8 everyday style items that deserve more respect
Words: Dylan Muhlenberg | Photography: Glen Montgomery | Styling: Mandy Nash
Menswear accessories aren’t froufrou add-ons that you use to decorate an outfit with; the best are functional and fashionable and should serve at least two purposes, one of which is looking good.
Look at it like this: a backpack is a bag with two straps that allows you to carry heavy loads and distribute weight equally across the shoulders while freeing up your hands. But then you're missing out if you don't use yours as an opportunity to broadcast your brand affiliations, or add a pop of colour to an otherwise simple outfit.
Here's our list of the eight things you need to start paying more attention to right now, from head to toe. Because it's the little things that matter.
There’s plenty of choice out there when it comes to headwear, however, even after having decided on, say, a peak cap, there’s still so much that comes down to personal preference: plain, team logo or sports brand; flat brim or pre-curved; rigid crown or soft fit; adjustable backing strap or a sweatband inner that stretches. Oh, so you like the adjustable back? Does that mean you want a snapback, a buckle, Velcro...
Stylist tip: Your head sweats so keep a few different caps on rotation, and be sure to toss yours in the wash when it starts to smell funky.
That freebie you got when you joined the gym just isn’t going to cut it, pal. The ubiquitous backpack is here to stay and whether you opt for an on-point utility look, premium fabrics in classic styles, some neat colour-blocking, a traditional outdoors look or a drawstring duffel style, as long as your backpack is as considered as the rest of your look, you can do no wrong.
Stylist tip: Depending on what you’re looking for, there are a few things you need to ask yourself. Is this for fashion or something specifically functional? Ideally, you want a backpack that does both. First, find something that fits into your aesthetic and meets your functionality requirements. Carry a laptop? Does it fit your laptop? Travelling? Are the straps and back padded? Wear a suit to work? Is it smart enough?
In summer you can rock a plain white T-shirt as outwear but come winter, it’s a crucial line of defence against the cold if you want to stay outside. Depending on the fabric, a white dress shirt may be fairly see-through, so avoid wearing anything that peeks through and becomes too obvious. Only you should know that you’re wearing an undershirt. Otherwise, stripes, checks, prints and cuts in hardier fabrics like Oxford cloth, will all make an undershirt invisible.
Stylist tip: If you’re a hairy, sweaty guy you need to have a couple of crewnecks in your closet to wear under your shirts. Avoid V-necks and vests as the lines will be much more visible.
It’s a sad state of affairs when men feel no shame in owning over a hundred pairs of sneakers yet their sock game is a mix of white athletic socks from the bargain bin and well-meaning gifts from relatives. Treat yourself and take advantage of the styles available, and if you’re on a budget then snap up the bundle offers.
Stylist tip: The general rule of thumb is to consider the trousers instead of the shoes. In other words, if you’re wearing navy chinos with black shoes, reach for navy socks and not black. Generally, your socks should be a shade darker than your pants but not quite as dark as your shoes.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a boxers or briefs type of guy, just stop skimping on underwear and spend an amount that your most precious assets deserve. Quality is the difference between a first-date hookup and having to make an excuse about not wanting to rush into anything. Trust us, invest in quality underwear and you’ll battle to go back to the standard stuff. And remember to stock up, you can never have too many fresh pairs.
Stylist tip: If your workplace doesn't allow you to express yourself as much as you’d like to, fret not, you can wear something designer underneath. The confidence you get from this will make you walk that much taller.
If your pants have belt loops on the waistband then goodness gracious man, wear a belt. Whether you opt for a canvas utility style or something in classic leather, you should always spend as much as you can afford. If you buy right, your belt can last you a lifetime.
Stylist tip: For formalwear you should choose a belt that’s the same colour as your shoes, and if you’re especially stylish, the same as your watch strap. And then remember to always hold the buckle in your left hand when getting dressed.
Your wallet shouldn’t be as fat as a burger, put it on a diet by trashing all the receipts, numbers, loyalty cards and other unnecessary paper that’s stuffed in there. If you invest in an elegant, slim leather wallet it will get better with age and you'll look like money whenever you're paying for something, even if you have no cash. How's that for an investment?
Stylist tip: Keep your change in the change pocket of your jeans or the ashtray of your car. Your wallet is reserved strictly for cash, your driver's license and a card.
A gold watch should stay with you for life and then be handed over to your son. But there’s plenty of time for that so slow your roll. You don’t even have a girlfriend yet, guy. For now, you should save on a value watch that looks just as good as the real deal, yet costs as much as a premium pair of underwear.
Stylist tip: A classic watch is a form of personal adornment that will look as good dressed down with jeans as it will when you’re suited and booted for that next wedding or court appearance.