2. A is for Accessories
DO: Ascots. Just kidding. But don’t be afraid to punch up your outfits with a little something extra, whether that’s a pair of sunglasses, a hat, a watch, a pocket square, a knit tie … look at David Gandy up there. Just remember to keep it simple.*
DON’T: Do puka shell necklaces and arm parties.
*This should really be the final tip, because accessories should be the last thing you put on … but they’re not called z’accessories.
3. B is for Belt
DO: Know where your waist is and wear your pants at it. Even if your pants don’t need help staying put, a brown leather belt adds that extra touch of, “Oh, you’re an adult,” to an outfit.
DON’T: Be Justin Bieber. There’s a reason it’s called underwear … it’s not meant to be seen outside of your pants.
4. C is for Calendar
DO: Know what time of year it is and dress for it. This is common sense.
DON’T: Wear shorts paired with knee-high athletic socks. If you’re that cold, put on some pants, bro.
5. D is for denim
DO: Find a fit that works for your body type. Just like ladies, guys’ bodies range from bean pole to apple, and there’s a style that’s most flattering for each. Dark denim looks good on everyone, and is easy to dress up.
DON’T: Call your jeans “distressed” if they’re really just an old pair you ripped when you fell up a flight of stairs.
6. E is for Elastic
DO: Own comfy clothes. No need to be all buttoned up for a Netflix night.
DON’T: Wear them out in public, unless you’re going to—or coming from—the gym.
7. F is for fit
DO: Try on clothes. You may think you know your size, but sizes vary from brand to brand. In fact, they vary within brands.
DON’T: Be afraid to buy a larger size. It’s more important to have a shirt that fits correctly, than to know a tag only you see says “medium” instead of “large”
8. G is for grooming
DO: Take care of yourself. Have two eyebrows. Moisturize. Trim where needed (you know…). If you’re going to grow a beard, keep it in line. No neckbeards.
DON’T: Call it manscaping. We’ve moved beyond that as people. Also, don’t grow facial hair if you can’t. A wispy beard has never looked good.
9. H is of Hair Products
DO: Style your hair. Pay money for a haircut – you can get a decent, salon cut for $20, and the person who cuts your hair will tell you what you need to maintain the look. Unstyled hair makes you look like a 4-year-old boy.
DON’T: Plaster your hair. Helmet head is never a good look.
10. I is for Investment
DO: Spend money on wardrobe staples. Coats, jeans, dress shirts and suits shouldn’t be impulse buys.
DON’T: Pay retail. Investment doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. When you know you need something, keep an eye out for sales.
11. J is for Jackets
DO: Start a collection. Jackets instantly enhance what you’re wearing. Need to dress up a T-shirt? Jacket. Need to cover your love handles? Jacket. Want extra pockets? Jacket.* Having a variety of jackets to choose from will help extend the versatility of your looks, and transition your wardrobe between seasons.
DON’T: Just own North Faces. Yes, we all need weather-appropriate outerwear, but you also need jackets that you don’t have to take off inside.
*It’s fun if you say this like Kristen Wiig as Suze Orman in your head.
12. K is for Khakis
DO: Own a few pairs in different shades. Khakis are the most versatile pants – they go from the office, to the bar, to church seamlessly … though hopefully not all in the same day. There’s a reason why Esquire dubbed them “the most underrated pant.”
DON’T: Buy pleated pants. They bulk up your business region.
13. L is for Layering
DO: Add depth to your outfit by layering pieces together. Sweaters, an open button-down over a T-shirt, vests – layering can help hide bothersome body flaws, if you have a little more to love here and there, a short waist, etc.
DON’T: Just toss on a scarf. That’s not layering, it’s poorly accessorizing, and you’re not Johnny Depp.
14. M is for Magazines
DO: Get a subscription to at least one men’s fashion or lifestyle magazine. There’s Details, GQ, Esquire, even Men’s Health does fashion. Getting a glossy once a month will help inspire you to try out new looks and shop your own wardrobe. You might get an idea of how to wear something you already own in a different way.
