As a follow-up to my beginner's guide, in this edition I'll share some pointers for fine-tuning your attire, and in particular, how to make your existing clothes look better. In dressing, as with most things, the details often make the difference between glorious, soaring success and dismal, soul-crushing failure.
1. Suppress Your Waist
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: the ideal male body is supposed to have a triangular torso, wider in the shoulders and chest than in the waist. To achieve this ideal shape (or the illusion thereof), a suit jacket should taper inward at the waist, rather than falling straight down from the underarm to the hip. This tapering is known as "waist suppression." Ever wonder why your suits never look as good as movie stars' do? Waist suppression may be the answer (that, and the fact that their suits probably cost 5-10 times as much as ours). Now, many suit jackets, especially the less expensive, don't come this way off the rack, but even if they do, you should engage the services of a tailor to alter the jacket in order to achieve the most flattering shape for your body. Note that, if the fabric of the jacket wrinkles in a pronounced "X" shape when the button is done up, you've got too much waist suppression, and the jacket is too tight. A good rule of thumb is that, when the jacket is buttoned, you should be able to fit your clenched fist inside of it, between your stomach and the fabric—no more, no less.
2. Hem Your Damn Pants
|Shoes, Bruno Magli. Pants, After Six.|
* Theoretical background: Think of the crease in the front of your dress pant as a straight line, falling from your thigh all the way to your foot. If you had no excess fabric, the pant leg would fall uninterruptedly down, barely touching your shoe, and would flap around your ankle as you walk. A little bit of extra fabric creates a "break" in the line of the crease, and allows the hem of your pant to stay more in contact with your shoe as you walk, minimizing the undesirable "flapping" effect. Too much extra fabric just looks sloppy.
4. Try a Pocket Square
5. For Further Festive Frivolity, Fun Footwear Makes Fine Fare
|Socks, Polo Ralph Lauren.|