefully:

By all means, rep your sportsball teams, but after the age of 25, snapbacks are kind of sad.

Don’t force it. If you’re not actually a beach bum in California, hold off on the superfluous leather thong bracelets/necklaces. Likewise, if you’re not actually a rapper, tone down the bling (or just eliminate it entirely).

Man purses… um. It’s probably best not to mess with man purses. Just wear a jacket with pockets.

Own it. While fit, quality, and appropriate-ness of your clothing is the main principle here, ultimately your clothes are an expression of who you are. So, yes, if you want to be taken seriously (and who doesn’t), then get that haircut, and tuck that shirt in. But wear clothes that express a little bit of yourself: Don’t try and wear a band shirt if you’re not actually into music, and don’t feel like you have to wear a collared shirt if that’s not what you’re into. You’re allowed to like and dislike certain styles! Maybe you prefer bomber jackets over peacoats, or you’d rather wear a flannel and boots than a shirt and sleek shoes. That’s totally okay. Own your wardrobe: wear it well, don’t let it wear you, and have some fun with it.

… Phew. It sounds like a lot, but it’s actually gloriously simple! For clarity, we compiled a slideshow of men whose style game is strong. Have a gander, my friends:

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Send us your thoughts (and pics) of the best and worst menswear! Tweet us @litdarling!


Fashion & Beauty Editor at Literally, Darling
Born in Oxford, England, and raised in an area that quite perfectly resembles The Shire, Amy currently writes from Phoenix, AZ, after a series of strange life events that led her to believe that desert living is preferable to being eternally soggy. An English literature graduate and former sex education teacher/retail slave, Amy's main ambitions in life are to publish a book and work at an orangutan sanctuary; the rest is negotiable. Her greatest pleasures include walking, Shakespeare, and a strong gin and tonic. Follow her on Instagram at @amysarabyrne
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