DON’T: Rely solely on the mags’ websites. The print publications are much richer and informative, and for the most part, articles will be printed before they’re posted online.
15. N is for Necessities
DO: Have a wardrobe of basics. Yes, this tip could’ve been called “basics,” but the alphabet doesn’t have two Bs, now does it? Every guy needs basic white and black T-shirts, a solid-color zip-up hoodie (preferably gray), solid-color Oxford shirts – all the things you could layer over/under statement pieces, like sweaters and jackets.
DON’T: Think basic is a bad thing. Basics are the foundation for your outfit. Yes, this tip could have also been called “foundation pieces.” Let’s move on.
16. O is for Oversized
DO: Go big. Sometimes. Oversized coats and patterns are in, but tall-t’s? No. Pick just one item to go big on, don’t do a whole oversized outfit.
DON’T: Look like you’re a little kid wearing dad’s clothes.
17. P is for Pattern
DO: Shop trendy stores for bold prints that you can cycle out of your wardrobe after a season. Think H&M, Gap, Forever 21 (yes, there are actually men’s clothes there). People remember patterns, so you don’t want to wear the same shirt for too long.
DON’T: Do paisley. That print is scary as hell.
18. Q is for Quality
DO: Pick quality over quantity. It’s better to have one amazing pair of pants than 20 craptastic ones.
DON’T: Think a high price tag equals quality. Feel the fabric, inspect the construction, pull at the seams. Make sure what you’re buying will stand up to your life.
19. R is for Razor
DO: Use razors … on your clothes. If your sweaters or knits are pilling – those annoying little fuzz balls that appear after washing – you can shave them off with the same kind of razor you’d use on your face. Just make short, gentle strokes.
DON’T: Use the razor on your face after you’ve used it on a sweater. That’s dumb.
20. S is for Scent
DO: Smell good. Everyone should seek out a signature scent – and once you find it, keep it a secret. The last think you want is for your friend to jack your cologne.
DON’T: Think Axe Body Spray is cologne. You’re not in middle school anymore.
21. T is for Tailoring
DO: Get clothes tailored. Simple alterations, like taking up hems and tapering sides shouldn’t cost you more than $20. Tailored clothes can instantly take pounds off your frame.
DON’T: Be afraid to have clothes let out. Chances are you’l gain weight at some point, and you don’t want to look like a sausage in a casing while wearing your favorite pants.
22. U is for Underwear
DO: Wear it. There’s stuff down there that needs support. Boxer briefs for everyone!
DON’T: Buy it at the dollar store.
23. V is for Vintage
DO: Visit your local thrift store – there’s treasure there! Yes, you’ll have to dig through a lot of crap, but you never know when you’re going to stumble on a vintage crewneck or a never-worn coat.
DON’T: Forget to wash the clothes you buy. No need to walk around smelling like somebody else’s B.O.
24. W is for Wrinkles
DO: Iron your clothes. And if you don’t have time to iron your clothes, toss your shirt in the dryer with an ice cube or two for a few minutes for an instant steam.
DON’T: Leave your house looking like a mess. It’s a dead giveaway you just rolled out of bed. Again, iron.
25. X is for XYZ
DO: Examine your zipper. You probably thought “XYZ” was an easy way to get out of the final three letters, but no. It’s a reminder to be aware of your appearance. Something like an unzipped fly can ruin your look … and your day.
DON’T: Pull a Ben Stiller in There’s Something About Mary. Ouch.
26. Y is for YouTube
DON’T: Forget to subscribe. That way when you log in, new videos from the content creators you like will be waiting for you to watch.
27. Z is for Zappos
DO: Stock up on shoes. Yes, using the shopping site Zappos was a way to work in footwear. You need a variety of shoes: dress, sneakers, casuals, boots – Zappos is a great place to shop around and compare styles.
DON’T: Wear your gym shoes all the time. They stink.